Blake Harrison InterviewCategory: News Release
Once upon a time, Danny was ‘Dangerous Dan’, an I’ll-try-anything-once hedonist, but he’s recently decided it's time to grow up. He’s been promoted in his pet insurance job, he’s ‘getting his big boy on’ – and he’s getting married to the girl of his dreams, Kate. He’s also decided not to ask Milo to be best man at his wedding in favour of the extraordinary bore Paul. His adventure with Milo through parallel worlds forces him to evaluate their friendship and think carefully about whether he is really ready to settle down and marry.
Explain a little bit about the series.
Tripped is a sci-fi-action-comedy-bromance about two friends that have grown apart over the last couple of years, and after a few crazy events, they find themselves accidentally transported into a parallel universe, and the only way that they’re going to survive is by sticking together and finding their way home.
Talk a little bit about your character.
I play Danny, who has kind of outgrown his old best friend, Milo. Danny has very much got his life together – once upon a time he and Milo were lazy, stonery-type guys, and now Danny’s found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. He’s got himself a career in pet insurance, which he’s not that fussed about, but he’s driven by trying to be where he should be for his age. He’s doing things by the numbers, looking to get married, get a mortgage. He’s happy with his very standard life. Milo is very much still a 15-year-old boy, getting stoned, not got a job, not really doing anything with his life, almost living as a recluse. There’s a lot of friction between them when it’s announced that Danny’s best man isn’t going to be Milo.
Oh, and there’s a crazy guy with a sword trying to hunt them down through all the dimensions.
What was it that attracted you to the role?
For me, it was the piece as a whole. I’m a big sci-fi fan. And having done a lot of comedy, this wasn’t just straight comedy, there are elements of drama in it as well. And there’s a lot of action. I’m a big fan of action films, and superhero movies and that kind of stuff. I suppose having worked in comedy for so long, this was such a fresh thing for me to do. I had to do a lot of swordfights and stunts myself, which I’d always wanted to do.
Was that as exciting and rewarding as you’d hoped?
Yes. It was tough at times. I got a few minor injuries – nothing major, but a few mistimed things here or there can lead to a near miss or a slight cut or a bruise. But I loved the physical side of it. I think everyone enjoyed that – it’s rare that you get to do that kind of stuff. We were able to do a lot of it ourselves. The stuntmen were there on occasion to do things properly, but we were given a lot of opportunity to do it ourselves.
Was it quite complicated to film, with you having to remember which version of yourself you were playing, and in which universe?
No, it wasn’t. That was partly a testament to how good the writing was. Also the make-up and costumes were fantastic as well. That made it so easy to get into character. I suppose the difficult thing was learning double the amount of lines, and also playing lines to someone when that’s not necessarily the performance you’re going to get back. When you flip the roles around, you might do it in a different way. So that was a challenge.
The fact that you can play multiple characters in a linear story was a big thing. It wasn’t like a sketch show where you play loads of characters for a few laughs here and there. This is a linear story, all the characters have got their arcs, and you can play multiple characters. That often includes having scenes with yourself, which was bizarre.
What was it like working alongside Georgina Campbell and George Webster?
It was brilliant. They were really good fun. These two have been friends for a long time, and so us going off on a different tangent and making each other laugh hopefully helped emphasise that friendship. Working with Georgina was brilliant as well. She’s a fantastic actress, and obviously her BAFTA moment happened during our shoot. She was nominated, and then won, all during filming. It was really exciting for us. We were literally with her when she found out she’d been nominated, she came out of her trailer and told us, and we were beside ourselves for her. And then obviously we were all watching on that Sunday night when she won.
She looked genuinely astonished.
She really was genuinely astonished. I think (a) because it had come from nowhere for her, and (b) because we were taking the piss out of her about it for weeks leading up to it, just talking about how brilliant Sarah Lancashire and Sheridan Smith are, stuff like that. We were just mucking about, taking the mickey out of her quite a lot. Her nickname was BAFTA ever since the nomination. But she thoroughly deserved it, she was fantastic in Murdered by My Boyfriend, and she’s fantastic in this as well. We were really, really chuffed that she won.
You recently filmed Keeping Rosy, how did that come about?
Yeah. Luckily the director had a great imagination, and decided it would be an interesting choice to have someone like me playing that role. When you read it on paper you could easily see a young Ray Winstone or a Neil Maskell type playing that role, so props to the director for having the imagination to give me a shot at auditioning for it. But I jumped at it because it’s rare for me to get an opportunity to do something like that, and I really enjoy that kind of stuff. I enjoy doing drama and playing nasty characters as much as I enjoy the comedy.
You’ve been part of a star-studded cast for the new Dad’s Army film – what was that experience like?
That was fantastic. It was a crazy, crazy shoot. We were really up against time, so we had continuous days, which meant rather than going back to your trailer for an hour’s lunch, you’d scoff your food in about 20 minutes on set and then crack on again, everyone was sat together in these little huts, and I was there, eating alongside Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtney, Toby Jones, Danny Mays, all these fantastic actors. And some of their stories – especially the older boys – were amazing. Tom Courtney talking about Frank Sinatra and Michael Gambon when he worked with Marlon Brando – it was absolutely incredible. Every lunchtime for me was like story time. I would pretty much be sat, cross-legged on the floor, looking up in awe at these guys chatting about their days working at the National. I absolutely loved it. The script was great as well – Oliver Parker, the director, was fantastic. I haven’t seen any of it yet, so fingers crossed, but it was such a joy and a privilege to work with people like that. And after all their success, they were still really chilled out, down-to-earth, lovely people.
What’s it like, going from something like that to a show like Tripped?
It’s not like Dad’s Army was this huge, big budget thing. It had incredible actors and a brilliant director, but in terms of the day of shooting, there isn’t a huge amount of difference. All the stuff I’ve done has had a similar feel, really positive, and pushing to get it all done in time. I’ve never done a movie, like those big budget things, where they take two days to film 30 seconds-worth of footage. I’ve got mates who have worked in the crew on films like that, and they talk about how chilled out it all is, how they don’t start rolling until midday. We’re here, crapping ourselves at 9am saying “Come on, we’re already behind!” But every job I’ve done has felt like that.