Exclusive Interview with ‘Rookie Blue’s Matt Murray
Matt Murray plays the newest rookie, Duncan Moore, on ABC’s Canadian import, Rookie Blue. After a rocky start, Duncan is finding a way to fit in at 15 Division. Murray took some time to talk with Talk Nerdy With Us about life as rookie as well as to spill some details about his upcoming comedy Kevin From Work. Read on to hear what he had to say!
It’s always tough to come into an established show and be the new guy. You had it extra tough because you came in and you were the new guy and then your character was terrible. Was that difficult for you?
“It was a big adjustment for me. The cast and the crew and everybody was so welcoming right from the beginning so work-wise it was absolutely amazing. While we were shooting season 6, that’s when [season 5] was airing, and the fans were reacting very good to Duncan at the beginning and then when we he turned into the bad guy, people just hated him, especially because of the things he was doing to Andy, she’s the lead of the show, everybody loves Andy. That was an adjustment I had to make, because when I was hearing the switch in the comments people were making, I thought for some reason that I was doing something wrong. I was like ‘what am I not doing? Am I not making the right choices?’ I didn’t let it affect my work, but the cast came to check on me and they said ‘we just want to make sure you’re doing okay. We know that it’s hit that time, and we just want to let you know that you’re doing the right thing. The reaction the fans are having is what’s supposed to be. That’s the reaction that you want.’ It showed that I was doing my job. It was a beautiful adjustment that I had to make and I adjusted fast. Once I realized I that, I was like I ‘Oh okay, so I’m not making the wrong choices, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing’.”
It’s a tough time to play the bad guy, with the access that fans have to actors with twitter and other social media, you can feel really personally attacked.
“Yeah. A lot of times also, like half of the fans would say ‘Duncan’ but the other half would say ‘Matt Murray.’ So, yeah. But then the fans were amazing because at the same time, more than half of them would attack the other fans and say ‘Hey,no, no, don’t blame Matt, that’s Duncan. Matt’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing he’s acting.’ It’s like when you hear the story of the guy from Game of Thrones, he got a lot of flack for being the bad guy, because he did such an amazing job and you get so invested in those characters so it was similar to that, not on that scale, but I’ve never had that happen before so it was a great learning experience. A lot of actors say playing a bad guy is a lot of fun, you’re just pretending, so when you’re on set and you’re playing a bad guy, it’s a lot of fun, it’s great doing that. But then it airs and you’re not getting the reaction you thought, but then it’s like, no that’s the reaction it should get. If you’re doing a comical part and you make people laugh, you know you did your job. If you’re doing a sad part, you make people cry, you know you did a good job. So if you’re the bad guy and everybody hates you, you know you did a good job.”
What’s been your favorite part of working on Rookie Blue?
“The teamwork, working with the cast. I love all those guys. Again, they brought me in so quickly. I love working as a team, and the family feel that this set has made me feel so happy and so excited to go to work every day. There were a lot of days where we were getting up at 4:30 and we had a late night the night before, but there was never a time where I’d wake up and say ‘Oh man, I wish I had a day off.’ There was not one day like that. It was like ‘OK, we’re gonna go to work and we’re gonna wake each other up, we’re gonna have a long day, and we’re gonna keep each other awake and keep the energy going.’ And anytime we’re all in the parade room, that’s when everybody’s together, the ADs would direct those days, but we’d make everybody laugh so we wouldn’t get much work done those days cause it’s all of us together. I love that, and I love being a part of show that’s established like it is already and seeing the love and the following that the show and the story has.”
We’re getting to see a new side of Duncan this season – he’s really funny! Is your background in comedy?
“Funny enough, not really and yes at the same time. My only training was in theatre school, I went to theatre school after high school, and all I knew was the comical side of things, cause in Detroit, that’s what we would do. We would crack jokes and have a good time and basically improv with each other, so going to theatre school all I knew how to do acting-wise, my instinct was to be funny. But, then I went to theatre school, they said that wasn’t my strength and they stopped me halfway through my first year and they forbid me to do comedy, they wanted to see what else I could do. They had me find more serious side of things, not necessarily the dramatic side, but just something different than comedy. So I put the comedy aside, put what my instincts always told me to do to the side, and discovered what else I had. That’s where all the training came in, and then on parts where it could be funny, my instincts knew ‘OK, I could throw a bit of comedy in here.’ If it was a serious role, but there was an appropriate moment to make the audience laugh, I knew where to throw that in. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone and I learned even more about comedy from taking on more roles that had nothing to do with comedy. But then I did Shakespeare, I did Comedy of Errors, I played one of the Dromios, and that was one of the times where it was just like ‘OK, Matt, do your thing.’ And you take that role and you play with it and you have a good time and you let your instincts fully take over. My instincts have always been that with the comedy, so I’ve never had real training with it. I never went to Second City, I never really did stand up, but it’s something that I do with my friends every day and my family every day.”
Speaking of comedy, without giving away any spoilers, what can you tell us about your character on Kevin From Work?
” Kevin From Work, oh I love this show. It’s so funny. It’s a very very funny show. [My character] Brian is, I call him a rainbow color of emotion. he’s a very emotional guy. He’s like that loud best friend who’s always making a scene but everybody kinda loves to see that. Him and Kevin are very close, they’re completely different but they need each other at the same time. Brian is one of those guys who goes off his instincts first, before thinking. He could be very happy one minute and then just turn sad the next, or he could be excited one minute and then get mad. He’s very spontaneous, he just pops up with anything. You never know what’s going to come out of Brian’s mouth or what he’s going to do. I love playing him because of how many emotions he gets to expose in one little scene.”
Rookie Blue fans will tune in to watch you regardless, but what is it about Kevin From Work that will attract viewers?
“Because of the characters. Every single character/actor has something totally different from the others. It’s a diverse cast and everybody has their own unique style of comedy and everybody has something in their character that everyone can relate to. It’s similar, character-wise, to Friends. You’re watching Friends, every scene you’re paying attention to because you fall in love with these characters. Despite their flaws, despite what’s happening, you get attached to the characters. These characters from Kevin From Work, it’s the same thing. You get attached to them because you fall in love with their flaws, you fall in love with their personalities and what they say and how they say it. It’s just one of those things that you can relate to because you know people that are like these characters. And on Kevin’s side of things, he’s just surrounded in a world full of craziness, and he can’t catch a break because of all the people he’s surrounded by. But he can’t help but fall in love with the people he’s surrounded by but it’s chaotic because of it. It’s a very relatable show. Everybody in the show is just a normal person; you know these characters, you know these situations. I love it. It’s so funny. Every single day on set we are cracking each other up, always trying to one-up ourselves, trying to crack the crew.”