Exclusive Interview with Rise’s Rarmian Newton

Most of Rarmian Newton‘s roles, up until this point, have been in Australian projects (he was born in Melbourne), such as Dance Academy or The Doctor Blake Mysteries. But now he is making a name for himself in American television and capturing viewers’ hearts every Tuesday night on Rise as Maashous Evers. I got to talk to Rarmian about how he got started in acting, what he nerds out about and how his role in Rise came to be. Keep reading to see his answers!

How did you get involved in acting?

When I was 5 years old, I asked my parents if I could go to dance classes. That was really the beginning of my love for stage. Luckily, the school I danced at offered a range of different classes from acting to circus school, so naturally I couldn’t help but get involved in every class my parents would let me do.

Was there a specific experience or person in your life that you would credit with helping you realize acting was what you wanted to do for a profession?

I wouldn’t exactly credit anyone with helping me realize that. I kind of just asked to do it one day and never stopped. But I’ll credit my parents and the mentors in my life with making it happen. I could never have gotten this far without mum and dad taking me to classes, and never would have been this inspired without strong mentors lighting the flame.

Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us — so what is something you nerd out about?

I like this question. I’ve always been a space nerd. I used to go to seminars on astronomy when I was 10 years old and even joined a telescope club. As an adult, I then I took up an interest in theoretical physics, from general relativity to quantum mechanics. I read every one of Stephen Hawking’s books. RIP.

Moving on to talk about Rise, what was your audition process like? Was Masshous the role you originally auditioned for?

Usually you have about 2-3 rounds of auditions, [which includes] a screen test. But this project was different. Our producer, Flody Suarez, said they knew who they wanted after the first call-back, which is highly unusual. But with a writer like Jason Katims, I think the network can trust his instincts without needing to do a screen test.

What did you think of the show when you first read the script? What were your first impressions?

Spring Awakening… enough said.

Spring Awakening has been my favorite show since I was a teenager, so when I read that in the script I KNEW I had to work on this show. The last time I saw a production of the show I came out feeling older (in a good way). Like I had gained 10 years of wisdom. It just felt right that this script landed in my hands two months later.

Jason Katims is the mastermind behind some classic television shows, like RoswellFriday Night Lights and Parenthood. Were you a fan of his shows before and what was it like getting to work with him?

I was never really big on watching television. Ironic, I know. So I only got into Friday Night Lights after starting work on the show. I find that there are two types of people in this world– people who work for work, and people who work for a purpose. Jason has a reason to write and recognizes the huge potential for progress that his shows can inspire. He works with purpose, and these people who work with purpose are the inspiring mentors that I mentioned before. They’re my flame.

Rise has gotten a lot of comparisons to Glee just because it’s a television show that features high school kids singing, even though, in my opinion, they couldn’t be more different. What would you say to people who ask how it’s different?

The main difference to me is the focus. The focus on our show are the relationships formed from hardship. Theatre is that brief escape from the harshness of life in Stanton. All of these kids have issues at home, or issues with their identity, or just struggle with being treated as an outcast theatre kid, and theatre gives them a chance to express. Together they feel accepted, and thats the message we’re trying to inspire. The music is an expression of their lives. It’s not about the song. The song is about them.

Rise airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9/8c. You can follow Rarmian on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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