Exclusive Interview with The Last Ship’s Troy Doherty

There’s not much Troy Doherty can’t do; he’s an accomplished actor, singer, and songwriter. Fans of TNT’s The Last Ship will get an extended introduction to Troy in the show’s fifth and final season as he plays Clayton Swain, a protégé of Eric Dane’s character, Tom Chandler. I recently got to talk to Troy and he gave me a little glimpse into his world, how he initially got involved in the industry, his character on The Last Ship, what it was like working with Eric Dane and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!

How did you initially get involved in acting and the entertainment industry in general?

Well, I always grew up singing around the house and I always loved to entertain my parents. When I was in third grade, my mom signed me up to do a musical at the regional theater in Manasquan, NJ. There were a few girls in my grade at the time who didn’t want me to join because maybe I had cooties or something. But I did it anyway. The girls and I became good friends, and I fell in love with entertaining.

Was there a specific moment or person who made you realize acting was what you wanted to pursue as a career?

After singing “Beauty School Drop Out” in a production of Grease at the Algonquin Theatre in Manasquan, NJ, the crowd went wild. I loved that feeling! I think it was about a year later that I auditioned for the Traveling Troop at the Count Basie Center for The Arts in Red Bank, NJ. I auditioned for Yvonne Scudiery. She awarded me the role. After the audition, she called my parents that night and suggested I get a manager and go to New York, so I did. That was probably the moment that I figured out I really wanted to do be a professional actor.

You’ve had many different types of roles in many different mediums. Do you have a personal acting “bucket list” of things you want to accomplish in your career? If so, what are some of the things on it?

I do! I’ve always believed in shooting for the stars, no pun intended. One of the things on my bucket list is to be the youngest male to win ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role.’ Adrien Brody won at the age of 29 for The Pianist, so I’ve still got seven years to make it happen! Another bucket list item I would love to achieve would be to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony). I know it’s aggressive, but someone’s got to get them. It might as well be me.

Let’s talk about The Last Ship. How would you describe it for people who aren’t familiar with it?

For people who haven’t seen the show, I would say that it’s an amazing post-apocalyptic action-drama that follows the crew of the USS Nathan James. After a global virus wipes out about 80% of the population, it is up to our Nathan James crew to find a cure and save humanity. There is so much of this show to love, that I think anyone who isn’t familiar will fall in love with it instantly.

What was your audition process like for The Last Ship? Were you familiar with the show before you auditioned for it?

The audition process was pretty exciting. I remember going in to read with Gary Zuckerbrod, who is an amazing casting director, and I did the first two scenes [with] no problem. We moved on to the third scene, and within 15 seconds, he stops me. We start over and again, about 15 seconds in, he stops me. We did this probably 10 times, which, as an actor, was honestly making me nervous. This had never happened to me before, and then Gary says, “You are so perfect for this, we are going to get this right. Go outside. I’m going to bring someone else in and then I’ll bring you back in.” So, I went outside, ran it a few times, went back into the room, did two takes and left. It was such a different experience for me. About four days later, I had a callback. It also happened to be the same day that I was moving apartments, so it was a long day. Welcome to LA. I went into the callback, and I’m not going to lie, I nailed it. Around a week later, I got the call!

Tell me a little bit about your character, Clayton Swain.

Well, after Clayton’s parents died from the plague, he joined the U.S. Naval Academy and became a protégé of Tom Chandler (Eric Dane). He is not your typical clean-cut guy that you would usually see in the Navy. Clayton is someone who won’t back down from a fight – he is a fighter. It’s what he does. He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but he is strong-willed and will stop at nothing to help his country and his fellow men and women.

Would you say Clayton is more similar or different to the person that Troy is and why?

I would say we are similar. Both Clayton and I would do whatever it takes to keep our friends and family safe, and if that means having to fight, then that is what we’ll have to do. Also, Clayton is someone who is trustworthy and reliable. You can tell him anything and know that he will respect you and keep your secret. I think I’m the same way.

Your character is the protégé of Eric Dane’s character, Tom Chandler. What was it like getting to work so closely with him?

Eric Dane is such a presence, on and off-screen. Acting in scenes with him were always very connected and focused. You could tell that he was giving you everything and as an actor, being able to play off of someone like Eric was truly a pleasure. Even off-screen, whether it was at craft or in our chairs, he was so easy to talk to and cool to hang out with. His laugh is contagious. You can’t help but laugh with him.

I read that you’re also a musician and you have an EP out on iTunes. A) How did you get into writing and performing music and B) is there a song on your EP that you feel best represents who you are as a person and artist?

Like I said, I’ve always been a singer. When I was 10, I started taking voice lessons. When I was 12, I started taking guitar and piano lessons and as my skills progressed so did my desire to write. I wrote my first song at 14 and now have written over 30 songs. “I’ve Got You” from my Citizens Arrest EP is the song that probably best represents me. It’s a song about letting someone know that no matter what, “I’ve got you.” I know I haven’t gotten to where I am by myself and I’m grateful to those who have helped me. So, whether it’s my friends, my family, or even other entertainers, if they need help, I’ll try my best to do so.

Last question — our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd, so what is something that you nerd out over?

Video games. Hands down! My Xbox is the machine that gets the most use in the house. I play so much Rocket League, it’s crazy. I’m only a Platinum 2 so I have some more work to get to Grand Champion, but I love it. There have been a few weekends where you need to play all day because you’re on a winning streak! Also, my two older brothers play Xbox. Since we live in different parts of the country, it helps us stay together and play like when we were younger! Except now, I’m not the one losing all the time.

Season five of The Last Ship premieres on TNT on September 9th at 9/8c. You can follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Image Credits:

PHOTOGRAPHY: Brett Erickson

GROOMING: Helen Robertson

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