Q& A

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - with Martin Hen­der­son HOLLY BYRNES

GET­TING be­yond his soap opera start, a turn as Britney Spears’ boyfriend in her video clip

Toxic and the death of friend Heath Ledger tough­ened up Martin Hen­der­son in the jun­gle that is Hol­ly­wood. He’s now tak­ing on the wilds in new med­i­cal drama Off The Map.

Q. You had some reser­va­tions about tak­ing on a TV role. Why?

A. It wasn’t a light de­ci­sion be­cause I grew up do­ing a lot of it in New Zealand and Aus­tralia. I went to New York for a while be­fore I moved to LA and I was very clear that I didn’t want to do TV. For a decade, ba­si­cally, I didn’t even en­ter­tain the idea. I was a lit­tle fear­ful of the com­mit­ment that could be in­volved. Q. What changed?

A. I got to a point, you know, I’m in my 30s now and the idea of run­ning off here and there for three months here and four months there [ for film or the­atre] wasn’t as ap­peal­ing. I kind of craved a lit­tle more of a nor­mal ex­is­tence, and I have my home here just out­side in Topanga up in the hills and my dog and my gar­den, and I wanted to be around more. Q. Do you feel com­fort­able in Hol­ly­wood? A. I don’t re­ally have much to do with it. It’s kind of how I earn my liv­ing, but my life has noth­ing to do with it, re­ally, at all. When I’m not act­ing, I’m usu­ally sail­ing or camp­ing or ex­plor­ing or trav­el­ling or spend­ing time in New Zealand. Q. This se­ries is set in the Ama­zon, but is filmed in Hawaii. Do you meet up with the

Hawaii Five-O guys and go surf­ing?

A. Well, Alex O’Lough­lin is an old friend. Ac­tu­ally, when he first came to LA he stayed at my house. My first surf­ing was with him when I got here. He had al­ready been in Hawaii a month, so he’s like ‘‘ come on, mate, we’ll go and get in the water’’.

Q. Your Off the Map char­ac­ter Ben Kee­ton . . . what was the ap­peal of play­ing him?

A. I was in­ter­ested in the hu­man­i­tar­ian as­pect. You know, what it is about a doc­tor who chooses to leave the first world and go down to some­where like the Ama­zon, where peo­ple don’t have ac­cess to the kind of health care we take for granted, who put them­selves on the line.

Q. We read sto­ries about how the cast and crew from Lost bonded by go­ing skinny-dip­ping in Hawaii. Have you done that yet?

A. Yes, I have [ laughs]. I was stay­ing at Sun­set Beach. There was . . . One full moon night. I mean, it was warm.

Off the Map, South­ern Cross, Thurs­day, 10.30pm

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