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