Out of character
Playing Daniel Holden in Rectify has led actor Aden Young into dark places. He tells HOLLY BYRNES how he fi ghts back
ON THE page, being brutally beaten into a coma didn’t sound entirely a bad thing to Rectify’s lead actor Aden Young. Playing freed death row prisoner Daniel Holden, who fi nds himself once again fi ghting for his life in season two of the acclaimed US drama series ( returning to SBS), it’s entirely understandable why Young attempts to make light of such a dark storyline.
“I read the first episode and thought, ‘ Oh great, I’ll just lie down and do some ( mental) work on what’s to come’.”
But as fans will discover, in his tortured dream state, Holden fl ashes between the horrors which plagued him in jail for the 19 years he spent inside, and a confused reality where he appears to wander through a meadow with his executed cellmate, Kerwin Whitman ( played by Johnny Ray Gill). A walk in the park it wasn’t, Young says. “The day that sequence we shot in the pecan grove was freezing. It was a nine- minute take and we did that, I don’t know, how many times.
“What’s amazing about it is we didn’t die of hypothermia. As soon as they would call ‘ cut’ we would start shaking uncontrollably. It was a remarkable physical eff ort to do it... there was nothing easy about it.”
The physical and mental toll this season took on the Canadian- born, Australian- raised actor continued long after the cameras stopped rolling, he says.
“It was a very tight schedule and we were all completely exhausted when it was done. I went for a casting the other day and just couldn’t believe how bad I was. I felt like an actor straight out of NIDA who’d never been in front of the camera before … it was a funny, strange feeling.”
Speaking to his process, after immersing himself in the “purgatory” Holden fi nds himself in this season – “struggling to fi nd a way back to living” – Young admits to having trouble shaking off the character.
“I fi nd him lurking around corners every now and then. It’s hard because we’re doing some post- production work on the show and he needs to be there to remind me, with his dry wit, that things are pretty sad.
“He’s an interesting character and I think I’ve got a little bit of a handle on how to take him out to a park, quickly lock the door and drive away. You have to do that, otherwise you’d go insane.”
In stark contrast, Young found joy in his private life earlier this year - marrying longtime partner, singer Loene Carmen near the show’s Georgia set.
“My girl and I always wanted to be married and she loved the place that we were living in, Zebulon, and said, ‘ Let’s get married in Zebulon’. So we stumbled down to the courthouse, got our $ 56 certifi cate and then thought, ‘ Well, let’s get the family over’ and all of sudden we’re broke again,” he says.
“That security blanket ( of a steady TV income) is well and truly in debt again. Luckily there are other things on the cards and I’ll be able to do some panhandling on the weekends.”
He explains the demands of the job meant “our honeymoon lasted an afternoon” before he went back to the dark side of fi lming.
“I worked until 2.30am, sat up and had lastminute questions about the wedding until four, then went to bed, woke up, went outside and put up some fairy lights and the guests started arriving while I was in my pyjamas.
“I quickly threw on a suit and had a couple of beers, then walked up the aisle and said, ‘ I do’.
“It was a beer for breakfast and just a wonderful day.”
WEDNESDAY, 9.30PM, SBS1