TV series has luck of the Irish
US-BASED Irish actor Stuart Townsend is grateful for the small mercy of being able to slip into his native accent on the hit action TV show XIII.
Townsend, who plays the lead role of XIII in the selftitled TV series based on a Belgian comic strip, says the luxury of being able to sound like himself was pure luck. His character XIII, a finely-tuned CIA operative who cannot remember his past, has an Irish background.
‘‘We talked about the accent for XIII and we decided that a little bit of Irish could be allowed to creep into my voice, so they let me do American with about 15 per cent Irish thrown in,’’ Townsend says. ‘‘It’s nice to be able to do that.’’
Townsend’s CV includes movie roles alongside Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Trapped , where he met his former long-time partner Charlize Theron and TV series including the remake of the classic Night Stalker.
However, for all the glamour, money and the publicity sugarhit a major film provides an actor, Townsend, 39, likes the day-to-day slog of a TV series. He says XIII provides the opportunity to play the whole gamut of emotions while taking on an action hero over a period of time.
‘‘It’s more about what character you’re playing and XIII is one of the most favourite roles I have ever played,’’ Townsend says.
‘‘With movies you get the chance to find the subtleties but with TV you don’t even know what you are doing tomorrow. You are just given a script and I find that incredibly exciting.
‘‘You also get to spend six months with a character as opposed to six weeks or a couple of months.’’
XIII features elements of The Bourne Identity and 24. Though it premieres in Australia on Sunday, Townsend is in the middle of shooting the second series in Toronto, Canada.
Townsend admits there are similarities between his nomadic lifestyle and that of XIII who travels across continents looking for answers.
‘‘That’s what I love about the role – he’s somewhat alone in the world,’’ he says.
‘‘At the same time being an actor is a strange life in that way, you’re all over the place and you go where the work is and you are a kind of a drifter.’’
Sundays, 8.30pm, FX