Dominic Monaghan plays a disturbed individual on Bite Club but he’s an honorary Aussie knockabout when relaxing off-set!
We loved Dominic Monaghan in Lost and now he’s chewing up the scenery in new Aussie crime drama Bite Club. He has perhaps the most demanding role as the dark, complex detective wannabe, but when the cameras stopped rolling he was up for fun, Aussie-style!
How did you get involved in
Bite Club? I read a script probably four months beforehand, sent through to me via my agent and I thought the role was interesting. I play a little bit of a chameleon, a little bit of a joker in the pack and obviously coming to Australia was a nice draw for me. I’ve worked here before, I love the country, I love the people, and then we started to explore how it would all work.
So you were happy to relocate for a while?
Yeah, it was for two months and a little bit.
What’s your character Stephen Langley like?
When we rst meet him he’s a [police] dog handler but very keen to be a detective. He’s got quite a bit of insecurity about it; I think he wants to be in the gang of detectives and he’s not really accepted by those guys fully. He’s got quite a few anger issues and I think he’s had a troubled childhood and doesn’t do well when things don’t go his way –so he’s de nitely a complex character.
Obviously he goes from cop to person of interest...
You nd out at the end of episode one that he’s the person the cops are ultimately looking for, so he’s kind of hiding in plain sight. One of the things we spoke about was that no-one would suspect that he’s really a bad guy because he hangs out with all the good guys, and he’s charming and people like him and he’s fun and funny and all that kind of stuff...
So what drives his darker and more extreme side?
He’s quite immature and we talked a lot about him being impotent in a lot of ways – socially, sexually – and he wants deeply to be accepted, to be normal, but trying to go about that in abnormal ways. He’s also someone who doesn’t like hearing “No”, so when that happens he tries to make an example of whoever said it. What drives him is a deep frustration about not being accepted and a complex childhood and upbringing which has obviously shaped him into someone who doesn’t do well with not getting what he wants, and has a lot of anger issues.
What draws him to Amber?
He likes the idea of saving people and... purity, things that haven’t been touched, things that are in need of help, and Amber’s (Marny Kennedy) obviously been bitten by a shark and he meets her at a time in her life where she’s obviously a little more vulnerable than normal. Obviously she’s beautiful and blonde and blue-eyed and represents that kind of angelic quality.
What preparation did you do to play Stephen?
Without wanting to be too much of a freak, I’m kind of interested in serial killers. I do nd them interesting characters because they affect a lot of behavioural traits that seem to be normal in humans; you know, they have jobs, they go to work, they’re adult, they take the train or the bus; but obviously they do things that are abhorrent to the rest of the human race. I’ve always been fascinated to nd out what that switch is. I’ve read a lot about Ted Bundy and Jeff
Dahmer and Ed Kemper and Andrei Chikatilo – these are all iconic serial killers in terms of trying to understand what it
means to be a serial killer. I love what Anthony Hopkins does in
Silence of the Lambs: he tends to go very still in those places as if all the other times in his life he’s slightly out of control – and when he moves into areas where he’s going to be violent towards someone he’s in complete control and goes very still, and very much in control. And I kind of adopted some of those traits as best I could.
What did you most enjoy about playing the guy?
I have to mention the cast and crew here who have been so sweet and so welcoming. Obviously I’m a long, long way from home. I love Australia! I’ve been quite a few times making movies, making TV shows; I love the animals here, I love the country here, I love the people and the lifestyle. Playing the actual character itself, he’s tricky... it’s a little bit like a role inside a role inside a role because obviously there’s the Dom actor playing Stephen, but then there’s the Stephen character who’s playing various
different Stephen roles: the charming, sweet guy, then the guy who’s desperate to be a detective and who wants to have a girlfriend and then obviously he plays a murderer and then he plays a murderer keeping a secret – and then he plays the helpful cop and then he plays he envious detective. It was a real challenge but it’s probably been the most amount of fun.
Has there been a favourite Bite Club scene?
I love working with Ash Ricardo and Todd Lasance – those two are really lovely people and we have a good time together. We’ve become fast friends but obviously I’m the person they’re looking for, so it’s very delicate. One day we went to a murder scene, a murder that I actually committed, and we’re just to try and garner a little bit more information. I’m with Ash to start off with and I’m asking her to basically explain to me what type of person can do this and obviously it’s me, so I’m kind of tickled by the fact that she’s explaining to me traits about me and then I stand behind her when she bends down to have a look at a clue and the idea is that at any given point I could just bash her over the head and she could be another victim! And that’s really fun to play those scenes when you’re the person that has all the information in the scene and the other people are trying to work out that it’s you!
Who have you bonded with most in the cast?
It’s hard to pick anyone out because they’re all such lovely people and I like them a lot. We spent time at [Sydney’s] Bronte Beach for a little party that Ash threw and that was a great experience because I got to meet everyone’s boyfriends and girlfriends and wives and husbands and stuff. Todd showed up with his wife and daughter, who are both gorgeous people, and Pia (Miller) was there and Darcie (Irwin-Simpson) was there and it was just a nice experience. I’m the only non-Aussie so I think they all think, We’ll show you a good time while you’re here and make you feel special and they’ve de nitely done that!
Shark attacks feature prominently in the show. What’s your relationship with sharks?
They’re amazingly special, signi cant, beautiful creatures that demand our respect and conservation; they’re one of the more important shes in the whole ocean. They tend to be a keystone species in a lot of different places so in places where there are sharks there’ll be other sh, but places where there are not sharks you won’t nd other sh. I’m not stupid: obviously if I was swimming in the deep ocean on my own and there was a shark following me it would be a scary experience, but I don’t have any fear of them. I’ve dived with tiger sharks before, gone in a cage and dived with bull sharks; I’ve dived with nurse sharks. I have zero fear of those creatures – I think they’re spectacular animals and just a privilege to be around.
What else did you get up to in Sydney?
I went to a few nice restaurants and I went to the beach, I’ve surfed a couple of times, I’ve worked on my suntan a little bit. I bought an electric skateboard called a one-wheel over with me so I’ve been buzzing my one-wheel around with me on-set and giving people a go and taking it around Manly Beach. That’s the great thing about Australia: everyone works hard but then when it gets to the weekend, you guys play hard as well, and I really appreciate that as a cultural thing. TVS
TRUE BLUE Ash Ricardo, Dominic and Todd