From Ti­tahi Bay to Nordic god­hood

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MATTHEW DAL­LAS

It’s hard to say which is cooler; get­ting a play a god or a char­ac­ter named ‘‘Axl’’?

For for­mer Ti­tahi Bay lad Em­mett Coul­ing Sk­il­ton he gets to do both in The Almighty John­sons, a new tele­vi­sion se­ries which pre­miered last night. The com­e­dy­drama, from the mak­ers of Out­ra­geous For­tune, cen­tres on four broth­ers who hap­pen to be the rein­car­na­tion of Nordic gods. Their daily strug­gles range from the com­mon­place – re­la­tion­ships, sib­ling ri­valry – to the oc­ca­sional fan­tas­ti­cal (spe­cial pow­ers, quests).

Coul­ing Sk­il­ton was im­me­di­ately at­tracted to the role of 20-year-old Axl, the youngest of the four broth­ers.

‘‘ It’s about a young guy more in­ter­ested in par­ties and girls, hav­ing no re­spon­si­bil­ity – I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced that. He gets thrown in the deep end when he finds out who he re­ally is, and has his fam­ily depend­ing on him.’’

Who he re­ally is is Odin, the most pow­er­ful of the Nordic gods who, as the pub­lic­ity ma­te­rial claims, must deal with ‘‘ war, death, prophecy and magic’’, a con­sid­er­able change of pace for a guy who hasn’t man­aged to get laid yet.

The Nordic mythol­ogy was less fa­mil­iar to Coul­ing Sk­il­ton – who ad­mits to a love of comic-book he­roes, the X-Men when he was grow­ing up, but no in­ter­est in Vik­ings. He says the show’s writ­ers have done a huge amount of re­search to make sure ev­ery as­pect of the folk­lore was de­picted as ac­cu­rately as pos­si­ble.

De­spite its fan­tas­ti­cal el­e­ments, Coul­ing Sk­il­ton says the show has a strong fam­ily fo­cus and a down-toearth tone.

‘‘It’s a bloody funny show, the script is hi­lar­i­ous. It’s very much Kiwi hu­mour, and typ­i­cal of New Zealan­ders, it plays down who we are. It’s a com­ing-of-age story.’’

The Almighty John­sons is his first full-time, high-pro­file TV gig ‘‘which is bril­liant’’, he says. He has worked largely in the­atre, a lit­tle bit of TV work, and had a part in Gay­lene Pre­ston’s Home By Christ­mas.

He says it feels quite sur­real to fi­nally have the show on TV screens, and the pub­lic talk­ing about it, as film­ing for it fin­ished mid­way through last year and ‘‘feels a long time ago’’.

‘‘ It’s fi­nally hit­ting home, the re­al­ity that it’s a pub­lic show that ev­ery­one will be see­ing. And it’s great for me in terms of ex­po­sure. [ Aside from the first episode] I haven’t seen full shows, just pieces, so I’m look­ing for­ward to watch­ing it on Mon­day nights too.’’

Coul­ing Sk­il­ton says he is en­joy­ing life in Auck­land, though it can be very vast.

‘‘Ti­tahi Bay is good place to come back to. I like the beach.’’

He is cur­rently re­hears­ing for a play, Paper Sky, a love story be­tween a poet and a paper girl, which opens in Auck­land on March 4.

The Almighty John­sons screens on TV3, Mon­day 9.30pm.

Not quite, but

there are mys­ti­cal forces at work in The

Almighty John­sons, which stars for­mer Porirua

boy Em­mett Coul­ing Sk­il­ton

as the rein­car­na­tion of a Nordic god.

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