From Titahi Bay to Nordic godhood
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.