TGL - Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Noah Danby. Originally from Guelph, Ontario Canada (props to the hometown!), Noah has had an action packed career as a series lead on Painkiller Jane, as a regular on Stargate SG-1, and appearing on Sci-Fi hits like Smallville, The 4400, and Mutant X and in features like the upcoming release of Uwe Boll's Darfur. Thank you for taking the time to do an interview with us at The-GreenLight.com.
Writers often wonder what impact their words have on the people who bring them to life. As an actor, what makes a great script great? Is it well defined characters, good dialogue, or is it a script with more room for you to play?
ND - Well I think it’s all of the above but it all starts with a story. Dialogue can change according to the circumstances. Room to play is important but a lot of the time, trying to find what works with what is written is also challenging and fun. Well defined characters, is more like icing on the cake but at the very base of it all a story that people would take 2 hours out of their day to watch and listen to is what you want to go for. If you have that you’ve just up’d the anti for everyone working on the film and watching it.
TGL - It seems, at least from the sidelines that one of the major differences between TV and Features is that there is more collaboration between cast, crew, and the writers on a TV set. Have you ever have to opportunity to work with the writers to develop your characters and if so, what kinds of input can a writer expect from an actor?
ND - From my experience it all comes down to time. For feature films, there is a lot of time for development. So an actor can and should spend that time developing that character into something very different and unique. While with TV most of the casting is done the week before you go to camera so an actor is more inclined to spend his rehearsal time coming at the script from his or her own perspective rather than that of a fully developed and original point of view.
TGL - There was a really great episode of Painkiller Jane when your character Connor was suffering from hallucinations and almost took out the entire team in a hail of bullets. When you’re presented with material like that how do you take the written word and give it such emotion? Do you stick to the script word for word, or use it more as a guide and use your skill as an actor to provide the impact?
ND - I dare say that was some of the best material that Matt Hastings had ever shot. Those words came from his mouth not mine. After reading the script I had decided that I was going to bring everything I could to that particular scene and I did. We shot and shot and I went to that dark place for almost 16 hours. Wearing a body cam for 7 hours and then taking it off and shooting the rest of the material with the Vipers we had on set. But to answer your question. I don’t think anyone knew what was going to happen in this scene until they saw me do it for the first time. I ended up going above and beyond what was given to me in the script. We ended up shooting way past our time constraints for that day but Matt simply turned to the line producer who was questioning his decision and said “What do you want me to do, This is the best fucking footage I have ever shot. I have to keep rolling.” Out of all the work I did on that show that is definitely one moment that stands out.
TGL - You’ve done Sci-Fi, Action, Comedy, pretty much the entire spectrum. What type of script is your favourite? What captures your attention about it?
ND - My favorite material to work on, is the story that inspires. That, after watching, you think to yourself…”Yes I can!” Those were the movies that had the largest impact on my life and the least I can do, is return the favor.
TGL - If you could pick a role, any role from any movie or TV show ever made, what would it be? What aspects of the character, story line, and dialog makes that the role for you?
ND - My next role, is always the one I am most excited about playing because the possibilities are endless and it’s mine! ALL MINE!!!!!!
TGL - What advice would you give a screenwriter who’s just starting out in the biz? If you could offer any insight from an actor’s perspective what would it be?
ND - Work on your craft every day. Remain Disciplined with it. Like a workout or eating. LOL. Don’t sit and wait for inspiration because then it will pass you by.
TGL - What projects are you working on? Where can we catch up with you next?
ND - You can see me in the upcoming season of Flashpoint, The Bridge and in the Feature film Darfur. I am currently in preproduction on a reality TV show called Bounce set to start shooting this September.
TGL - Thank you again for taking part in this interview, we look forward to the release of Darfur, and talking with you again.