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- Interview by Thief12 (Carlo Giovannetti)
Giles Matthey is a young English actor who portrayed CIA intelligence analyst Jordan Reed in 24: Live Another Day. Matthey debuted on TV with an appearance on CBS Emmy-winning series The Good Wife. After that, he landed a recurring role on the popular HBO show True Blood playing Claude Crane, a cynical, telepathic faerie with 17 sisters.
But 2014 has sent Matthey’s career in new directions with a lead role in the independent film Boulevard, alongside Robin Williams, and being cast as part of the main cast on the return of FOX hit series 24. Wiki 24 interviewed Matthey to know about his life and career, his experience filming 24, and what the future might bring for him.
The following session of questions and answers was done by email. The interview was posted on August 26, 2014. It also features SPOILERS about the events of 24: Live Another Day.
Wiki 24: Let’s start with some biographical information. I saw an interview with Diana Madison (The Lowdown) where you said you were born in Australia. Are your parents from there?
Giles Matthey: Yes, my mum is Australian. She was born and raised there, as was I. My father was English, born and raised, so I guess I’m half-half.
W24: Why did you move to London?
GM: I moved to London with my mum and sister to be closer to my dad, and grew up from the age of eight in London.
W24: How did you become interested in acting? Was it something you wanted to do as a child, or was it something you gradually grew interested in?
GM: When I was about 13, I went to see a play and I was so moved by an actor's performance that it really resonated with something in me. I just hoped I was good enough to do it professionally.
W24: Anyone in your family is in show business?
GM: No, my family are not in show biz, but my dad loved showing off and doing accents.
W24: How did you get your role on 24?
GM: Oh, my agent sent me the audition and I put myself on tape for it. After a few months, I heard I was close. Then I found out that I got the role because Jon Cassar responded to it, as did the producers. Jon, being a hell of a director, it was an absolute honour and privilege to join such a high calibre show.
W24: Were you a fan of 24 before getting a role on the show?
GM: I only watched a few episodes from Season 4 when I was at university, eating cereal and chocolate for dinner with my best mate Bob. He is a huge fan, so he basically forced me to watch it and I started watching the whole of Season 4. But I realized if I kept on watching, I would fail my degree.
W24: How did the script describe the character of Jordan Reed? How did you adapt it to your acting style? Did you incorporate any trait that wasn't necessarily on the script?
GM: He was described as a sophisticated, sharp computer tech. So I did some research and I asked Jon Cassar if I could wear the USB stick around my neck, and he loved that idea. I did a lot of research with my stepbrother's friend, who basically has Jordan's job but for British Special Forces out in Afghanistan, and works with the CIA a lot at the moment. Obviously I cannot say his name, but we had like a 5-hour conversation almost the day I arrived into London. He helped me a lot as to what kind of guy Jordan Reed may be. But I always think it's important to bring yourself to a role and put yourself in the characters situation. Especially with someone like Jordan, who is (was) a good guy with a true moral compass.
W24: Did you know from the beginning that Jordan would die?
GM: The writers kept all episodes secret until a few weeks away from shooting, so I had no idea.
W24: What did you think of that twist?
GM: I liked the twist. Jordan was like the sacrificial lamb! He was killed doing something he believed in, so it drove a lot of the plot along and people then wanted Navarro to come to justice Bauer style!
W24: How would you describe the overall experience of filming 24?
GM: It was nothing but a pleasure and honour.
W24: I know Kiefer Sutherland didn't film many scenes at the CIA set, but how was it working with him?
GM: He was always a gentleman and it was a pleasure watching him work. A seasoned actor like him, I kept my ears and eyes open. You're always trying to soak up anything to learn as an actor.
W24: Any particular cast members that you became close friends with during filming?
GM: Kiefer was always charming and a gentleman on set, Yvonne was a dream, Tate was a real laugh, Gbenga was such a lovely guy to me. But because a lot of my scenes were with Ben Bratt, we actually became good friends. Ironic, I know!
W24: Any funny anecdote or memorable moment during your time on the show?
GM: One that comes to mind was Jordan telling Navarro that he saw some files missing in the archives. I remember walking quite fast with Ben, and me tripping over computer wires and falling on my ass in a very important scene. Also, shooting in Camden Lock was fun. Having to remain wet and run around Camden was really fun actually.
W24: You were on True Blood for several years. How would you compare the experience of it with 24?
GM: Very different. One was an English fairy, the other is an American CIA agent. The pacing in 24 is very fast and intense, whereas True Blood was a bit slower. Both are fantastic and I am lucky to have worked on them.
W24: You worked recently with the late Robin Williams. How would you describe the experience of working with him?
GM: Well, I was lucky enough to be cast in a film called Boulevard which, sadly, was the last film Robin starred in. I play a Southern crazy ghetto pimp. But on set and in the make-up chair, Robin was a loving, caring guy who cared about what you had to say, and he just oozed love with everybody. I learned a lot from him and he had no ego whatsoever, and would ask me if it was ok if he could run lines with me before shooting. That usually does not happen, especially with someone of Robin's calibre.
W24: You even tweeted a picture of the letter Robin wrote to the US Citizen and Immigration Services recommending them to grant you US citizenship. How did that letter came to be?
GM: I asked Robin after we finished the movie if he could write a letter to support my eventual Green Card application, which he immediately agreed to. So as a demonstration of Robin's charm and generosity, I thought I would share that with the Twittersphere (see Giles' Tweet here)
W24: What is the next step in your career? What projects do you have in the near future?
GM: A few projects that I am close to, but I am a freak when it comes to superstition, so if I mention them then I won't get either of them. You can't argue with science.
W24: Finally, any particular director, actor or actress that you dream of working with?
GM: Martin Scorsese, Daniel Day-Lewis, Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Nolan. These are just some. I could go on all day, but you all have lives to get on with, I'm sure.
W24: Thanks for your availability and kindness in answering our questions. We wish you lots of success in your career.
GM: Thank you for the opportunity! I appreciate it, buddy. Thank you for reaching out!