Matt Whelan, whose Go Girls character Brad takes on a bigger role from this week, just as he finishes filming Girl Meets Boy, his first feature as a leading man.
Hey Matt, did you have a good Easter?
Yep, it was good. I've just been taking some time out after wrapping up
Girl Meets Boy
What is the film about?
It's based on a documentary called
Banana in a Nutshell
and is about this very Kiwi Chinese girl brought up by very strict parents, juggling the three main things in her life, her love, her parents and her career. Where I come into the story: she unexpectedly falls in love with me and I fall in love with her but I go against everything her parents expected for her.
That sounds almost the reverse of your character Brad's situation with Amy - in Go Girls he is the one who doesn't want to disappoint his parents. Was it also shot in Auckland?
Yeah. The studio was out in Albany, the same as the one used for
, we also shot around Auckland. Albert Park, Unitec for example.
Did you audition for the part or did SPP approach you?
I got it through my agent. I saw it and thought, perfect, this guy is tall and skinny and he has to speak a bit of Mandarin.
And do you speak Mandarin?
Well yeah, funnily enough I learned it for five years in high school.
When you auditioned for Brad was there also a brief for a tall, skinny white guy?
Well, the character in
Girl meets Boy
is based on a real character and I guess we share similar physical traits but for Brad, no, it was more of him just being a Shore boy. I saw that his parents controlled his life, he was a mama's or daddy's boy. Quite spoiled I guess. He was also very business. He's a financial adviser, and I guess I learned that he means well, even if sometimes it's not a very wise thing to do.
Are you a Shore boy like Brad?
No, I grew up in Christchurch, went to Hagley Theatre Company down there, then moved to Wellington to go to Toi Whakaari. I auditioned for
in Wellington and when I got that part decided to move up to Auckland. I was living in Sandringham. I moved out to Devonport a few months ago.
Growing up in Christchurch did you know much about the whole Shore guy and girl thing?
No, not at all, I still don't really know what it is. I don't know, can you tell me? What is it?
Well, I guess it's your show.
It does feel like it's a completely different place, I can't pinpoint what it is exactly, but I guess the first time I came over here, to Takapuna, I felt like I was in Australia, it had this Sydney kind of feel.
Do you fit in now?
Yeah, I love it over here. It's awesome being so close to the beach.
Does anything about Brad annoy you? For instance him not following his heart and getting back with Amy.
Yeah, I guess he annoys me because sometimes he can't be straight-up about things. And sometimes he can be quite unaware of what's going on. He wants to keep everyone happy, and he is a nice guy you know, but sometimes he gets himself into these awkward situations.
And so what's going to happen to his character as the season progresses? He's often described as "the hapless Brad" but does he kind of shake that in the next few episodes and find out what he is capable of?
Yeah, I think he was gearing up towards that in series one, he was telling people how he felt about things and gaining more confidence, but then that kind of just blew up in his face when Angelina became pregnant. And between the end of the first series and the start of the second one he fell back into his old patterns, playing it safe with the career - he goes back to liquidation - sticking with Angie and continuing to please his parents. But now quite a lot of stuff happens to him all in one hit. Things start to unfold next week. He finds himself in very unknown territory. He doesn't know what to do.
So it's crunch time.
Yeah it is...
Do people come up to you on the street and talk to you about being "Brad and Angelina"? Because Go Girls' Brad and Angelina seem to have just as tumultuous a relationship as the Brad and Angelina?
[Laughs] It's funny, eh? It's funny that it's Brad and Angelina but it's never mentioned or insinuated, it's just kind of there. That cracks me up.
The other thing is Amy - she has broad appeal, especially for male viewers - how do you feel about your character never getting it right.
In season one he totally stuffed up from the word go. He took the easy option. He tends to do that, it shows in his career too. He's a financial adviser so he's very much about calculating risks, not taking them. I don't think Brad's parents want him to take risks at all.
Why has Brad moved from a supporting to a main role?
Right at the beginning there was no talk of Brad becoming a main role. But I think he has a completely different vibe to everyone else and in particular Kevin; I think maybe it's having the two very different guys for viewers to relate to.
Does Brad remind you of anyone?
It's funny, he kind of reminded me of ... well a while ago we were talking about who would be what character off
, and I guess he kind of reminds me of Ross. But I never thought of him when I developed the character.
Just a personal question - how tall are you?
I'm six foot three-and-a-half.
Matt Whelan, plays Brad on
Where and When:
Thursdays 8.30pm, TV2
Brad moves from a supporting role to a main role as the drama unfolds.