5. What was your favourite scene to film?
So many to choose from. Really, looking back on the experience I can safely say that I had a ball filming all of it. Top of my head my favourite scenes to film would be a mash up between the dancing scene which was completely off the cuff and murdering Nana Flo.
A scene I was really happy after filming but gutted after watching was the confession with Nana Flo. It was absolutely butchered the moment they threw in a commercial break half way through what was to be the most important scene in Brendan’s journey. As a result it mattered fuck all about the build up or care that was taken by everyone during that scene, the minute it raped our investment with an ad break as an audience member we got yanked out of that moment. The blaring voice of a Wheetos or tampon commercial leaving us cheated and violated; and in order to get back into the story, no matter who you are, takes time and by that stage the scene is over. It was horrible to watch and ruined as a result. In my opinion. Save for that, there was very little I wasn’t happy with.
4. You’ve mentioned before that you and Neil like to talk a lot about scenes before you shoot them. What was the approach and intentions of the final scene of Episode 4 (the fight/sex scene)?
Initially there was no fight scene and the sex scene was just me slipping out of frame as the camera stayed on Neil’s face, torment etched in his eyes. We wanted something more, we wanted something so far removed from the 6.30 show but ultimately real. Both myself and Neil have fight training so over the next few evenings before the shoot we choreographed the moves and then fine tuned them with our brilliant stunt co ordinator. Sex and violence go hand in hand with these two animals so it was important the fight didn’t just come out of nowhere.
At first we stuck with what was scripted and to be honest I fought for the scripted version cause of its subtlety. But once we watched it back we realised it didn’t work. It was too soft, too gentle, the complete opposite of who Brendan was. Sex is power for him, and Brendan needed to take the power back. And he did.
3. Brendan spends most of Hollyoaks Later in a really dark place (like the Mick body chopping!), how do you get into the “Brendan Zone” for these scenes and leave it behind when you go home?
I wish it was that easy. Sometimes you take it home, unconsciously take it home… It filters out eventually. But it’s hard.. I can come to terms and go to those dark places if need be, quite easily. Letting go of it, I haven’t quite mastered. That’s not to say I go home and start cutting people up, I just ain’t the same guy!
When I did Charlie Casanova I didn’t know how to let go of him, and I brought him into my Hollyoaks job cause the turn over was so quick. He’s gone now but there was a time, a short period where Charlie and Brendan inhabited the same body… Emmett was like an absentee landlord.
2. Brendan’s dancing was one of the most popular moments in Hollyoaks Later! Did you crack up when you were filming that scene and how much of it was your own moves?
As you know, Emmett kindly offered to take part in a Q&A for the website. Well over 100 questions were submitted and I had to get these down to 10! In most cases I tried to rephrase questions so that I could get as many people’s queries answered. In this case you might not recognise your question as such, but hopefully it’ll make for interesting reading!
Emmett’s work schedule doesn’t give him much time off, as you can imagine, so because we wanted to get the questions posted as soon as possible, he’ll be answering (and I’ll be posting) questions individually when he can.
Q. How long have you known that the abuse Brendan suffered from his dad was sexual as well as physical?
The more complex and vulnerable we made Brendan, the more detached and frightening we made him, the more we needed to understand why. Why can’t Brendan love? Why is he always battling these demons he is so readily seduced by?! We knew it was coming from a dark place…a childhood trauma. To best understand a man we must first look at what made the man. We all sat around and discussed it in detail. From Paul Marquess, to myself and Bronagh, the whole writing team, Emma Smithwick and now Bryan Kirkwood. It was so important to get the back story right, otherwise as an actor you begin playing a lot of your scenes blind and for the most part actors can get away with that, I ain’t good enough to do that, I need to know the truth in order to play it. I’ve known for a while that Brendan was abused physically and sexually and we have hinted at it in the past. Later showed the audience unequivocally that Brendan is still that 8 year old boy, running scared…