The last time Gareth David-Lloyd was in Australia, we wound up at a metal dive bar in Adelaide’s west end. Over that weekend I was introduced to Gareth the musician as much as I was Gareth the actor, as his band Blue Gillespie were putting on a special show at the end of Supanova’s Adelaide tour back in 2012. Fast forward to April 2016 and the Torchwood favourite is back in the country, this time visiting fans at Supanova events in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast. Considering the amount of time that had passed in between drinks, I was stoked to be able to link up with the Welsh native to see what’s been up.
The short answer? A lot.
With the band on hiatus, David-Lloyd’s been throwing himself into theatre and film work, recently completing projects in the US, not to mention a recent stint as Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof alongside Doctor Who alum Catrin Stewart. His return to theatre was one David-Lloyd had been yearning for and an opportunity he couldn’t pass up when the jobs came calling.
“It’s been quite a diverse couple of years for me,” he says. “All for the better, I think. As an actor, you go with what is there, but I have been really lucky in the sense that I have been missing it [theatre]. I was gagging for some real theatre work and then I got 12 Angry Men, which is on the West End. I got to practice my New York, white collar American accent! I did an immersive theatre project straight after that call The Stick House, which is a new piece of writing; a dark, adult, gothic fairytale. We did that in the old underground vaults beneath Bristol Temple Meads Train Station, these big Victorian vaults which were atmospheric and it was a new experience for me. Now, I’ve got Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which has been great!”
A strong supporter of independent art and indeed, Welsh productions, David-Lloyd takes us through his recent movie projects; one which saw him enter an isolated frame of mind and the other that brought him back home to Wales.
“One is called I Am Alone, which on the festival circuit at the moment,” he explains. “It’s a zombie movie and we shot that in Colorado, which was really fun. The other is called Dark Signal, which is out in May, a Neil Marshall production. It’s one of three horror movies that have been re-shot in Wales in by the same production company; it’s putting Wales on the map.”
“It was amazing, shooting a lot of that stuff on my own,” he says of the process behind I Am Alone. “The crew would disappear behind trees or they’d go a quarter of a mile away just so they could get a nice panoramic shot of anyone in the scene; I did feel very alone, it was just so vast, that landscape. The character himself does actually go stir crazy; being in the situation and having that environment to play off was a great help, for those scenes.”
The film, funded partly by a Kickstarter campaign, has been praised already and has generated strong support online in a manner only successful crowdfunding campaigns can really evoke. David-Lloyd describes the enabling effect concepts such as Kickstarter has given to artists in providing platforms for independently written and backed stories to reach an audience, even if their final reach is short-range.
“With Kickstarter and things like that, people are finding more ways to do it.” He agrees. “If they want to make a movie, if they want to tell a story, or if they want to put an album together, they can do it a lot easier now. All they have to do is put in the work and they can do it whereas before, you’d put in a lot of hard work and artists would just keep hitting roadblocks, professional roadblocks, because doors were closed and the industry had its select people who were allowed to make things.”
“I think what crowdfunding has done, is just enable artists to at least have a go and make something, keep something, and sit back and learn. Even if it’s not a brilliant piece of work, at least those artists can sit back and look at it and know what they’re capable of. They’ll know how to improve, which I think is great. It’s made the world of art and music and movies broader.”
“I know there has to be some quality control,” he admits, laughing. “I think there is quality control but at least people who are creatively minded feel like they’ve got more of a chance to actually do something or complete something.”
Bringing the focus back to his Australian trip which, this year, has reunited him with Torchwood co-stars Naoko Mori and Burn Gorman, David-Lloyd has been excited to return to Australia (this time bringing his family) and catch up with cast mates in this little unique convention bubble.
“I’ve been catching up with Eve [Myles] quite a lot in America.” He admits. “The Torchwood-specific event that was held, I think it’ll be three years now in April since, that was the only event that a large number of the team got back together for. I see the others individually from time to time, that’s great. It’s one thing I’m really grateful to the conventions for. The chances of us doing the same show or the same piece work are so much more remote than the conventions, so they’ve enabled us to stay friends and catch up.”
“I always make room for Australia,” David-Lloyd enthuses. “I always have a really good time – I’ve brought the whole family out this time as well, I couldn’t wait for it! Supanova are so good at making a work trip a holiday; no other convention manages quite as well as their team. We’re always looked after so well that going to work never feels like going to work.”
Supanova hits the Melbourne Showgrounds this weekend, April 15th – 17th. Check out our interviews with Torchwood guests Naoko Mori here and Burn Gorman here! For more information about Supanova, head on over to their website.