Nick Blood on Close to Me
The British actor talks dream roles and guilty pleasures
Nick Blood is best known for his role in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this autumn we get to see him in a new light. He’s starring in Channel 4’s new six-part drama Close To Me, based on the novel of the same name by Amanda Reynolds. It follows Jo Harding (played by Connie Nielsen) as she tries to piece her life back together after an accident leaves her with amnesia – with Nick playing Thomas, Jo’s daughter’s controversial boyfriend. It’s been a busy couple of years for Nick, with a new series of Euphoria on the way next year, in which he plays Gus.
Q&A with Nick Blood
What can you tell us about Close To Me?
A woman wakes up with a head injury and no memory of the past year. She knows things are being kept from her so she turns domestic detective and the audience will accompany her on a journey as she starts to piece together what’s happened.
Any funny stories from filming?
I think my first day on set was the scene where I answer the door in nothing but my boxers, smoking a roll up – which happened to be shot on location in Hastings on a street with a pub right next door. So of course there were a bunch of bystanders with camera phones taking full advantage of the view. There was also the time when one of the make up artists thought my actual tattoo was a fake one (my character has an array of bad tattoos that had to be stuck on every day) and started to try and scrub it off.
Favourite person on the set of Close To Me and why?
I can’t pick favourites. That’s just not fair! If I was pushed I’d have to say Declan who was a production assistant – he was really sound and very good at his job. I’ve no doubt he’ll go far. Plus he was roped in to being my hand double for some insert shots I wasn’t around for so I’m grateful for that. I did really enjoy hanging out with Rosy (McEwan) who plays Sash too. She’s good craic and very intelligent which makes for an interesting conversation to pass the time on set. And I loved working with Chris (Christopher Eccleston) – we had some good chats and it was great to watch him work. He’s a very generous actor and I learned a lot.
Favourite role to date and why?
I really loved doing Babylon and had a great role in Warwick. But the most fun is usually the roles that are more extreme characters, regardless of the size of the role or project, like Dave Famous in Spike Island. That was great craic, acting like a clown in a big blue shell suit. Thomas in Close To Me afforded me to have a lot of fun too – just winding up Chris’ character and being fairly obnoxious.
Role you’d cut your right arm off to get?
It’s probably more about who I’d get to work with. A Cohen Brothers film maybe? But I do like having two arms so I’ll probably just try my luck with auditioning instead.
What demands do you have on set?
Absolutely none. Actors are spoiled enough as it is – we don’t need any more special treatment.
Director you’d most like to work with and why?
Shane Meadows. He rarely makes anything that isn’t brilliant and I’d love to have the license he gives you to improvise.
What qualities do you think have made you successful?
I’m fairly determined, I’m willing to work hard and I really care about what I do.
Film you think everyone in the world should see?
What’s your relationship with social media like?
I try to avoid it. I have an Instagram account but I rarely post on it.
What did you want to be when you were a little boy?
Three books you’d take to a desert island and why?
A book on how to survive on a desert island. A book on how to build a sea-worthy raft. And War and Peace – not because it’s my favourite book, I’ve never read it – but it’s really long and it would keep me occupied.
The most challenging moment of your life?
My dad’s death. It was an awful thing to experience and it still hurts ten years on. The pain doesn’t go away, you just learn to live with it.
How can we all live a little bit better?
By embracing doubt. People are so dogmatic in their opinions – social media has to take some blame there. But if we remain curious, there’s always room to learn.
What’s your interior design style?
When it comes to furniture I love mid-century modern. I like to keep things neat and tidy so I guess I’d lean toward a minimalist approach with some bright art pieces thrown in to spice it up. My girlfriend is really good at that stuff so I let her take the lead when it comes to decor.
Are you conscious of what you put in your body?
I eat pretty healthily and don’t eat any meat at all – but I’m not averse to an evening spent stuffing my face with junk food.
What are your indulgences?
Ice cream: salted caramel or anything with peanut butter in the mix. I’ll eat a whole tub and then feel very guilty about it.
How do you relax?
I don’t relax very often. I find it really hard to switch off and do nothing. But I love being by the water – give me a beach or a swimming pool and I’ll forget the list of things I’ve given myself to complete that day.
If we’re coming to your area for a visit, what should we do?
Come to my house, I’ll make tacos and get the beers flowing and then I’ll take over the sound system and we can dance to The Smiths.
Are you a rule breaker or a rule taker?
Imagery by Michael Shelford
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