Tell us about Nathan Miller and Season Two?
Nathan Miller is a very interesting guy. He’s a ‘fixer’ for the deep state. He comes from a CIA background and has spent his entire career in counterintelligence. Those skills are very useful to people who are trying to manipulate, or move the chess pieces around the board in order to get what they need. Nathan Miller is a very important tool for the deep state.
Do you think Nathan Miller is a good guy or a bad guy?
I think that Nathan Miller is a person who believes that he’s doing the right thing. I think that he is a man who believes in country, and that his country should come first. I think there are a lot of people that work in the shadows of governments that have the same outlook as he does. Nathan Miller is a person who protects our interests even though, at times, it is at the expense of our liberal values and that’s a very complicated place to be in the world. He’s also a loving father and husband. He loves his family as much as he loves his country but sometimes he is asked to do things in his work that are at great odds with who he sees himself to be in his personal life.
Do the two worlds get a little bit blurry for Nathan?
Yes. Nathan Miller is a person that can bring down kings but has a hard time keeping his marriage together. These are very powerful people that move in shadow economies and shadow politics, trying to protect the interest of their country and their constituents. Sometimes their constituents come before country, but in the head of Nathan Miller, I think that there are moments where those interests align.
Is he a bad guy? It depends on who you ask. It depends on who benefits from the decisions that he makes, and the actions that he takes. The way that Matthew Parkhill, our creator, has constructed this story, nothing and no one is black and white.
Do you and your character, Nathan Miller, have things in common?
We both like nice suits. Walton Goggins and Nathan Miller both like to dress up. He has a style. It’s not my style, but it’s pretty close. I understand him. I understand his level of pain, and his joys and sorrows, his victories and defeats.
You’re playing two different timelines which forces the audience to really pay attention. How do you, as an actor, keep those two storylines clear in your own head?
You just have to read and reread the script every day before you come to work to really understand where you are. It’s so exciting but you have to keep on your toes!
Tell us about the collaboration you have with Matthew Parkhill?
I’m always asking questions, poking holes, so I can better understand what Matthew wants and what is right for the character. I’m saying to myself on a moment to moment basis, what are we saying right now? What do we want the audience to feel? What note are we playing?
There were a number of books that Matthew turned me on to when I took this job. One was called ‘The Way of the Knife,’ and another was called ‘The Looting Machine,’ about the pillaging of minerals in Africa. I didn’t know what had been going on in this region of Africa since World War II. I didn’t truly understand that, but now I do thanks to Matthew. Matthew has woven a tale that explores all of it.
What’s it like being both the star and an executive producer on the show?
I take both positions, executive producer and leading actor, very seriously. One moment you’re behind the camera, and then the next you’re in front of the camera. As an executive producer, I’m constantly thinking, how can I help the other producers and department heads? How can I make their jobs easier? You also want the crew to feel like they’re making something worthy of their time. I think that’s only achievable if you, as an actor or as an executive producer, sincerely believe that for yourself.
This crew has all worked together before on the first season, and you’ve come in at the beginning of the second season. What was that like? What’s your experience been like with this crew?
It’s so intimidating and daunting to step into a machine that has already made one full revolution, and also to be the only American in the bunch. The Brits are amazing actors, and so you don’t want to be the one to drop the ball. All I could do was to be as well prepared as possible. Also, everybody has opened their arms and invited me in. It’s been wonderful being invited into this close knit family. Mark Strong was the lead in season one, and I’ve been a fan of Mark’s for such a long time. He’s such a good actor and to try to fill his shoes would be foolish. So I say to myself, well, okay, I’m not Mark Strong but I’m Walton Goggins, and it is going to be by its very nature, different. I wanted to see what it would be like with an American in this situation. We see the world a certain way, and sometimes that’s very similar to a European aesthetic, and sometimes it is quite different! The four things that attracted me to this show were the writing by Mr Parkhill, the photography, the actors, and last but not least, South Africa. It is one of my favourite countries on the planet. I just fell in love with the place and its people. It’s also got some of the best crews working in the business. That’s why people are coming here to tell their stories.
Are you politically aware, politically concerned or politically active? Where are you in that spectrum and has it changed at all since you started working on the show?
I’m politically aware; I’m politically concerned; I’m politically active, but I don’t speak about politics publicly. I try to express what I feel about the world through my work, and through the choices that I make when I’m given those opportunities. However I’m not, by nature, a conspiracy theorist. I do think that we are living in very dangerous times, and the world is going through a change that we’re all trying to figure out.
Do you believe there is a deep state?
I personally vacillate between believing in the deep state and not believing in the deep state. I don’t think that there is a boardroom of four or five people that control the world, but maybe there’s a group of a 1,000 people that are able, by how big their corporations are, through lobbyists, sway policy.
DEEP STATE 2 will broadcast on FOX Africa on Wednesdays at 20:45 CAT, from 15 May.