Sunday 12 July 2015

Graham Kurtz Chats Neverland

Yes, I know. Am breaking my blog holiday. But I did warn you guys that I might. Well... today I am (and not for the first time this month, I fear). Why, I hear you ask? Because, I have a guest post! I would like to welcome Graham Kurtz to the blog.

Now, for those of you who don't know Graham, he's an actor that has appeared on TV and stage, but most of you will know him as John Darling in the hit web series, The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy (, which is in its second season. (Not heard of the show? There are teaser trailers of both seasons 1 and 2 at the bottom of the post for you to enjoy!)

Not sure how I managed to get Graham to agree to appear on the blog (tweet-begging?), but I am thrilled that he could spare a few moments of his time answering some questions. So, thank you Graham! Before I throw you over to the Q&A, you can check Graham out on Twitter at or you can follow all the Peter and Wendy drama as season 2 unfolds at

Graham, thank you so much for answering some questions for my blog. Before we go any further, could you explain The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy and your character, John Darling, to people who aren’t aware of the show?
The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is a modern day adaption of J. M. Barrie’s classic, PETER PAN, that has been shot in a “vlog-style” format and is released in brief, 5-minute episodes (or thereabouts). The “camera” through which the audience witnesses the action is either on a computer (character vlogs), security footage (as per season 2), or Tinkerbelle’s first-person (first-fairy, rather) POV. John is the uptight, OCD middle child of the Darling family who works at the family newspaper, The Kensington Chronicle, with his father.

Could you tell us how you got the role of John Darling?
I submitted my headshot/resume/reels via the breakdown Jenni [Powell - Producer and Casting Director] released on I was invited to audition. I went in and made them laugh. Then they invited a couple of us to read with the other characters at the final callback. Then I went home and Kyle [Walters - Creator and actor playing Peter Pan] called me the following week to offer me the role. It was all very straightforward.

Because Peter Pan is such a well-loved story, did you feel any pressure on portray John loyally, but make him your own character, different from other interpretation?
I felt no pressure. I took the information given to me in Shawn’s [deLoache - Creator] script and coupled it with the prior knowledge I have of John and the Peter Pan canon. All that created a very specific vision in my head. Once we got on set, Matthew [Breault - Director] gave us very helpful, specific direction to fill in the final touches of the characters.

Were you surprised by how popular the first season of Peter and Wendy was? And were you just as surprised when the show decided to crowd-fund the second season, and hit its target amount?
I was not surprised. Jenni has a loyal fan base from her previous work and it made sense to me that they would want to see her next project. As for the crowd-funding, I knew our team was very committed to getting the story told and our fans are very ready to watch. Our creative team does all the leg work. I retweeted and showed up when I was requested.

You have acted on TV and on stage. What was it like to go from working on a “traditional” medium to a “new” medium of a web series?
The shooting schedule was very tight and we flew through the pages. I would compare it to that of a micro budget feature film. The main difference lies in the manner the content is released. While one could easily watch the first two seasons in a single sitting, releasing the project in 5-minute increments allows us to interact with our audience almost in realtime via transmedia (twitter/facebook/etc).

In the first season, John is very much a character that bought light relief, compared to the storylines of Peter and Wendy’s relationship and Tink’s plan to destroy it. But now, in season two, John has two meatier storylines of John’s work stress and catching the eye of Smee? Has these been challenging to film or did you thrive with these storylines?
They were challenging to film, but very welcome. It was juicier subject matter on a tighter schedule. Jim Beaver was with us very briefly, so we had to shoot all of our scenes with minimal time between shots. I also had that shirtless scene you saw in the preview the same day, so I annihilated the craft services table once we wrapped. Satya [Bhabha - actor playing John Smee] and I were given time to rehearse before the shoot began, so everything was wonderfully mapped out by the time we got to our scenes.

Speaking of a possible love interest with Smee, we saw in the season 2 trailer you being shirtless. How did you feel when you read this in the script and what did you do to prepare?
Like I said, I didn’t eat much until after it was shot (only for that one shoot day, as I normally eat constantly). Once we saw the response from my shirtless scene in the first season, we all knew it was happening again. The ultimate goal is humor, but I’m also a vain creature, so I made sure I put effort into the appearance. I take lots of yoga, which I am convinced was a huge factor in me book- ing this role. Not only does it give me physical definition, but it improves my mental focus and clari- ty. I also take pilates (I am a certified mat pilates instructor), so that helps with the abs.

Why do you think web series as a whole (such as New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, as well as others such as Lizzie Bennett Diaries, Emma Approved and Night School: The Web Series) are so popular?
They are immediately accessible and can be watched on pretty much any device with video capa- bilities. They can also be watched in very short increments or “binged.” There is a better flexibility for the viewer, especially for younger generations who don’t like being tethered to subscription- based programming. All they need is internet access. The series you mention are also based on very successful literature, so there is also a built-in audience.

Without giving away spoilers to the rest of season 2 and, hopefully, season 3what would you like to see happen to John and the other characters? Are there any storylines you wish to explore further?
Shawn has provided such thorough arcs for all the characters throughout the seasons that any character exploration I would like to see was either covered during our shoot, or at least hinted at for future possibilities. I’m being coy because I don’t want to give anything away (which I am prone to do). 

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