Aussie Julian McMahon is having the time of his life, from the hit TV series Nip/Tuck to the new Fantastic Four, and now in the twist-and-turn romantic thriller Premonition, opposite Sandra Bullock. It seems that even though he missed out on 007, McMahon is a hot property in tinsel town. He talked exclusively to Paul Fischer.
Question: So when you’re looking for something outside of Nip/Tuck what was it about Premonition that drew your attention?
McMahon: Well the first thing that drew my attention was that Sandra Bullock was doing it. And then I read the script and I was interested in the script and then I saw director Mennan Yapo’s first movie, a German film which I thought that was pretty extraordinary.
Question: What are the challenges of getting into a character like this and trying to make him a little bit more interesting than I would imagine would have been on the initial page?
McMahon: Well I think it depends on what you find out in the scripts, you know what I mean? And what kind of appeals to you in the script and I remember reading the script and feeling quite emotional and kind of touched by the whole story, you know what I mean? I wasn’t kind of prepared for that, particularly when they said to me, it’s a psychological thriller or whatever. So for me it was about really, it pertained to family, it pertained to relationships and it pertained to, you know, miscommunication, the inability to communicate and, you know, love and hope and loss and fear always evokes feelings, and so it actually became a lot larger than just this guy that it was on the page, the character’s kind of love story between these two people who haven’t communicated for a number of years and really were both very lost.
Question: Would you find it easy to identify with him?
McMahon: I could definitely identify with him. I mean not in exactly the same kind of circumstances, but definitely.
Question: In what sense? What was your connection with him do you think?
McMahon: Well I found myself in places sometimes and I could be, personally or professionally, where things have been going along for two years and you stop and go ‘How the hell did I get here’, you know and ‘Who is this person that I’m with or working with or whatever’ you know, or ‘Why did I make this choice’ or ‘I made this choice and I thought it was going to be one thing and now it’s not’ and I haven’t really spoken up about it for a long period of time and, you know, I think we’ve all done that kind of stuff in some periods in our lives.
Question: Is doing a film like that a release for you? I mean you’ve got two very distinctive movies coming out this year, so is it kind of a release for you to sort of go from a special effects laden big blockbuster movie to something more intimate and character driven as this one is?
McMahon: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, the Fantastic Four movie, we all know what it is. It’s about the comic book. It’s about the graphics and about those big kind of action sequence things. And that’s kind of a bigger role in the movie, you know what I mean? And so this kind of movie, the Premonition type movie is much more intimate and personal and thoughtful. They were both fun to do, but it’s definitely fun and exciting to get a break from one and do the other.
Question: When you were growing up the son of a politician and all of that kind of stuff in Sydney, did you ever imagine that this is where you would end up in your life?
McMahon: God no. At that period of time? No way. I couldn’t imagine this would be where I would end up until, you know – I didn’t even want it to be this way until ten years ago. The concept of where I am now is so far from my mind when I was a kid that I never could have conceived this.
Question: What kind of aspirations did you have when you were a kid?
McMahon: I was just a kid. I had aspirations to, you know, play rugby, be an army cadet and date girls and hang out with my buddies. You know, I didn’t grow up one of these kids who was like, ‘I want to be a scientist’ or ‘I want to be a …’ I had my childish things of like wanting to be like, I wanted to in the army at some point in time or to be a fireman. Those kind of things. But those are kind of immature and ridiculous.
Question: You’ve been away from Australia for a while. Do you still feel Australian? Is there anything particularly Australian that is still within you?
McMahon: I think my soul is Australian. I don’t think you can ever take that away. I mean, you can be away from the country that you’re born in and raised in for a long time but still you’re soul is well grounded in that kind of culture and that kind of place I think. I feel like I’m Australian on the inside and American on the outside or something. I would never want to leave it behind either. I love Australians, Australianisms, I love my part of being Australian. I love where I grew up and how I grew up and, you know, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Question: Did you expect Nip/Tuck to be what it is going into it?
McMahon: No, I didn’t really expect it. I thought it had the possibility to and I definitely thought that it was a great piece but I didn’t know that it was going to be what it became. I didn’t know that people would like it. I knew that I liked it and I knew that I was certainly attracted to the character and I was attracted to the whole piece. I would have done anything in that piece.
Question: Has Troy grown do you think during the last several seasons?
McMahon: Oh God I hope so. You’d hope that he’s grown but at the same time I would like to maintain that original part of the character that he always was.
Question: How much longer do you anticipate the show going on for? What would your ideal timeline be?
McMahon: You know I’m not really too sure about that. I have two more years left on my contract and I would have to evaluate things then but, I don’t know. I mean it’s certainly a great character to play and it’s a great show to be part of.
Question: What about Fantastic Four? How much of that character is the same as he was in the original and how different do you see the sequel being?
McMahon: How different do I see the sequel being? Well firstly the character is just, you know, in the first movie it was all about setting up the characters, you know, and kind of evolving the relationships between the people and where the powers were given to all of them and all that kind of stuff and this movie kind of picks up at the end of the last one. And that is, you’ve got the Fantastic Four who have realised that they have these kind of super powers and try to lead normal lives at the same time and then you’ve got Dr Doom who’s been kind of locked up in a casket and shipped to Latveria and he’s pretty pissed off. So that’s kind of where the movie starts and then it kind of continues on that vein.
Anderson: Is it fun being the bad guy?
McMahon: Yeah it’s fun.
Question: Are you signed up for a third one or do you think this is basically Dr Doom’s swansong now?
McMahon: I have another one in my contract, also applicable to the fact of whether they think it works or whether they want him back and all that kind of stuff so it just depends on how this next movie goes I guess. My contract is a little bit different to everybody else’s in the fact that my third one is I get to do Fantastic Four or just another movie for Fox. So time will tell and we’ll see what happens with that one.
Question: And what else is going on? You’re about to start shooting the next season in a couple of months, right?
McMahon: Yeah, when is it? June. We start June.
Question: Right, so beyond that, what plans do you have. What else is going on beyond Nip/Tuck? Do you have any idea yet?
McMahon: No, you know what? I’ve taken the last few months off. I finished Fantastic Four a couple of days before Christmas and have just taken off since then just because I needed a break because I hadn’t had one for a long time. And I literally don’t even know what’s out there. So I’m just going to get back into things in the next few weeks, once I’ve finished the publicity for Premonition and see if there’s anything I want to do before I go back.
Question: And finally, any major aspirations that you have beyond acting?
McMahon: Not at this point in time I think. I’m just enjoying what I’m doing.