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Interview with Matthew Nable (Ra’s al Ghul) at GMX

Saturday at the Geek Media Expo in Nashville, TN, Matthew Nable sat down with the press. The conversation was wide ranging and covered an almost surreal level of topics. Mr. Nable has written numerous novels and says that is his real passion, yet where he had seen his greatest amount of success is as an actor. He has numerous roles on Australian TV and was in the 2013 film Riddick. However it is his role as Ra’s al Ghul that brought him to my attention. Arrow season 3 was hit-and-miss, seemingly unable to pick a direction it wanted to move towards, but Ra’s was a very bright spot in it. The cold calculation he brought to small screen showed an actor with real chops and someone to watch in the future.

When asked about filming Arrow he had nothing but nice things to say. In particular he seemed to really bond with  Katie Cassidy and Katrina Law. His favorite scene to film was the mid-season fight with Green Arrow (Stephen Amell). Apparently Mr. Nable was a bit intimidated by Mr. Amell who is 6’2 and every inch of him appears to be covered in muscle, but they got to swing swords around on a cold mountain bare chested and have a grand time. Mr. Nable was also very impressed by his stunt double Tim Connolly. Stephen Amell does his own stunts, which made him much more impressive to me. Some of that is extremely strenuous and dangerous. According to IMDB, Mr. Nable will appear in one episode of Legends of Tomorrow. When asked about future appearances he was very coy, and refused to give clear answers. He would only say that he “would love to come back” and that “Damien Darhk and Ra’s is a rich story.” It would be easy to read between the lines on this one, but I couldn’t get him to confirm or deny anything.

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The conversation grew a bit more playful as it went on. When asked about his favorite heroes and villains he gave a surprising answer. He wasn’t a big fan of Inglorious Bastards but thought Christoph Waltz was amazing and was the first name mentioned in his favorite villains. One answer that surprised me though was when it got to heroes. His reply was Andy Dufresne ( played by Tim Robbins) in Shawshank Redemption. He seemed to really identify with him and loved the movie. One thing I learned about Mr. Nable was that he has great taste. He even said Superman 2 was one of his favorite movies, though I will forgive him for love of Micheal Keaton’s Batman.

Mr. Nable’s has had an unlikely career trajectory. He played professional rugby for five years before getting in boxing and later shifting into being a beer salesman and writer. He made the decision to focus on his writing for a full year and it worked. He wrote a novel that was turned into a screenplay called The Final Winter and from there it launched his acting career. The interesting thing about Mr. Nable is that acting isn’t his real passion. his real passion is for writing. To him, actors and simply “talented liars.” Acting, to him, is almost a fraud while writing feels honest. It was a surprising thing to hear from an actor whose career trajectory is clearly going up. He wants to be a contemporary writer, focusing on real, if not sometimes extremely dark, problems.

The conversation took an interesting turn though, and right at the beginning. When asked about a charity he was passionate about he mentioned the Black Dog Institute, a charity that deals with mental illness. He went on to talk about his own burdens with mental illness. He was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and for years would go though real highs and lows. He didn’t know what was going on, or that anything was wrong with him. According to him, he is a melancholic depressive, and it runs in his family. It was an incredibly honest moment and one I did not expect at all. He said he wants to be very open about his own mental illness to give others the courage to do so. He spoke about how he is a tough guy and wanted other tough guys to know it was okay to be open. He spoke about the mental health crisis in Australia and about how middle aged men are killing themselves in higher numbers. It forced me to think about what is going on in my own country. It took a lot of courage to speak about it, and he has clearly had plenty of practice at it.

All in all I found Mr. Nable to be a thoughtful and very professional individual. He walked in for the interview at exactly 11’oclock. Something I personally precipitated. I look forward to his work in the future!

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