Exclusive interview with Ryan Cartwright

Ryan Cartwright is probably best known as Vincent Nigel-Murray, one of the interns at the Jeffersonian Institute, on the hit show "Bones". He also had a recurring role on "Mad Men" and is a regular on the new TV-Show "Alphas". In this interview Ryan gives us an insight into his acting career and about working on the popular shows he's been on.

Foto: Ryan Cartwright - Copyright: Ryan Cartwright
Ryan Cartwright
© Ryan Cartwright

Note: © myFanbase 2011 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first 2 questions or up to 160 characters if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the writer's name and link to this site.

1. You had your first TV-role at the age of fifteen. Back then was it clear to you that you wanted to be an actor?

I always wanted to be in the "movies", literally to begin with, in that I actually wanted to BE "Indiana Jones", or "The Karate Kid", or one of the "Goonies". I later realized that it was actors that did this and quickly decided that that was definitely the life for me. By the age of 15 I was already dead set on my career and had been shooting little movies and devouring all the films I could see. I realize that Iím lucky to have found what I wanted to do so early on.

2. After the end of "The Grimleys" you had a few roles in english TV shows and movies. How did you make the decision to try your luck in the United States? Has this always been a dream of yours?

Moving to the U.S. was always on the horizon. I grew up loving all things American and all the big boys are out here in Los Angeles. Luckily I made a lot of Canadian friends when shooting a TV show in Montreal, and all the Canadians come to Los Angeles for "Pilot Season" so I just came out here with a lot of friends one spring and instantly fell in love with the place.

3. In the States you got the role of the lab assistat Vincent Nigel-Murray in the hit TV series "Bones". Have you watched the show before and how did it feel to join th cast?

I was extremely excited to work on Bones, you really couldnít wish to meet a friendlier bunch of people. Anyone who gets to work on that show comes away jealous of all the regulars.

4. After Vincent's first episode (#4.07 The He in the She) it looked like we never going to see him again. Did you know from the start that he was going to come back and how did you like the progress of becoming a full team member?

No, I always thought it was just one episode. In fact Vincent does actually quit after his first episode, but I guess they liked the character and I just turned back up for work a few weeks later. Bonus for me!

5. Vincent is a popular character who had a lot of great moments at the show. What is your favorite Vincent moment?

I like all the awkward conversations he has with the ladies at the lab and anything Iíd do with T.J. was always a good giggle.

6. In all of Vincent's general knowledge lectures were there ever facts you made a mental note of and found yourself reciting in your personal life?

I think a few of them pop into my head every now and then like an acid flashback.

(The following spoiler contains info on #6.22 The Hole in the Heart. Click "einblenden" to read it.)

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10. There are many characters on tv, which show some kind of an autistic behavior but are not labeled as such, for instance Dr. Brennan. Gary on "Alphas" is clearly autistic and it is an important character trait. What was your and the writers' approach to the subject?

I did extensive research into the specific type of autism that Gary has and later married it to all of my other character notes. It was all about (and still is) finding a consistency with him and making him a real individual and not a template character. Heís his own person and I think everyone has now found Garyís voice and it makes writing for him a joy.

11. For many "Alphas" fans Gary was the breakout character from the first season, which is largely thanks to your performance. Did you have a special feeling with this part, how he evolved through the season, that made him special to you?

He had a nice arc for sure. The whole rites of passage thing for him, which has clearly been delayed and is only now filtering through. Heís still finding his place in the social ladder and amongst his peer group, to whom he was quite antagonistic to begin with, as itís the first time heís ever really been appreciated for his talents, and not pitied.

12. After so many failed attempts to bring a superhero-series to life, "Alphas" feels like the first one in a long time that has the right approach. It deals with the subject in a fun way, but it also has rounded characters and a fascinating mythology. Are you into genre series yourself and if so, what do you think makes "Alphas" special?

I think the grounding of the characters is the most important element here. You can have all the pyrotechnics in the world, but without people you can empathize with itís just futile sound and fury. I personally think what sets it apart is the naturalistic humor, the everyday banter of a workplace which is actually quite hysterical to tune into. I just love finding genuinely funny moments between the characters.

Foto: Ryan Cartwright, Mad Men - Copyright: Carin Baer/AMC
Ryan Cartwright, Mad Men
© Carin Baer/AMC

13. You play the part of John Hooker in "Mad Men" season 3 and you were in some unforgettable scenes like the one with the lawnmower incident. You also had a lot of banter with Joan. What did you like the most?

Once again, "Mad Men" has an extremely dry sense of humor and itís a real pleasure to know that what youíre doing is quite humorous, even when youíre playing a sniveling worm like John Hooker, and yet youíre not abusing a character to get a cheap laugh. When something is written that well the audience comes to you and you donít have to crane your neck to get a reaction. As an actor, you have a lot more work to do with a bad script, and heaven forefend itís a bad comedy script! If itís written well, itís an absolute pleasure.

14. Would you like to return to "Mad Men" and which character would you like to have a storyline with?

I think itís only worth going back to something like that if itís of value to the production as a whole. If youíve done a good job and left a lasting impression, why not move on? Having spouted that, hell yes!

15. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about TV series, do you have a favorite show?

"Curb Your Enthusiasm", "The Larry Sanders Show", "East Bound and Down", "Arrested Development", "The Office (U.K.)", "Alan Partridge", "Garth Marenghi", "Look Around You", "Summer Heights High", "Grand Designs", "Louie".

Eva Klose - myFanbase