Steven Waddington is an English actor best known for his roles in movies such as SLEEPY HOLLOW, THE IMITATION GAME and the critically acclaimed BRIDGEND. He plays Colonel Randal Aiken in the web-series HALO: NIGHTFALL. We caught up with him to find out more about his work with HALO…
STARBURST: Tell us about Halo: Nightfall
Steven Waddington: Halo: Nightfall was a very exciting project. We went to LA to do the launch quite recently. For me, it’s first time I’ve done a live action sci-fi film and I’m a fan of any genre provided that the story is strong. With this, I found it was. I had a very interesting character and so was the story. All of the characters have very strong motivations to stay alive, and those motivations clash with each other. That makes for great drama and that’s what attracted me to the project. We were shooting in Iceland, which is an extraordinary place; some amazing vistas. We’re supposed to be on the hottest planet in the universe and it actually rained. That’s where CGI comes in.
Are you familiar with the world of Halo: Nightfall?
Not at all. I’d heard of Halo but I’d never played it. It was completely new horizon for me. When I got the script, myself and my agent assumed it was a feature film, especially as it came from Ridley Scott’s camp. With new media changing so quickly I’d never done anything that had been shown online before. That was first for me.
You tend to do very physical roles, is that what drew you to this project?
I guess that’s sort of happened to me, rather than me searching those roles out. The appeal of this character is ‘yes, he’s a soldier and a Spartan, but he also has this back story and personal tragedy that propels him into action’. I think it’s that which makes him think he hasn’t that much to live for, so the emotional impact pushes him on. That motivation intrigued me as an actor.
How did you prepare for the role of a Spartan?
It’s our job, suspension of disbelief. It helps when you’re standing on a glacier in Iceland and it does look like a different planet; there’s something lunar about that landscape. All those things help the imagination, the building of the characters and the team work. When we went into a cave we really went into a cave. When we were running away they were people chasing us. With the CGI and things that’s really suspension of disbelief; that’s all down to acting. The people on the other side of the camera can give you drawings and ideas as to what is chasing you. All of that lets you build a structure in your own psyche.
How different was Halo from your previous sci-fi work on Ultramarines the Movie?
They’re very different. It did remind me of Ultramarines, but with that we were in a studio. At the end of the day, even though we did some motion capture for the animation, it was all in the voice. With Halo, it was easier to imagine everything because you were in this extraordinary place with the full equipment. The physicality really makes a difference.
What is your ideal project?
I’m interested in any genre, providing the writing is strong. What they cracked about this one was that they gave everyone such a strong motivation. You were never sure how it was going to end. From an actor’s point of view that makes it interesting. We started in Northern Ireland and we were lucky enough to have the writer there. The director was very thorough and as well as reading the script round the table and there was a bit of a boot camp. When we started, we felt we were well versed in this world we were trying create.
What would be your dream project be?
Anything with Scarlett Johansson in it! I’m drawn to dramatic roles. If you can play the central character then that’s a good challenge. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve played a whole range of characters, I’ve been very lucky in that way. I want to be in a challenging role; it’s all about the character for me.
The props and armour look quite complex; were they difficult to work with?
The thing about those props is they become quite tiresome quite quickly. The first time we tried on the armour we were all like kids in a candy shop. After a couple of weeks of that it becomes very cumbersome and you have someone coming round to fix the lights and the wires because they don’t always work properly. Those sort of things are brilliant in the first week but after a while you become a bit fed up with carrying those heavy guns around. It was heavy enough to make you feel like you were in it; those things can help you in role.
What advice do you have for young actors?
Never give up. Just keep trying.
HALO: NIGHTFALL is available on digitally (download and VOD) internationally now.