Antony Starr on his 'dark' American Gothic character and returning to NZ

The Kiwi actor gets candid about his mysterious role on the American drama series.

By Keren Sim
Antony Starr on American Gothic

As Garrett Hawthorne, the mysterious eldest son of a prominent Boston family in murder mystery series American Gothic, Kiwi actor Antony Starr keeps viewers guessing throughout the story's many twists and turns.

Set 14 years after a murderer dubbed the 'Silver Bells Killer' terrorised the city, the show picks up as new evidence implicates the Hawthornes in the grisly crimes. As secrets from the past slowly come to light, the family are thrown into chaos as the race to find the real killer continues.

We sat down with Antony to talk through his role as the "family weirdo", his famous co-stars and his love for New Zealand.

The actor plays eldest son Garrett in the series.
The actor plays eldest son Garrett in the series.

What drew you to the role of Garrett?

I was drawn to the role of Garrett because of the deep sense of trouble he carries with him. I like dark characters and thought the opportunity to be the family weirdo would be fun - and the idea of doing a mystery/whodunnit was very appealing, as I haven't really done that before.

Garrett is quite a mysterious character - we're never quite sure of his motives. How did this affect your approach to playing the character?

Garrett always has something going on, always has a private agenda, but never reveals what it is. The show is a whodunnit and Garrett's a prime suspect. That made it tricky at times to find the balance between keeping the character's point of view real while serving the show's need for mystery, suspense and tension.

What is going on on the surface is seldom what's going on underneath, and it was important to reveal the truth carefully and over the course of the show.

What was the experience of filming American Gothic like? How did it compare to your previous projects?

The filming experience was great fun. Mainly because the cast was great and a lot of fun to hang out and work with. We had a great time and Toronto provided a lot of opportunity to get out and enjoy ourselves. It’s a great town, and being there made the experience better than some other places I've worked in the past...not mentioning any names! Canadians and New Zealanders share a similar outlook and have many values in common and they made me feel right at home. It was a great job.

How did the cast bond during filming, and what was it like getting to act opposite Virginia Madsen and Jamey Sheridan?

Virginia Madsen is a great actor and fun person to be on and off set with. We had a lot of scenes together so I felt very fortunate. But to be honest the whole cast was fun and we had a great time.

What's next on the cards for you? Are there any plans to return for projects in New Zealand or Australia?

I am definitely planning to work in NZ again when the right project comes along. I love New Zealand and if I could work there for a while I would love to. It’s all about the material and timing around things over in the States.

American Gothic premieres Tuesday 22 August on SKY Box Sets.