InterviewsTelevision

Q&A with Disney Channel’s Nathan Lovejoy who stars in “Gabby Duran and the Unsittables”

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Born in Tasmania, Australia, Nathan graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and is a former basketball player. He is best known for his role as ‘Borkman’ in the Australian comedy series “Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane”, for which he was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Performance in a Television Comedy. Additional acting credits include: “The Good Place”, “The Code”, “Deep Water”, “The Kettering Incident”, “Bombshell”, “Headland”, and “This Is Littleton”.

GABBY DURAN AND THE UNSITTABLES – Disney Channel’s “Gabby Duran and the Unsittables” stars Maxwell Acee Donovan as Wesley, Callan Farris as Jeremy, Nathan Lovejoy as Principal Swift, Kylie Cantrall as Gabby Duran, Coco Christo as Olivia, and Valery Ortiz as Dina. (Disney Channel/Craig Sjodin)

You star in the new Disney Channel series “Gabby Duran and the Unsittables”. What is the series about and who do you play?

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The show is about a middle schooler (Gabby Duran) who is enlisted by her Principal to babysit aliens living on earth. I play Principal Swift (that’s not a typo, his first name is principal!); a shape-shifting alien from the planet Gormonia. He is hiding out on earth with his nephew Jeremy, the rightful heir to the Gormonite Throne. Swift has to prepare Jeremy to become the future Supreme Leader while also keeping a watchful eye over the alien community, not to mention holding down his job as Principal. It’s a lot for one man/alien to handle so he brings on Gabby as his full-time babysitter and confidant. 

The series has already been renewed for a second season. Are you excited to go back into production in Vancouver?

I am excited! It’s a proper winter up there, not like in LA! Last year we were there for six solid months of rain and snow. We’re going back a little later this year so I’m excited to see a little more sunshine eventually. Fingers crossed! We work with a fantastic Canadian crew and everybody knows Canadians are the second greatest people on earth, behind Australians of course! It will great to have the family back together again. 

What was your favorite scene to shoot from season 1?

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There’s a scene coming up in Episode 6 where Swift shows off his prowess on the basketball court. As a former basketball player, it was a dream come true to get to do it on screen. It felt like I was shooting a scene out of Space Jam or White Man Can’t Jump. And let me just say – Swift still got hops!  

What can you tease about the upcoming episodes?

Let’s just say Swift is not very keen to hang around on earth. There’s a date circled in his calendar and he’s counting the days!  

As an actor, what would be your dream role?

This is it in a kind of way. I always wanted the experience of working on a show for a long time and having the opportunity to settle into a character and that’s always more fun if you’re playing comedy. This ticks all those boxes! I also enjoy the challenge of seeing how far you can push something on TV while still keeping it grounded, it’s fun to do something that pushes the limits. That said I’ve had a lot of experience playing drama and more serious stuff and I definitely look forward to doing more of that work in the future. I come from a theater background and this is the longest time I’ve gone without setting foot on a stage. Perhaps I need to pitch Principal Swift the Broadway musical!? Now that would be a dream role! 

What has been your favorite role to do so far?

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I played a character called Borkman in an Australian comedy called Sammy J & Randy in Rickets Lane. He was a vain, deeply inappropriate, incompetent partner at a law firm. It was all pretty crazy and fairly crass and about as far from the Disney Channel as you can get. One of the lead characters was a puppet called Randy. There’s only one season but if you can find it somewhere you should give it a watch. It was high concept, really funny and deserved a second season. Perhaps put the kids to bed first!    

You are from Australia and now live in Los Angeles. What is one thing you miss about Australia?

Probably the beaches. California has great beaches but Australia has amazing beaches. There’s just something about them. I also miss being able to watch AFL football at a reasonable time. Go Bombers! 

Beyond acting, you volunteer for the charity organization AdsUp. Why did you want to get involved?

Ads Up stands for Australian Diaspora Stands Up. It’s a volunteer-led charity run by Australians that offers support to newly arrived refugees that were held in detention on Nauru and Manus Island in the Pacific. They’ve come to the USA under a deal between the Australian and US governments. Initially, my wife Jess and I gave money occasionally, then when the opportunity came up to meet two Iranian refugees who were living in LA I thought why not?! We’ve become great friends and since then I’ve taken on a larger role as a kind of liaison with other new arrivals around the country. I talk to people on the phone, text, email, organize clothing drives, etc. I’ve always objected to Australia’s draconian immigration laws and wanted to do more. This was a great opportunity and something meaningful I could do when I wasn’t working. If anyone wants to learn more they can visit https://www.ads-up.org/


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