CHRIS GEERE (A.K.A MATT WILDING) INTERVIEW
CONDUCTED: Tuesday 11th March 2008
Waterloo Road Fans, another Waterloo Road fansite which can be visited here (www.waterlooroadtv.co.uk), was delighted to interview Chris Geere who plays the character of Matt Wilding in Waterloo Road!! We would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for taking the time out for the interview and Waterloo Road Fans for allowing us to use this, we have transcribed it as accurately as possible for everyone to read below!!
Waterloo Road Fans: Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time out to speak to us this evening. Our first question is releated to the auditioning process of Waterloo Road, how did you get the part of Matt Wilding, and how did the audition work?
Chris Geere: I already knew Margaret Crawford who is the casting director of Shed Productions, who produce Waterloo Road, from a TV series that I did called Bombshell which unfortunately never got televised. I think it never got televised due it being ready around the same time as Ultimate Force was. But anyway I knew Shed from this, and so I was contacted for the initial audtion. I did a read through, and was then contacted for a second audtion. Six weeks later I was told I was through to the third round of auditions, meaning I was one of two people left. I was surprised as I already thought I had lost the role to somebody else. I went and read again, this time with Denise Welsh who plays Steph Haydock in the show, and it went really well. I eventually got a call just 48 hours before we were due to start filming saying I had got the part!! This was quite a nerve racking experience as I had to get up from London to Rochdale within the 48 hours to start filming! But I got there, and saw Denise and she was happy that I had got the part, and from that point forward we were best mates!! Auditioning is a horrible process!!
Waterloo Road Fans: Have you always wanted to be an actor?
Chris Geere: Well, I initially went to college to study graphic design, and I wanted to go on to do a graphic design course at University. However, my school teacher told me that I should try out for the school production, of a Midsummers Night Dream - Lysander. I gave it a crack and it went well, so I went to college and did performing arts. Following on from this I decided to audition for drama school, and out of 3000 auditionees managed to get a place. I enjoyed actiing so much and knew I wanted to pursue it, the drama school I went to was the Guildford School of Acting. I have been very lucky!
Waterloo Road Fans: If you could play one role past or present what would it be and why?
Chris Geere: Definitly Adam from Spooks!! He has the coolest part ever, and is as close as you can get to James Bond!! I have an aim to be James Bond by 2018, everyone wants to be James Bond!
Waterloo Road Fans: Well if the worst happens you can always kill off Daniel Craig!
Chris Geere: Daniel Craig is flying the flag for the blonde James Bond!
Waterloo Road Fans: Was there anything that attracted you to Matt's character in Waterloo Road?
Chris Geere: Well I went to the audition with the strict idea that I did not want to make him camp. The issue with Matt was not about sexuality, the character was more important, and it needed to be developed over the 20 episodes. The focus is far more on the kids themselves and getting the best out of them. It was not important for me to demonstrate sexuality, especially as it is now far more accepted for a teacher to be gay. I really just wanted Matt to be a nice guy who was respected by people. I was given the freedom to do what I wanted with the character and I am not a huge fan of actors who demonstrate a gay character as heavily camp and at the same time I do not like straight people that are overly straight acting. We get the freedom to change the scripts, if we believe it will enhance our own character and as I mentioned I just wanted him to be a nice guy. I wanted to treat the problems he faced for example the HIV storyline and the bullying with a certain amount of sensitivity.
Waterloo Road Fans: Are there any storylines thatn you have been directly involved in that you've found particularly interesting/challenging so far?
Chris Geere: Episode 10, the musical episode was weird because there were re-writes happening all over the place, up to 20 minutes before they had to be filmed, due to areas not being appropriate or storylines were dragging out to much. For example Matt's nervous breakdown in the cupboard was originally because there was a lot of weight on the fact that a producer was coming to see the show. When they changed it and edited it there was not a huge focus on the film producer, and so I had to change my performance at the last minute. Script changes tend to happen a lot so you can't really solidify your ideas beforehand. I took it that the focus was on the kids rather than the teachers, the issue was with the musical not Matt.
Waterloo Road Fans: Do you have a favourite storyline from the whole series?
Chris Geere: Well with Eddie and Tom they have some great storylines going on throughout, but what I like about Matt is his storylines are more specific and focused on in specific episodes. For example, the HIV storyline in Episode 4.
Waterloo Road Fans: Is there any specific scene or episode that you feel went particularly well and are proud to be apart of?
Chris Geere: I really enjoyed working with Brigit Forsyth who played Matt's mum, she was a wondeful actress to work with. I really enjoy the scenes where we get to go out of the school, for example the Prison, the whole storyline with my mum. In some ways it makes me imagine what it would be like if I was in that situation with my mum, even though it is just a TV drama, I try to make it as a real as possible. It is both challenging and rewarding. It was great doing the prision storyline, about 8 of us got to travel down to London to film in the Bad Girls prision for around 10 days. It was great fun, all the boys were in one hotel, and me and Eva in a different one. You have to remember the lads are not kids, most of them are 18+, although the guy who plays Brett is only a year and a half younger than me!! They are excited doing that kind of thing, and its fun spending the whole week doing that. In Rochdale sometimes there are up to 60/70 people on the set, but here there was just the 8 of us altogether. It was fun to speak to Jason Done (Tom), and Denise Welsh (Steph) to see what was happening back in Rochdale!
Waterloo Road Fans: If you weren't playing Matt in Waterloo Road, which character would you like to play?
Chris Geere: Tom without a doubt. He is a great character, and Jason Done who plays him is one of my best friends on set. Over the three series so far he has had some wonderful storylines with different amounts of sensitivity required. He is a great teacher, a great dad, and has been a complete bastard in some episodes, and he has lost two wives now!! Plus he gets to snog loads of women!
Waterloo Road Fans: Anything you can tell us about Series 4?
Chris Geere: I will be returning, we start filiming in around 6 weeks time. We are all very excited about going back, the majority of the cast are going to be back, a couple aren't. We have a couple more coming in though, and I have heard two people from the previous series will be returning. The final episode for this series is excellent, we had major fun filming that episode with the fire engines etc. There is a massive cliffhanger at the end!! Hopefully the series will air September/October time we are aiming to air it as term time starts as the majority of our views are school kids. There seires is 20 episodes again. There have been rumours going around aswell that they are thinking of making the series a weekly thing like Holby City and that would be great but at the same time we need to be able to keep the quality of the storylines and the film production we have at the moment. We don't want it to become too soapy as it is a drama.
Waterloo Road Fans: Well thanks very much for taking the time out for this interview Chris, and we wish you all the luck for the future!
Chris Geere: Thanks very much and keep up the good work with the website, I'll check it out tomorrow when I am at my computer!