An Exclusive Interview with ‘Crossbones’ Star Henry Hereford

Henry Hereford (Image Credit: Mara Casey)
Henry Hereford (Image Credit: Mara Casey)

“Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A pirate’s life for me!”

Okay, maybe not everyone wants to be a pirate but a person can dream to be one, can’t they? We’ve seen pirates depicted on the big screen but on May 30th, they are making their way to our small screens. Forget about the vampires and wolves, pirates are taking over when NBC premieres the new adventure series Crossbones.

The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to speak with Henry Hereford who stars as Frederick Nightingale in Crossbones who talked about the show, the dynamic on set and other projects he’s involved in!

The Daily Quirk: You’ll be starring on the upcoming NBC show Crossbones. Can you tell us a bit about the show?

Henry Hereford: It’s really about — it’s pirate themed — but it’s about really people choosing another way to live and different reactions of the time to that way of living. I think it’s very interesting because the viewer will, you know, make their decision about what they really think. It’s very interesting and great, great characters have been written that interact with each other on many different levels.

TDQ: You’ll be playing Frederick Nightingale. Can you tell us a bit about the character?

HH: He’s a clockmaker. He’s created this invention that everyone is keen to get their hands on. He finds himself sort of in a position that he wouldn’t really choose to be in. So, it’s very interesting to play a kind of character like that. It’s fun. It’s part of a great story.

TDQ: At what point in the show is he introduced to us?

HH: In the first minute or so? I believe so from what I can remember. I think he’s introduced before the main credits. It’s exciting.

TDQ: Can you tell us a bit about how the role first came about?

HH: I hadn’t really heard much about the show. I was briefly aware that it was casting and then… The first time I was really brought into it was when I was asked to audition for it but the casting director was in New York so everyone was self-taping if you weren’t in New York which is a fun way to audition actually because you have a lot more control over what you want to present. I think sometimes it’s this positive and negative about going into a room with people. I think it kind of depends on the role and the situation but anyway, I haven’t actually booked a role by self-taping before but it was a fun scene to put to tape. I sent it to my agent and we sent it off and I didn’t hear anything for about two weeks. I was, at the time, waiting on something else that I was physically auditioning for. So, it came as a surprise on a Friday morning when I got told I got the job. I was very, very excited to be working with Neil Cross, the writer, whose work I really admire so that was very exciting. Then two days later, I was on a plane to the Caribbean. It was kind of one of those things that I just dream about and then suddenly it was happening so it was very exciting. I didn’t sort of imagine it would happen that quickly but it does.

TDQ: Did you need to do any research on Blackbeard and pirate lore, or was everything there for you in the script?

HH: I sort of did a little bit of research on my own about the time. It’s so well-crafted as a show that the information is very much there. The team were very helpful at giving you the information. And you know, the setting and the incredible production team of building the set and making it as real as possible really helps you. You know, as soon as I set foot on where I was working, you automatically feel that you are part of this time and part of this amazing story. The production team are really incredible about what they can create and what they can make.

TDQ: What was your experience like working on the show? Was it fun stepping into this type of pirate period drama?

HH: It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had as an actor. Working with great people from cast to crew. Everyone involved was just wonderful. We were like a giant, big family. Hung out all the time even when we weren’t out there together so on weekends and stuff. It was fun to be going there everyday into this great world. I was very, very lucky to be a part of such an amazing show with amazing people. The ones that I got to know are great friends now and so that’s exciting. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience to have working in television. Just from everybody involved that I came across and spent time with were fantastic.

TDQ: Can you share a favorite or especially fun moment from filming with us?

HH: I guess the most exciting — It sort of sounds strange — but I guess what I loved about what I do is that I actually ended up… I think it was like my fourth day maybe or my third day filming, I didn’t know anyone that well but it was actually my birthday. I was picked up at 3 a.m. and then I got back to the hotel at about 11 p.m. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday in the fact that it didn’t feel like work. I just had the most amazing fun. Someone did find out. One of the PAs on set, it was also her birthday, she read in my contract that it was my birthday too. They all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and unsung wishes and I hadn’t told anyone. Birthdays aren’t that significant to me but it was amazing to have it there and feel like… I guess most people would say they wouldn’t want to work on their birthday. They wanna have had time off but I couldn’t have had a better day working those hours. It didn’t feel like it was a working day. It was so much fun.

TDQ: Aside from Crossbones, do you have any other upcoming projects you can share?

HH: I did an independent film a couple of years ago called Man Camp. It stars Dean Cain who was Superman in the television series I think the late-90s/mid-90s and a great bunch of comedic actors. It’s really fun and I play a very quirky German who keeps popping up in different scenarios. I worked with the director Brian Brightly the year before on a film called Liars All which is another independent film with some great people in it again. It was great to have Brian just bring me the role and say, “I know you’ll do something exciting with it” so it was fun to be able to work with someone again. It was a great film and I can’t wait to see it. It’s interesting; the different levels from television to film to how fast one thing appears. It’s been a couple of years but it’s exciting that it’s going to be out in the next couple of weeks. It’s a romantic comedy but it’s got some great comedic actors in it so it should be fun.

TDQ: You’re very involved with a number of philanthropic causes, can you tell us a bit about some of the programs you work with?

HH: I’m talking with the Golden Heart Foundation which is an Autism charity which I really want to get more involved in because I feel that they’re doing amazing things to educate people about Autism and help families out, particularly adults with Autism, providing more support and more understanding about the syndrome. It’s exciting to be involved with them. They’re doing amazing things. I’ve also been helping a friend of mine set up a charity which has been going into high schools in LA and putting on a Shakespeare play. I’ve been going down a few times to help. A lot of the students have never studied Shakespeare. They’ve never set eyes on Shakespeare before but they want to get into performing and performing these Shakespeare plays which have so much relevance wherever. The great thing about Shakespeare is that you can set it to anywhere and it still has the same relevance. It’s been fun and exciting to work with some of these kids; Helping them understand it and seeing them progress into creating these great characters and really throwing themselves into it.

TDQ: What inspires you to get involved?

HH: Particularly in LA, when working in some of these schools which don’t have the opportunities, they’re living in a town which is centered on the entertainment industry. In some cases, a lot of them are never going to be able to be a part of that even though they’re right in it. So, being able to sort of bring that to the schools and what I’ve learned and what I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced about plays and training and Shakespeare. If I can inspire someone to want to get involved or understand it then that’s really exciting and rewarding. Hopefully it’ll encourage more people to get involved. I think the school system doesn’t necessarily provide, in certain areas of LA, for that kind of thing. It’s kind of up to volunteers to come down and bring what knowledge they have to people that actually are passionate and what to learn more about it.

TDQ: How else do you like to spend your time when you’re not busy acting?

HH: In the sea, if possible. I’m not great at surfing but I try. I enjoy it. I live one block back from Venice Beach and coming from England, I’m not afraid of cold water so I’m in the water most of the year which is great. Yesterday, I was getting better at paddleboarding. I’m lucky enough to live in LA where it doesn’t rain very often and it’s not cold very often. As much as I can be down in the water on the beach then I’m very happy.

TDQ: We like to end with some quirky questions, and you’re living in Los Angeles now, so what’s one thing they only have in LA that you wish they had in the UK?

HH: I was going to say nice weather but I’m trying to think of something a bit more tangible. I’m really racking my brain. There are hundreds of things but I guess more sunny weather.

TDQ: What would you wish that LA had that the UK has?

HH: Better chocolate, I think. I mean I don’t eat a lot of it but I do know that there’s something a bit different about it. I think I’d prefer the UK chocolate. I’m sure someone was telling me the other day what the actual difference is but… I think that and maybe… One thing I do miss, I do miss the history of the UK. You know, living in London, I’m constantly blown away by the architecture and the history. California is a much younger place. There is definitely crosses and plusses to both places. There are sometimes, I think, where I do miss that side of it but I go back fairly regularly so I get my thrill of history from the architecture.

TDQ: And lots of children dream of being swashbuckling pirates when they grow up, but what was it that you wanted to be a child?

HH: Initially, I wanted to be a vet. I loved animals and we had lots of animals when I grew up by a farm. For a while I sort of did want to keep doing that but I think the turning point was when I found out that I had to be good at science in order to progress. That wasn’t going to come out of nowhere so I sort of moved on from that. That was definitely something that I was keen to pursue for a while. Hopefully I will one day get to play that and I would have succeeded. That’s a fun thing, in fact. There’s often lots of things we like. You know, you go, “Oh, I quite like to try it!” The great thing about being an actor is that hopefully in your career you get to actually play — obviously you’re not going to be qualified one-hundred percent in the area — but you get to understand. Throw yourself into the role. That’s what’s wonderful about being an actor and hopefully you get to take on as many other careers you might have wanted to do. Without having to, you know, learn science.

The Daily Quirk would like to thank Henry Hereford for taking the time chat! To find out more about Hereford, you can follow him on his new Twitter account. Don’t forget to catch his latest performance as Frederick Nightingale when Crossbones premieres Friday, May 30 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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A pop culture junkie who learned her life lessons from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Lizzie McGuire. @ashleeeybash

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