Interview with Jon Pointing who plays Danny

Category: Press Pack Article

Big Boys in a nutshell…

It’s a comedy about two guys who meet at uni, mainly Jack who is struggling with his sexuality and coming out and the fact that he's just lost his dad; the other, Danny is struggling with depression. Meanwhile, they're trying to have all the experiences that you're supposed to have in your first year at uni.

How did you come to be part of the show?

So I knew Jack [Rooke] before. We met quite a few years ago on a comedy night but I suppose we properly started hanging out after I went to see his show Happy Hour, which is in part where Big Boys came from. Obviously, I thought it was brilliant. I'd lost a really close friend when I was young as well, so I could sort of relate to it. Anyway, we started talking and hanging out. And then I don't know whether the idea had already started in his head, but Jack kind of had me in mind for this role [Danny] I think quite early on. We’d just sort of hit it off and obviously we bonded a bit over our experiences with grief. It's a while back now but I remember before we shot the pilot, he sent me a script. We met up in Kings Cross and went for some food. We ended up sitting on a bench in a graveyard near Kings Cross and reading the script out together. I mean, it's like a scene from Big Boys. So yeah, I think I was in mind from quite early on in the project.

What did you like about the script?

Jack's so good at striking that balance between the comedy and the drama, and if you've got that right then that's kind of it basically, isn't it? He can do the emotional stuff, and then the levity and the silliness. And he's got this great frame of reference which is really far-reaching. From inane trashy magazine tv shows, through to literature, politics and history. So he's got this massive pool to draw from. His head is in the library but his heart is watching daytime tv.

What about Danny, how did the character evolve?

He’s based on a few of Jack's friends one of whom he lost. Jack told me a lot about them which helped in understanding the character. But for me it really started in rehearsals and reading. I had a good idea of what I was going to do going into it. When we shot the pilot, Jim, who directs it, always allowed for a certain amount of jazz, you know, a certain amount of playing around. So maybe that helped inform the rest of it a little bit.

So who is Danny?

Danny is a mature student so he’s coming to uni a little bit late. I mean, he's definitely not thinking about life after uni or about his career. He's just come for good times, for the people, for parties, sex. In fact, he's so determined to have a good time that it kind of gets in the way a little bit. But underneath that eager and carefree personality there's obviously quite a sensitive, troubled person. And he’s very caring as well.

On the face of it, Danny, a lad’s lad, makes an unlikely friend for Jack…

I think front facing he seems like a typical lad. But it's your upbringing, isn't it? It's like, what your surroundings are at that formative age. Maybe that's one of the reasons Jack had me in mind, because I've grown up in a similar way — I think a lot of people when they meet me make a similar assumption, that I’m a lad’s lad. I think a lot of my friendships, especially with my gay friends are partly formed over the surprise revelation that I’m not a complete knob. Essentially Danny doesn’t conform to his stereotype and neither does Jack and that brings them together. They might seem like an odd couple but underneath they have more in common than not. Also, Jack comes to uni needing to be looked after and Danny is happy to fill that role I think partly because he’s kind but also its a welcome distraction from his own problems.

How does Danny get on with Jack’s mum?

He definitely hits it off with her. With Peggy, Camille's [Coduri] character, Danny’s a bit lighter than Jack so he can joke about stuff and they bond over that a bit. And yeah, it's a family unit that he doesn't really have and also it's a family unit that's just lost someone. From my experience, when you lose someone, a new little unit is often formed by the people left behind. So I guess they're probably ready to have someone else in their life.

Did Big Boys’ depiction of university life bring back memories for you?

Yeah, definitely. It's unique, such a funny one, isn't it? Because for those three years, that's your world. Like, it's everything. You're in this bubble, where the results and the parties and the relationships and all the stuff that's going on is so important. I always look back on those times with misty eyes.

What was it like having the real Jack [Rooke] there on set?

It was really helpful having Jack there. Jack's just a great presence to have around anywhere to be honest. He was just a really good, caring presence on set and I think it made people treat the work with care in return. Also, before anything else he’s my mate so it was just fun to hang out for six weeks, breaks, lunches, post filming meltdowns. It was lovely.