The Straits Times
28 November 2015
Sex scenes are just like fighting scenes - it is all about the choreography.
"In one scene, you're making out. Then you're screaming and punching. But it's just choreography, meeting your mark, finding your timing and everything," says local singer-actor Nathan Hartono.
He adds with a smile: "I get both forms of action in the show."
The show is HBO Asia's Halfworlds, a Jakarta-set fantasy action series in which mortals battle supernatural beings known as Demit. It premieres on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) tomorrow.
Hartono, 24, who plays the musician boyfriend of the protagonist Sarah (Salvita Decorte), is nonchalant about the intimate scenes, thanks to the exposure he had from starring in the musical Spring Awakening in 2012.
Referring to the musical's monthlong run here, he says with a cheeky laugh: "Simulated sex, 30 nights, twice a night, good times. That kind of numbed me for the performance for this television series."
He was more concerned that Halfworlds would be his small-screen debut. He quickly learnt that acting for television was very different from projecting on stage.
"I watch the other actors and from far away, it looks like they're just sitting and talking. But on the playback screen, you can see their subtle emotions and facial expressions. On screen, less is more. If you go big, that becomes like an Adam Sandler comedy."
The undergraduate at Boston's Berklee College of Music has been on a break from school since last year to take up such opportunities.
He also contributed to original songs for Halfworlds - "very grungy, emo, imagine Kurt Cobain-y kind of stuff", material that is different from the jazzy pop he is known for.
To him, music is "always going to be the first priority".
He is working on a show at the Esplanade in July as well as a new album featuring "bigger orchestrations, more pop-centric and a little less left-field".
He adds: "There was no filter before and I'd just write songs that went on forever. My songs are now more radio-friendly."
He enjoys the multicultural learning environment at Berklee but feels no urgency to finish his studies there. The bachelor says: "I don't think that having a diploma in this field is necessary or key. It's different from being a lawyer or an accountant. It's more like what you can do, as opposed to what paper qualification you have."
His plan is to set up a stronger base on homeground before taking the next step. "I say that only because I know way too many talented people in the US who are just floating in the middle of nowhere. And that scares me."
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This article was first published on Nov 28, 2015.
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