This is an excerpt. For the complete story, buy the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of BRINK.
Who do you get when you mix up an Australian accent, musical talent, and a work wardrobe that is just a pair of shorts? If you guessed NBC “Camp’s” Tim Pocock, you would be right. You may remember the now 27-year-old from 2009’s X Men Origins: Wolverine, when he appeared alongside fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman as Scott Summers. More recently, Tim starred in the Australian television drama Dance Academy until he landed his current role as the shirtless, heartthrob Robbie on NBC’s sitcom Camp. I was lucky enough to speak with Tim about his latest role and what happens when Twitter followers collide.
Words Arielle Ozery
Photos by Ellis Parrinder Equam
Arielle: Hey, how are you?
Tim: Good, how are you?
That’s good! It was funny — the other day, I didn’t know that I was going to be doing an interview with you guys, and I was on twitter, and I noticed that BRINK magazine started following me. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s weird. Why would like a magazine just randomly start following me?’ and Craig said, ‘They’re going to be doing a piece on you,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, okay!’ [laughs]
Let’s talk about your most recent work on the NBC series Camp. What similarities do you see between you and your character on the show — Robbie — and what is your favorite or least favorite thing about him?
Well, probably one of my favorite things about him is just how much he looks out for other people. It’s probably the thing that I connected to the most with that character. He’s incredibly empathetic, and he’s still very responsible all his friends and family in his life, you know? Like, his mother and Sara and all the other sort of counselors and that sort of thing. I think that’s kind of a rare quality in people these days. [It seems like] everyone’s always just out for themselves, so it’s kind of nice to have a character who actually looks out for other people, and I’d like to think that I operate my life in a similar way, so I think maybe that’s sort of where I was able to connect with him fairly easily. It’s funny to say that that’s also probably his biggest downfall, because people tend to take advantage of someone like that. It’s actually a very strong characteristic for someone to have, but it’s treated like a weakness because people feel like they can walk all over you. And oftentimes, that type of people allow people to walk all over them because they’re too busy thinking about the other people in their lives rather than themselves. So it’s kind of interesting to play Robbie to see how he would react when he realizes that Sara, for example, has taken advantage of his good nature and his reliability and has just gone off and cheated on him. But seeing the way that he reacts to that was kind of interesting to me. He reacted very differently than I would’ve reacted, so that was a unique challenge to be able to play that. So, yeah, that’s probably my favorite and least favorite aspect because you know it’s such a strength in him, but it’s also such a weakness.
Well, your character Robbie also seems to get himself into quite a bit of trouble throughout the show. Do you enjoy playing that kind of a role, and are you as mischievous in your real life?
Oh, no! I’m not! I like to do things by the book, and I think Robbie does as well. Like when he gets thrown into the shenanigans that go on — sort of against his better judgment — he just goes along and he feels that maybe if he’s involved it won’t go as pear-shaped as it possibly could. Then he ends up winding up with an egg on his face. Again, that’s very much like me as well. I like to do things pretty straight and narrow, and if I do get involved in a bit of a dicey situation, it’s usually because I think that maybe I need to be there to be the steady one to calm things down if everything goes haywire [laughs].
OK, how has it been for you to be able to work with Rachel Griffiths?
Oh, that’s been an amazing thing for all of us. I think she’s someone who has been like a trailblazer in the Australian industry. She managed to make the move over to America and start doing American television and films at a time where the Internet wasn’t as good as it is, so you really did need to uproot your entire life and move over to the states in order to get a career happening. You couldn’t just send auditions via the Internet over to casting directors and get cast that way. And films weren’t being made as much in Australia as they are now, so she’s kind of been someone that has made it work for the rest of us to have careers on the international level. It’s pretty amazing that we then got to work with her — in our own backyard — and learn, you know? I think that acting, and everything created, is just a constant exploration and experiment really, and I’m comfortably learning and constantly just watching other people. And again, I’m very lucky that I’ve got yet another Australian legend that I was able to work with and work learn from.
Yeah, that must be a lot of fun. Well, I came across a ton of tweets and Facebook posts from a bunch of your fans, and they were talking about your “heartthrob” qualities. How does that make you feel? Did you ever imagine yourself as somebody that would have that kind of an image?
[laughs] No, definitely not! I think when I decided that I was gonna give acting an actual go and that I was gonna make it my actual career, I think I’d always just play the nice guy next door. I never really thought I would play a ‘heartthrob,’ as you say. It’s kind of interesting to pick up the script and turn the page and have some of the big prints sort of saying things like that, you know? I think that as the scene starts started last week with Grace perving on Robbie while he’s working on a motorbike — and he’s got his shirt off — and [the script] said in big print, ‘His muscles are rippling,’ and all that kind of stuff. And you read that, and you’re like, ‘Well, that’s me,’ but you have to kind of turn that off because if you get too self-conscious, then it’s gonna just look really bad. So yeah, I kind of just go, ‘Look, I am who I am. I look the way that I look. I’m just gonna do my thing, and if people want to respond that way, that’s awesome.’ At the end of the day — from the business side of things — that’s kind of how it works out here, so you’ve got to be able to do whatever you can. And, it is a compliment because if you work hard for your career and it’s just as much about the appearance stuff as it is about the acting … it’s just getting validation that I’m doing something right, I guess. [laughs]
[laughs] Yeah, I’d say so. Your fans definitely think so!
[laughs] Yeah. Also, I mean, they show me topless at every opportunity that they can [laughs]. If I hide you can’t hide away from that when you open up your trailer door and your wardrobe is just a pair of pants day in and day out. [laughs]
That’s so funny. Well, you’re an Australian actor, what was it like for you to break into the American audiences with Camp, and if season two of Camp was to get the green light, where do you think the characters lives would lead?
I think we felt quite a lot of pressure to make sure that the show was as American as possible — given that we’re all Australians, and we’re making it in Australia. But, you know, it’s great that we did have producers and writers on the set all the time. That helped us get that level of authenticity that we were looking for. I guess I’m lucky in a sense that I’ve actually played an American on several occasions, obviously with Wolverine, but also I’ve done a couple of Australian films and TV series where I’ve actually played an American … so it must just be something about me that screams American. So, yeah, if we were to go for a second season, who knows. Robbie changes quite dramatically over the second half of season one. He becomes a very different person, and he ends out the season in a very different place than he was in episode one. Scenes are very much less open to him at the end of the season, and it would be really cool to sort of come back a year later at summer camp because so much can happen in two months at summer camp, and it would be fascinating to see what happens over like the next sort of eight months of the year between summer camps and see where his life has taken him. It would be kind of cool to see a really dark, edgy sort of side of Robbie. I’d love for him to become an alcoholic or a drug addict! Who knows. [laughs]
That would be really different! OK, what can we expect to see from you in the future? Is there any project that you’re particularly excited about doing?
I just want to do as much stuff as possible. One of the great things that I’ve had so far in my career is I’ve had quite a wide variety so far, and that’s really cool. It keeps you on your toes and makes every film, every job that you experience which is kind of exactly what I want. When I said I wanted to do acting, it’s because I didn’t want to do the same thing every single day. I do have a couple of films coming out over the next six months. I have a World War One drama, which I play an Irish soldier, and quite cowardly perhaps sort of face his demons and then really grow up over a short period of time — set in France. Again, it’s kind of cool, and there’s really interesting stuff in there, and I’m kind of excited about that. And then I did a horror film — an Australian horror film — and I play an American in that one as well. It’s called Lemon Tree Package, and, again, I actually play a really nasty, arrogant kind of tool, so it’s, again, very different for me [laughs]. I’m really interested to see how that one turns out as well.
All of that is so exciting! OK, last one I promise.
[laughs] No worries.
What would be your No. 1 tip for those looking to break into show business?
I would say, just have patience and don’t expect any records. People who you hear about being overnight successes usually have about 10 years or 20 years behind them, and I think when I hear people being called overnight successes, I think they probably find that a bit insulting given how much effort they put in to get their career. So, a lot of people — I think — think, ‘Ah, if you want to be an actor, you just do it, and then all your Hollywood dreams will come true!’ That’s not necessarily the case. You have to be prepared to work, and you have to be prepared that it wont happen straight away, but I think patience is the absolute key.
Catch Tim in Camp Wednesday’s on NBC. Read the interview in its entirety in the Sept./Oct. issue of BRINK.