It is no secret that I love ballet. So what better than a TV series called Flesh and Bone based on just that? Having Damon Herriman play a central character in the series, that’s what makes it better!
Damon was born in Adelaide, South Australia and began acting in local television commercials at the age of eight. It was not until he was cast in The Sullivans that his career began to take off. He continued to work solidly as a child actor and received three Logie Award nominations for his performance in The Sullivans.
Damon is also known to Australian audiences in the critically acclaimed Foxtel series Love My Way and 100 Bloody Acres; as well as the title role in The Outlaw Michael Howe.
In 2004, he played the sinister roadkill truck driver in the US horror film House of Wax, and since 2005 has worked regularly in the United States. He is now best known in the US for playing perpetually-luckless and redneck Dewey Crowe in five seasons of the FX series, Justified.
In 2014, he was seen as manager Chris Murphy in the miniseries INXS: Never Tear Us Apart. In Australia he will next be seen in Abe Forsythe’s feature, Down Under and the Foxtel mini-series, Secret City.
I spoke with Damon about his journey from child actor to adult actor and particularly about his role in the American drama series Flesh and Bone, which will be released here this month on Blu-ray and DVD.
He revealed that he found the transition from child actor to adult actor very difficult, particularly in his 30s. It was a “Slow rejoining of the workforce” with little consistency.
His first big break as an adult that opened doors overseas was, of course, House of Wax. I was keen to know whether he intentionally accepted characters that were outside the law or socially isolated. He assured me “no” but after House of Wax he became type cast and has continued to play these sort of characters (amongst others).
In Flesh and Bone Damon plays Romeo, a homeless schizophrenic who lives in the basement of a flat belonging to Clair, a ballerina with a troubled past. Romeo is writing a book that is part illusion and part reality. When he meets Claire he decides she is the heroine in his book and becomes “anointed by her to be her protector and servant”. However he is initially tormented that he might, in fact, be the dragon in his book.
When asked how he prepared for such a complex role that is outside the main story of life in a ballet school, he explained that his character gave the creator a chance to explore further opportunities in the story.
“It all worked for me,” he said. “I could read it and see him in my head”.
That does not mean that the part came automatically. Before filming, Damon prepared by researching schizophrenia, after that, “the script did the work.”
We all know actors suffer for their art and, as an aside, Flesh and Bone was filmed in summer so Damon confided that he had to wear an ice pack under his clothes as he wears multiple layers of clothing as Romeo.
Having watched several episodes of Flesh and Bone, I can assure you it is no ordinary ballet story. It is a psychological drama that will have you wanting more due, in part, to the talent of Adelaide’s own Damon Herriman!
Interviewed by Barry Hill
Flesh and Bone will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 18 May 2016.