It’s a big week for Aussie actor Artin John, whose episode of The X-Files airs in the US, ahead of its screening on TEN.
John, 22, has previously appeared in Emily Owens MD, Lucifer, iZombie, The Returned, The Tomorrow People, Supernatural and Arrow.
But X-Files was very nearly a role that passed him by after a disastrous first audition with director Glen Morgan.
“It was the worst audition of my career. The type that leaves permanent scars. I thought I’d never recover from it. It was soul crushingly devastating. I started the first scene, got close to the end of a big chunk of dialogue, and then it happened. I dried up! I went blank,” he tells TV Tonight.
“I had a panic attack on the studio backlot. I had no idea what to do…but I had to go back in there. I tried to collect myself as best I could and I made my way back into the casting office. The casting assistant was there waiting for me. She said ‘Are you ready?’ I took a deep breath, looked at her, and said ‘No.’ ‘Well you have to go in, you’re the last one, they’re waiting for you.’
“I went in there, held the paper in my hands, and essentially read the entire thing off the page. I just wanted to get it over and done with and to put us all out of our misery. I finished the audition, the director said ‘Good, thank you’, and that was all she wrote. I left, found a bench in a park by a fountain out the back of the lot, and had a good cry for about 20 minutes.”
“Holy shit..that was David Duchovny.”
But good news was to come with a callback for another role, with creator Chris Carter. This time things went much smoother, offered the role of ‘Shiraz’ in “Babylon.” Aside from a Simpsons parody, John had only seen one X-Files movie -now he was suddenly performing alongside David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
“David is super charismatic and lights up the room when he comes to set, and suddenly everyone feels refreshed and energized. Gill is caring and is a bit of a mum. She’s a nice and caring lady. I remember walking onto set for the first time to block our first scene of the day. ‘Hi. David,’ some guy said. ‘Oh hi. Artin,’ I said, and kept walking. I thought it was a grip or a member of the AD department. Then… ‘Holy shit..that was David Duchovny.’ He was so chill and down to earth I didn’t even realise he was the star of the X-Files.
“On one of our nights we were shooting at supposedly one of the most haunted locations in the world. We were supposed to be out of there at 11pm, but it was 1am and we were still filming. The fire alarm went off and we called it a night. I thought we overstayed our welcome. But turns out there was a more logical, less X-Files explanation. David had pulled the fire alarm, he had decided it was time for us to go home. This was never confirmed, but our director of photography accused him of it for the remainder of our shoot, and each time he brought it up, David has the cheekiest little look on his face. It was hilarious.”
“We all knew everything was top-secret.”
The wait has been long, with cast required to keep details of the story under wraps. But the bad audition and persistence will have all been worth it.
“We all knew everything was top-secret. It was kind of a given. We signed standard non-disclosure agreements, nothing to hefty. Essentially we can’t reveal anything that gives anything away about plot. So I’m always super cautious, and make sure that anything I say is already officially out there,” he recalls.
“They weren’t confiscating cell phones or anything, and we were still able to take photos on set, as long as we weren’t posting anything that would divulge plot. But it’s tricky because you never know, you could accidentally goof it.”
Next up John is planning his own sci-fi short 2BR02B (To Be Or Naught To Be) and is ready for Pilot season 2016.
“Got my eyes set on House of Cards, if they do another season after this one. I think it will help in the way of being considered for bigger roles too. Who knows what will happen.”
The X-Files airs 8:30pm Sunday on TEN.