‘General Hospital’s’ newest young actor, Nathin Butler (Dr. Ewen Keenan) is creating some positive buzz among fans.
The son of a country music singer, this actor, writer, musician, and producer grew up on a cattle ranch in outback Queensland Australia. (Note: Butler’s sister Kalesti Butler is also a popular country music singer).
Butler is a graduate of Sydney’s NADA (the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art). Only 20 students are admitted to the program per year. As you may imagine, Butler is in good company - Mel Gibson and Cate Blanchett are among the many successful NADA graduates.
In between his day job at ‘GH’ and his work with his band ‘The Sugar,’ Butler took some time last month to speak with Soapdom.
Soapdom: Is it true you literally rescued your dog Bindi from living in a car?
Nathin Butler: She’s a nine month old Huskie/Lab mix. I got her out of a car. She was in it for a week. I was giving her water and food through the window. She belonged to a young girl who said she couldn’t keep her. They were going to take her to the pound so I just took her home.
Soapdom: Talk a bit about your film ‘Black November.’
Butler: It’s an African based film. Me and a buddie were asked to film a movie by an African director. So we took two cameras. When we originally shot it, it was super low budget. We released it as an inde film almost a year ago. We got a lot of interest so we kind of re-vamped it. We cast Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger and basically ‘Hollywoodized’ it. It looks good – it was great to be a part of it. I scored some of the music and acted in the movie and produced a bit of it. It was a real learning experience.
Soapdom: What was it like working with Mickey Rourke?
Butler: He’s a funny and knowledgeable and so down to earth. He’s obviously pretty comfortable in his own skin. He’s a really warm man.
Soapdom: You also worked with Hugh Jackman a couple times. Is it true you had a big scene with him in ‘Australia?’
Butler: We worked together in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine.’ My fight scene with him in ‘Australia’ was cut. We shot it in a bar. It took a month to shoot. Unfortunately it ended up on the cutting room floor. It was a shame, but understandable.
Soapdom: Can you speak with an American Accent?
Butler: I can. When I auditioned for ‘General Hospital’ I did the whole scene with an American accent.
Soapdom: Your character was recently injured on the show. Was it difficult to play unconscious for so much of the time? How did you get through it?
Butler: In school we did a lot of exercises playing dead or being asleep. The trick I use is to sing a song in my head.
Soapdom: Are they original songs that you use?
Butler: They’re my songs – The Sugar songs.
Soapdom: Did someone help you ease into the routine of an American soap opera?
Butler: I kind of just learned by doing it. Working with actors who have been on the show for so long helped. It’s such a fast pace. You always have to be thinking.
Soapdom: What’s your impression of your on-screen leading lady Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth)?
Butler: Becky is such an amazing woman and mother. She’s so calm and just a natural star.
Soapdom: You brought up your band, The Sugar, before. How did you come up with the name?
Butler: (Laughs) We didn’t have a name – we got it from a friend – we were saying ‘sugar’ a lot in our songs. She said ‘you should call yourselves ‘The Sugar.’’ It just seemed relevant. Maybe we’ll drop the ‘the’ eventually and just be ‘Sugar.’
Soapdom: Is it true there’s a Sugar CD in the works?
Butler: We’re nearly finished with our first record. It’s all of our own original songs. It’s exciting – it’s sounding really good. We’re gonna release it the weekend of the ‘General Hospital’ Fan Club Weekend. I’m excited – it’s sounding good. We have some really good tracks. I think we’re only doing 1,000 copies. It’s a limited release.
Soapdom: Will the band do a tour?
Butler: I’d like to do a tour and get our music out there. It would be fantastic.
Soapdom: Do you get nervous before a live performance?
Butler: Yes. I think nerves are something that will never go away. As a performer, nerves are always there. If they’re not, there’s something wrong – maybe you’re done performing.
Soapdom: What would you say you miss the most about Australia?
Butler: I really miss it. I miss the beaches and the weather. I miss my friends and family. I’m going back this Christmas. In Australia you have Christmas on the beach. The people are just so lovely. It’s a wonderful place.
Nathin Butler’s fan event is Sunday July 22 from 4pm to 6pm. Buy tickets here.
Thanks to Nathin Butler for taking the time to speak with Soapdom. And thanks to my friend Darcey for putting me in touch with Nathin Butler.
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