FishbowlLA recently had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch at the Beverly Hilton with Aden Young and two other stars of Rectify, the Sundance Channel’s first original scripted TV series. Young plays the part of Daniel Holden (pictured), a Death Row inmate released back into a small Georgia town because of newly discovered DNA evidence after 19 years of solitary confinement.
The conversation with Young was especially memorable, as the Canadian-born, Australia-raised performer shared a couple of key drunken memories. The first recollection relates to how he was set on the path to acting; the second connects indirectly to a pivotal moment for his Rectify character.
“I was working as a theater stage manager and one of the actors turned up drunk or something,” Young recalls. “We had a bit of an argument about letting the kids down – it was a pantomime – and he said, ‘Well, you try doing this. It’s very difficult.’”
“And I thought, maybe it is something I should do,” he continues. “So I started going to this school [the Australian Theatre for Young People], and then I got a few little roles and started auditioning. Then I got a call to do a major film in Canada (Bruce Beresford’s Black Robe). Which was strange, because I had been spending the last three years trying to get rid of any Canadian accent, so I could get a job.”
The other moment of drunken living involved Young himself imbibing. When we talked about the scene in The Shawshank Redemption when Morgan Freeman’s character Red explains to the parole board just how much he wishes he could talk to his younger, foolish self, the actor agreed that for those 19 years, Daniel wondered incessantly about whether he should have turned left instead of right. And so on.
“When my son was born, it was the most extraordinary moment; I was drunk,” Young confesses. “My wife had said, ‘Go out, it’s the last time you’ll be out for a while.’ And it just so happened that at 1:30 in the morning, her water broke, as I was opening another bottle of wine. And when he was born, of course I felt terrible to be in this position, where I was drunk.”
“But I suddenly realized that every single moment had led me to this moment, right in front of me, “ he adds, “and that nothing could have been any different. Because It was perfect, and I had a clean slate. I filthied it up within a few days, but for that moment, there was a purity there. And I think that with Daniel, that moment existed just at that moment, that night, and then everything changed.”
Young also touched on the time everything could have changed for him in Los Angeles. After being cast in the aforementioned Beresford film, a Canadian-Australian co-production shot in Quebec, the actor made five more films in rapid succession, leading to meetings with various big-time talent agencies.
“I was courted by the best and the biggest, and I just said to myself, I’m not ready for this,” Young admits. “I’ve got nothing to tell you yet, there’s no depth to me. I also wanted to live a little, too. I didn’t want to be famous, yet. That would be a horrible story. So I disappeared from LA and became involved with film in a different way, with cinema.”
Rectify premieres Monday April 22. More info about the series here.
[Also pictured: Abigail Spencer as Daniel's sister Amantha]