Danny Eastman interview

Danny Eastman talks about Robert Rankin, Andy Serkis, The Brightonomicon and his brand new play...

Danny Eastman plays Danbury Collins and Mister Mate in the terrific audio adaptation of The Brightonomicon, reviewed here. Here, he tells us about working on the project, his double act with Andy Serkis, and what he’s up to now…

How did you come to be involved in the project? Were you a fan of Robert Rankin beforehand?

It was really as simple as Neil [Gardner] telling me, over lunch, about The Brightonomicon and asking me whether I would be interested in being a part of the project. I will admit to having not known who Robert was and, as a consequence, was not at all familiar with his work – I have since read The Brightonomicon and Apocalypso. Neil had this infectious enthusiasm for the project, so when he did ask me to play Danbury Collins and Mister Mate I couldnt say no!

You built up a quite a double act with Andy Serkis; did you two hit it off quickly?

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Yeah, Andy and I hit it off with each other straight away. Andy’s a real gentleman and a very generous actor. He displayed no signs of ‘Hollywood’ and was clearly still a Londoner at heart. At the start of our first session, we spent about 40 minutess chatting about each other’s work, comparing tastes in jazz musicians, our last holidays abroad, that sort of thing. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and Neil, Andy and I had a lot of fun recording our parts.

Did it help the working mechanic that you recorded your segments together?

Definitely. It’s always important for an actor to have someone to play off of. In radio, it can be difficult if you have to record your parts on your own, though not impossible. Andy and I were able to instantly develop a working rapport, as I helped him record his earlier scenes, which really lent to the scenes we recorded together as Count Otto Black and Mister Mate.

Are you happy with the end result? Would you work on another Rankin adaptation?

I, for one, am very proud to have been part of it and of the end result. I think that Neil has done a sublime job on The Brightonomicon and I know that Robert’s over the moon with the adaptation as well. As for working on another one of Robert’s books… Let’s just say that you might be hearing more of Danbury Collins. But that’s all I am saying.

Can you tell us about the theatre work you’d working on?

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I have been over in Wellington, New Zealand, working on the production of my new play, The Serena Syndrome. Early on in 2007, I decided to premiere the play at the New Zealand International Fringe Festival in February/March 2008. Fast forward a few months later and I was in Wellington, assembling my cast and directing the piece. It’s been an incredible experience and the play was well received by the arts media in Wellington. Neil and I will now be working on an adaptation of the play for radio when I get back to London in March. No rest for the wicked, as they say.


Danny Eastman’s website is at www.dannyeastman.com. Details of his play can be found at www.theserenasyndrome.com.

Thanks, as always, for our friends at Forbidden Planet for introducing us to Danny.