The multi-talented Jason Godfrey talks about his latest role on TV, keeping fit and how much he loves to write.

SINGAPORE (Apr 29): People always envy writers who do celebrity interviews without realising that sometimes, it can be challenging to get them to talk, for reasons such as jet lag or fatigue after numerous back-to-back interviews. And then there are those who are obliging, funny and informative, and a real pleasure to talk to.

Jason Godfrey falls into the latter group. From the get-go, he waxes lyrical about everything and anything we ask him. He begins by discussing his current TV role as the very serious James Shelley, the reluctant heir to his father’s empire on local TV series Kin.

“In every scene, I am angry and irritated,” Godfrey says of the role, laughing. Quickly turning serious, he adds: “The character of [James] Shelley has evolved and viewers will get to see another side of him.” Kin is a long-form drama that is telecast every weekday night. It revolves around the loves and lives of the Shelley family and their circle of friends as well as their enemies.

The Canadian-Filipino’s love for acting began when he studied theatre at the University of Waterloo in Canada in the mid-1990s. He soon landed roles in Animorphs and Paradise Falls before leaving the country to model internationally. He has appeared in dozens of commercials, even appearing alongside George Clooney for Mercedes in 2012.

Godfrey’s early acting stints in Singapore include TV series such as Mata Mata (2013), The Hush (2016), Left Behind (2016) and BRA (2017).

He has a degree in environmental studies and has spoken about environmental issues at TEDx Weld Quay and Green is the New Black. He also writes and contributes to local publications in Singapore and Malaysia.

Godfrey arrived punctually at Space Furniture, Southeast Asia’s largest and most progressive retailer of luxury lifestyle and contemporary furniture design, on Bencoolen Street, for our fashion shoot. His past experience as a model showed during the shoot and he was professional and friendly with the glam crew as he changed into outfits from Brunello Cucinelli and Ermenegildo Zegna, and tried on Audemars Piguet timepieces to match.

In between shots, Godfrey talked to Options while seated on a very plush sofa on the second level of the 3,700 sq m Space Furniture. Below are excerpts of the interview.

What made you decide to enter the entertainment industry?

It’s about the money. Plus, I don’t have any other skills. No, seriously, I always liked doing improv when I was in high school. As far as acting is concerned, I have been lucky because I have had the opportunity to act in Singapore and be on shows because I am getting paid to act.

How did your love for environmental studies begin?

I think it started because my father was into it. We camped out a lot in Canada and he instilled in me the idea of taking care of the environment. I don’t think I do enough. I like to think I do my part but look, I just had coffee from a throwaway cup that I shouldn’t have... there’s always more that I can do.

How do you prepare for your role as James Shelley on Kin?

I think it is about trying to connect with something in the character. I am still trying to figure that stuff out because acting has come rather late for me. Even though I did it at a young age, I don’t think I really started to figure stuff out until the past couple of years. I look at the character and try to figure out ways in which I can connect to that character.

It also depends on what kind of actor you are as well. I am not a character actor... I know it sounds stupid but you can bring elements of yourself into the character. Then it becomes more natural because I feel like that’s what TV acting is about; it’s about trying to be natural.

So what part of you did you bring to the role?

I brought the angry and irritated part of me. But seriously, the character is at the point where he is at the crossroads in his life. He has broken loose and is not so angry and irritated anymore. This is more fun for me too because in every scene it was like, “Ah, I am angry and irritated” again. I myself get angry and irritated doing it too.

How do you stay in shape?

Not enough. One of the directors on Kin said, ‘Oh Jason, we were looking at your wardrobe photos and you gained some weight. You have a shower scene coming up, you know that right?’ This is like two months before the scene. I was fat-shamed!

And did you up your workout?

Nah, I did not. I just ate more. I did. I try to do things that I like, such as rock climbing and Krav Maga. But because of my busy schedule, I do like 100 burpees a day at home. I did that for a month and lost a lot of weight, so I keep trying. The thing is, once you get faster, you can do it in about seven minutes. Even when I am tired at home, I tell myself, ‘Oh come on, you don’t have 10 minutes to do this?’ It’s like there’s no real excuse, right?

Modelling, acting, hosting, writing... you have done it all. Which one are you most comfortable with?

It depends on the project. It is like a character that you truly enjoy. Same for writing. I really enjoy writing and I feel like writing is probably the thing that I am best at. Then again, it depends on what I am writing about.

What do you like writing about?

I like irreverent humour. I like stuff with narrators who are unreliable (not all of them are) because I like the contrast. The narrator telling you one thing, but what’s happening is quite different. I think that’s funny. So I like to write stuff like that.

What advice would you give someone trying to break into the entertainment industry?

Act as much as you can even if no one is paying you to do it. The more you spend doing it, the more comfortable you become. And video-tape yourself and watch it and be a harsh critic of yourself. Watch and go ‘Wow, I am shitty and I need to do a lot better’. Try to edit yourself.

Is there something you have not done yet and have a desire to try out?

I would love to try directing. I think that writing is storytelling and directing is storytelling too, so it just makes logical sense that you graduate from writing to directing. That is definitely something that I would like to try.