The logistics of looking into the lives of the Mallrats before the virus was an exciting one, so when Series two decided to examine a back-story of Martin, Bray, Trudy and Ebony there was a lot to think about.
The script writers got to bite into a whole new storyline along with the bringing back of Daniel James (Zoot) after his death early in Series 1.
So how did Zoot become Zoot?
Martin was Bray’s younger brother. They grew up in a stable and normal household and the family was quite well off. They had a fairly good life before the virus.
As with most families and with this one there was sibling rivalry between the two brothers. Bray was popular at school, got great marks and was head of the basketball team. Martin on the other hand was shy and quiet and was increasingly jealous of Bray.
Martin had a crush on one of his classmates – Trudy. She liked Martin too but she like Bray even more. Bray was a year older than Martin and something about him caught Trudy’s eye.
BRAY liked Trudy too but he was not as smitten as she was with him at first. Yes, Trudy was pretty but Bray also liked to her innocence, and in some ways naivety. Bray started to fall for Trudy the more he saw her…
TRUDY was flattered with Martin’s attention to begin with. He seemed like a nice guy. But when Bray stopped seeing Trudy and started seeing Ebony, Trudy was jealous of Ebony and started going out with Martin instead. Maybe part of her was “using” Martin to try to make Bray jealous himself. Trudy liked Martin – but deep down, she never really loved him…
When Martin realised that Trudy was actually in love with Bray he was full of anger. Then the virus hit. Martin was confused, angry and lost. He decided that nothing and no one would ever hurt him again. Power and Chaos took shape.
Series 2 in the making
In October 1999, Danny James (ZOOT) was back at the Cloud 9 studios reading scripts and learning lines. He was preparing for his comeback.
Danny was going to film his character Martin (Zoot) – and more than that, show how “Martin” became “Zoot”, and how the Locos were born.
“It was a weird and challenging experience” says Danny James, “because first of all when we did the flashback scenes it had been a while since I had played Zoot. But the opportunity to play the transformation from Martin to Zoot was fantastic”.
Dwayne Cameron (BRAY), Meryl Cassie (EBONY) and Antonia Prebble (TRUDY) were still portraying their regular characters in the series – did it feel weird, fun, challenging to all of a sudden play their characters in a different way?…
“The experience was all of the above” says Dwayne Cameron. “Basically, you go in focused on your character, the situation they are in and the surrounding people/characters in the scene. The only real difference in this future is the priorities like food and shelter, et cetera – not TV, phone calls and shopping”.
Did you have to act differently to take account of the playing the same character but younger and in different circumstances?
“Well, it wasn’t so much the fact that the character was younger but Martin is virtually a completely different person to Zoot” says Daniel James, “so yes I did have to act differently because Martin is much more innocent and definitely less streetwise than Zoot is”.
And for Bray? “I played him a lot more innocent and untouched” says Dwayne Cameron. “I played him wise still, but more like the average teenager of today. He was worldly – but more like a lot of teenagers, in a little bubble”.
What was it like wearing different clothes and having a different “look” for the character?
“It was actually really cool,” says Dwayne Cameron, “being the same character to an extent and wearing a totally different costume for a totally different reason”.
“It was a little strange,” says Daniel James, “but it didn’t take too long to get used to”.
Did you feel that you “got to know” and understand your character more by seeing their origins and how they “grew up”?
“It gave me a great sense of depth for the character” says Daniel James, “as knowing a person’s past makes understanding their behavior that much easier”.
“Definitely” agrees Dwayne Cameron, “but I figured that before I even did it. The good thing was that you could create exactly how this person was before the virus struck and killed all their parents and relatives”.