Soulmates Q&A — Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Jonah)
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, who plays Jonah on this week's episode of Soulmates, talks about when his character first falls for Mateo, how Mateo's soulmate complicates matters, and the fun caper-feel of this episode.
Q: Have you ever worked on a project based in the future?
A: I really don't think so. I've done alternate versions of reality, which is obviously all fiction. Doing this show, it didn't feel like the future, which is probably a testament to its concept of the show. It was obviously set in the future, but I felt like we were based in reality. It's the small things like how our phones look or a certain billboard that tells viewers all of this isn't actually happening now. It's really lovely to think all of this is really about the people and the story—it doesn't feel completely alien to where we are now.
Q: What drew you to this project?
A: I was right in the middle of filming something and I had to audition for [Soulmates] and I was like, "Hmmm, no, this is not going to happen. I have too much work to do." But I read it and thought this is everything I love to watch and the script is so fun. There's so much humor and humanity in it that I was like this is Romancing the Stone in 2035 and I've got to do this. I've never seen that with two gay men—this is not something that's done often or ever. Plus I love caper movies, they're just really fun.
I also loved the crime aspect. I love the fact that you've got these two people going through this journey within a day, and it's really lovely and mostly fun. With Jonah, there's such a vulnerability as well. So there was that duality of running around, being silly, riding bikes, getting shot, blah blah blah blah, and romance all coupled with the fact that this person's a little lost. So I raced from Wales where I was shooting and ran back to London. I looked at the script on the train, did my audition, and then went back to Wales. I'm really glad they said yes.
Q: What do you think Jonah's first impression of Mateo is?
A: I think he sees an opposite. They're both pretty lost, and obviously he's a good-looking person, so there is that. But I think he sees his opposite and he's drawn to that. I think that is really what draws him in, that this person is grumpy and he doesn't hide that. And obviously Bill [Skarsgård], (who plays Mateo), didn't get hit by any branches of the ugly tree, so I'm sure that's part of it too.
Q: We learn pretty quickly that Jonah can't be trusted after he steals Mateo's passport and sells it. Is Jonah a bad guy?
A: I think that was out of necessity. I don't think that he's a bad person. I think he's in a bad situation and that's how he survives. I also don't think that Jonah decided he would do that immediately. I think it was more about feeling rejected, so he was like, "I may as well. It's what I do anyway!" So I don't think he's bad. For some people the world has slightly forgotten them, so they say, "Well, f--- you. I'm gonna forget about you as well." He's lost, but I don't think he's bad by any means.
Q: When Jonah first sets out to help Mateo find his passport, is he really looking for it or is he just running Mateo around in circles?
A: I think there was probably a shorter path to that (laughs). But I think he knows that he has to do it. He knows that if you lose a passport in a foreign country, you're not going to suddenly stop looking for it. But I think there's definitely a degree of reluctance, and I don't think he wants him to go. He knows that [Mateo] has to go, that he has a soulmate, and it's not Jonah.
Q: When do you think Jonah realizes there's something more going on between him and Mateo?
A: It's pretty early on. When they first hook up, I think there's something that happens to Jonah, but it probably doesn't happen to Mateo. We see that—there's a shot where Jonah goes into the bathroom and he's got a sock over his mouth and he's just like, "Oh God," because I think he's actually already got the feels for this person. When Mateo says, "I'm going to leave," he's like, "I'm never going to see you again and you got some money, so see ya!" But I think for Jonah it's pretty early on. I'm not a grifter, but I imagine that it's a pretty lonely life, so I think they might be drawn to someone immediately.
Q: How does Mateo being on his way to find his soulmate affect Jonah's behavior in the development of their relationship?
A: He's probably extremely jealous. Jealous not just because he wanted Mateo to want him, but also because he hasn't got a soulmate. Jonah said he thinks love exists, but just not for him, which doesn't really make sense in the world he's living in. It's like how certain people say, "I'm not going to get an iPhone or an Android. I'm just going to get a flip phone." Jonah lives in a different direction of where the world's going. He's met someone in real life without an app, without a soulmate, without anything, and really likes this person. So I think he's probably like, "Well, this is real. I'm here, and you're still going away to someone else."
Q: Was this episode as fun to film as it looked? Especially those bikes…
A: I lost weight! We were running around like mad men. It was a lot of fun. Marco [Kreuzpaintner], the director, was great, and it was just a really great experience. Madrid isn't as warm as you think it is at that time of year. We were both wearing shorts and we were freezing, but the crew was amazing. It's hard not to have fun doing those things. It's a caper, so you're actually doing it. You're actually running away from fireworks on these little bikes. I've done a lot of different jobs where you're just sat behind a desk. But there's movement in this script—we're running around and you're going to have fun!
Read a Q&A with Laia Costa, who played Libby on last week's episode.
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