ABC’s musical comedy Galavant has returned for its second season with a number of new faces. One of those is Muzz Khan as the not quite all together Barry, and the actor spoke to LA Fan Cultures Examiner last week to discuss what it’s like for him to play the interesting character on a show that revels in being as different as possible.
“There was nothing like it on television,” Muzz enthused. “We see a lot of formulaic stuff here in Britain that’s either English-made or American-made. So when something like Galavant comes along, you definitely don’t turn it down!”
Like all of the characters on the show, the role he plays could be generously described as quirky. “Barry’s a stroppy personal assistant who is a bit limited in the intelligence department. That sums him up perfectly,” he laughed. “I really enjoyed working with Robert Lindsay – who plays Wormwood, my boss – and developing a rapport with him.
“We’re kind of like a comedy double act in this, and it was just awe-inspiring seeing a master craftsman like Rob do his thing. He’s effortless and his comic timing and ability to come up with moments of improv genius meant I had to raise my game and compliment him completely,” Muzz continued. “We’d always have little chats just before our takes about what antics to try out in the scene as the cameras rolled – and then pray that the director and producers would let us keep them in! It worked once, I think.”
Of course every actor who appears on Galavant is eventually pulled into a musical number. Singing on television is the kind of thing that can make even the toughest performer nervous, so what was it like for Muzz when that part of the job description came up?
“A joyful triumph – albeit one that really hurt the next day, and maybe the day after that, too!” he told us. “It was, obviously, very exciting to be in a Galavant number. They looked so good on-screen, so it was fascinating to experience them first-hand.
“They’re all-day affairs. The only thing you do that shoot day is the number – rehearse it, do it and then keep doing it until all camera angles are covered,” he explained. “A little trade secret? We wear these flesh-colored electronic ear-pieces which relay the track, so we have the song playing while we sing along to it, to ensure we stay in time and manage to keep up.
“It was so exhausting doing just one number. I have no idea how the rest of the cast manage to do ten or fifteen,” he added. “They’re clearly superhuman.”
But it’s not just the music that has garnered the show a loyal fan following. It’s the tremendous chemistry between its cast, and Muzz said that what you see is exactly what really exists. “There is a lot of humanic and comedic chemistry between us all,” he continued. “The people on Galavant are one big, massive family. We worked together, we ate together, we had fun together.
“I’ve worked on projects where actors don’t socialise with each other when the work is done; not so here. We all looked out for each other and hung out. I can’t wait to see everyone again when I go out to LA for pilot season in February!”
The role of Barry is a huge departure for the actor; you may remember him last year from his part as a gang member in the action-packed miniseries 24: Live Another Day. So what was cooler – playing in Jack Bauer’s sandbox or portraying a singing, bumbling assistant in a medieval musical?
“The thrill of being involved in something like 24 was definitely a real high. The way 24 operates and being a part of this beast of a machine was definitely cool. I had to handle an imitation firearm for the episode, got drilled with how to use one and managed to work out the mechanics of wearing it. That was pretty sick,” he reflected. “But I have to say – Galavant does top it. I mean it’s not every day you can say that you’ve been turned into a GIF. That out-cools everything, right? Thank you, Internet!”
“I like tackling characters that are complex. People that aren’t ‘normal’ or – and I hate this expression – people who are on ‘the fringes of society’. I find these people fascinating. They’re unique, they’re idiosyncratic, they have a story,” Muzz continued. “I’d like to continue working on American television. It’d be great to work with some of the studios on projects, too.
“I’ve always said I just want to continue to work and explore the fabric of the human condition. That’s it. Those are my goals. I’ve just signed with the exceptionally-good Industry Entertainment and am looking forward to seeing how things develop. At drama school, Rupert Friend told me to ‘keep on, keepin’ on’ and that’s all I’ve ever tried to do.”
So given that he’s currently in a musical, what are we most likely to hear Muzz singing in real life?
“Katy Perry,” he revealed. “I love her to bits and have seen her in concert three times. She puts on one hell of a show. Picture me singing her [songs] in an annoyingly-high-pitched voice in the shower, and you have the measure of me. I have a penchant for the Spice Girls, too. Have I lost all street-cred now? Ah, who cares? It’s all rock ‘n’ roll!”
Galavant airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.