• Simon Roptell

ACTOR SPOTLIGHT: Nick Barker Pendree.

I have always loved character actors. Superstar type vehicles or traditional leading roles in movies and drama have really never excited me. My inclination in any dramatic capacity has always been to actors that fully transform into a character. Nick Barker Pendree is such an actor.

Nick’s photographic portfolio came my way when I posted auditions for actors in 2017 for the Top Secret Adventures of Clara Chapman. I was after a wormy, gormless grotty type to play a public nuisance. In person, Nick is the very opposite. He is clean, fit, well-spoken and very pleasant. It was easy to overlook him but there was something about his pressing interest in playing a Peter Sellers, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore type role that made me keen to see him audition. I met him in Hyde Park, Sydney to hear him audition and when he read, It was as if somebody completely different was sitting on the bench next to me. This was the character on paper I had envisioned. He was truly brilliant.

When I was writing Quest for Steel, I wasted no time in writing a role with Nick in mind. But one character became two and I became happy to have him play two roles – that of the Gatekeeper and that of the Riddler(s) or Enigmistas.

The Gatekeeper is a trope in fantasy fiction, but after a few drafts I began to envision this character as part of the gate. Here he guards the Abode of Steel; the resting place of the first steel sword. In this film, as if by some cruel design, this particular sword is imprisoning him in the wall and is keeping him as guard and as a warning to others, in a bid to demonstrate that this is a place you do not enter without caution.

The other role he plays is far less submissive. It is that of the Riddler(s) the god like men who test challengers seeking reign over the lands. At first I thought he should play all three riddlers differently, with a different voice and demeanour, but this would be too easy for Nick, so I set about for him to play the roles with minimal difference as if they were three people, trying to be one. Minimal change for maximum range is a difficult thing for an actor, but Nick, once again displayed his immense skills and showed how proficient he was in this domain.

It is a pleasure working with Nick and he is a fantastic example of how great a combination preparation and transformation is and I look forward to many more endeavours with this artist.

Below is an excerpt of Nick in the Top Secret Adventures of Clara Chapman. Now available to watch through this site.


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