NBC’s summer series CAMP has turned on the sizzle with the romance between Robbie (Tim Pocock) and Sarah (Dena Kaplan), childhood sweethearts considering their future together beyond their carefree summer days. In a recent exclusive interview, star Tim Pocock shared what he loves about this fun series and playing the ultimate good-guy who may get his heart-broken.
So what drew you to CAMP and the role of Robbie Matthews?
TIM: I got the script back in January and I was originally going to audition for the role of Cole. I liked the script, as it was really funny and well-written. But when I told my agents, “I really like this Robbie guy,” they were like, “Well, let’s just wait and see what age range they are going to be looking at.” Luckily enough, the stars aligned and I got the role.
What do you most admire about Robbie?
TIM: He’s a very admirable guy. He’s really nice and takes care of everybody and is very responsible. He’s also incredibly empathetic and always putting other people before himself, which is great. One of the things that I liked that is shown in the series is that people take advantage of that, of his good nature and that he’s a nice sort of reliable guy. Sarah probably only feels comfortable exploring outside of their relationship because she knows that he is such a good guy. She doesn’t feel threatened by the way that he behaves. So she takes advantage of his better nature. I guess it’s showing that “nice guys finish last.”
What’s the story of the Robbie/Sarah romance? We just know that they have known each other for a very long time.
Tim: They’ve known each other for about 12 years. They have been together sort of on and off ever since. They are always together every summer when they are at summer camp, but they don’t see each other during the year. But obviously it means a lot to Robbie. Originally in the first episode there was a sequence that was written in that unfortunately due to time didn’t make the final cut. It was a flashback sequence about the Robbie/Sarah relationship where you saw them over the years — little snippets of their growing love for each other and it was really very sweet. Even though it never ended up making the final cut, Dena who plays Sarah and myself, it was very handy for us to know that because we were able to understand their relationship a lot better.
The relationship between Robbie and Sarah looks so effortless on screen. Was that something that just came naturally as you worked into that role?
TIM: Dena and I have been lucky enough to have worked before on a TV series. We sort of played love interests then as well. So I guess we have a bit of a history of being able to create chemistry with each other, which I think is awesome because it can be quite awkward just having to create those relationships with someone just off the bat. So if you feel comfortable enough making that eye contact with that person and being that physically close to that person, then you’re at an advantage. We were quite lucky that Dena and I already had that language between us.
Why would you say that Robbie is absolutely confident in his soul that Sarah is the only girl for him? He doesn’t seem to be swayed into looking at other women.
TIM: I think that goes down to the fact that he’s like a small country boy. He’s from the local town that the camp’s in, so he’s never really ventured far out. I also think because it’s always been him and his mom and he’s always been responsible for his mom, he’s not really the kind of guy that goes out looking for someone. I think Sarah was just the love of his life. They met at a very young age and she was probably the first girl he ever kissed and I think he just fell head over heels for her. He never went out to try and see if there was anyone else out there, which is really sweet. It’s very old-fashioned.
We haven’t quite seen it, but we’re getting an inkling after this last episode that Miguel may pose a threat to the Robbie/Sarah relationship. Is he going to be a threat or is that going to be just a passing fancy?
TIM: I don’t think it’s going to be a passing thing. There will be a turning point coming up in the next couple of weeks and it makes Robbie question everything. By the end of the season, Robbie is quite a different person to the person he was at the beginning. It was a lot of fun for me to get to work with as an actor. I got to go on that journey with him. He starts to see what’s going on and he starts to realize that he’s been taken advantage of. He starts questioning his relationships and how he carries himself, his dreams and ambitions and everything. But Miguel is definitely going to pose a threat, that’s for sure.
We also have seen Robbie’s mom and her gambling addiction problems. Is that storyline going to come back as well?
TIM: Not really. It was just a nice little thing that we know about him. I’d like to do more storylines with the character of the mother because I really enjoyed working with Kat Stewart, who played that role. I also liked knowing that about him, but unfortunately being stuck at camp, he doesn’t get much chance to see his mom.
It was also a surprise that Robbie turned to Rodger for help. We just weren’t aware either before or even since that Robbie had any kind of relationship with Rodger. What do you think drove Robbie to consider him as the person he could go to in that moment?
TIM: Because Robbie’s been at the camp for 12 years or so, and he’s been a counselor at Little Otter for a lot of that time, I think he’s someone who has had a few dealings with Rodger — whether it is in organizing activities and that sort of thing. So they have a sort of professional relationship and Rodger is the kind of person that likes to show off that he’s got money; and in that moment, Robbie would have thought, “Do I go to Mac? No, I can’t do that. She won’t have the money” and the only other thing that presented itself to him would be Rodger. I think that’s why he’s so loathe to do it, but it’s all he can do.
It was a brave scene because Robbie didn’t want to admit that he couldn’t come up with the money on his own, but because it was for his mom he was willing to go to someone he may not like that much to get it.
TIM: Absolutely. And it was a lot of fun to play because he need the money and it was important to him, but he doesn’t like Rodger. So he has to be polite and tread very carefully because he needs the $700. But then Rodger is being quite arrogant and just being Rodger really. So it was hard dealing with all that and trying to keep a lid on his emotions while just really wanting to rip the guy’s head off. (Laughs)
Another feature of the story is the beautiful lake. Yet every time we see someone jump into it, I keep thinking it’s got to be freezing cold. What was it like working in the water there?
TIM: The water actually wasn’t that cold. It was quite warm. But it was 10 meters deep though, so that was kind of scary thinking about what kind of creatures were in there. They also had a blue-green algae bloom. I’m not sure if that’s something that happens in the States at all. But it’s an algae that can be toxic to humans and that bloomed in the lake about 3 days before we were due to start shooting, which caused quite a bit of drama ’cause we weren’t actually allowed in the water for a few weeks. So we had to do all the water scenes sort of altogether, which was days on end being in the water and people pruning. But I really liked it. I love being in the water swimming and that sort of thing. So I was always putting my hand up, saying “I’ll go in.”
What was the funnest part of working on the first season of CAMP?
TIM: I enjoyed the whole thing. I do have little snippets of memories here and there. I really loved doing the scene in the boat in the first episode after they raided Ridgefield and we’re all in the boat celebrating and there’s that lovely moment between Robbie and Sarah where they smile and Kip and Marina have a bit of a connection. That was a lot of fun. Just to be power boating across the lake at night, which is cool. I also enjoyed all the campfire scenes because we started shooting at the end of Australian summer and right through into winter, so it got kind of cold towards the end there and it was nice by the campfire where it was warm.
With so much fun stuff on the screen, was it just as fun filming behind the scenes as well?
TIM: Absolutely! We had a lot of fun because the set and location we filmed at was completely built for the show. We didn’t do any filming in a studio; it was all completely on location. So we had a lot of time actually there in the camp with all the cabins all around and the dining hall, and we’d be hanging out a lot just because that’s the nature of the film and TV industry — the job is “hurry up and wait” — so we’d be sitting around or hanging out in our trailers and we’d play games and stuff. So we had a great time.
So in some ways you all were actually camping.
TIM: (Laughs) Pretty much. The location was about an hour outside where our accommodations were, so it would take an hour back and forth to get there everyday. We were sort of in the middle of these mountains and there wasn’t much cellphone reception, so we were completely cutoff from the rest of the world.
Since so many of your scenes were with Dena, who would you have liked to have worked more with on-screen?
TIM: Roger [Shepherd]. I would have loved to had more scenes with Roger because it was a lot of fun working with him. He’s got quite a personality off-screen and he’s really easy to work with. I just really liked his character and I enjoyed playing that scene with him. I would have also like a bit more one-on-ones with Rachel [Griffiths] — Robbie and Mac scenes. That really didn’t happen. In quite a few scenes I was with her in terms of there’s a lot of people in the scene and she might throw a line or two my way, but I never had a big hefty one-on-one deep and meaningful scene. So that would have been great. She’s such a legend of the screen and I was so excited to have the opportunity to work with her. But, you know, Season 2 maybe. I’d love to see a Season 2. So fingers crossed.
What kind of teasers can you offer for this next episode called “Heatwave”?
TIM: Everyone just goes nuts in the heatwave. Obviously the title gives it away that it gets a bit hot at Camp Little Otter and everything just starts to erupt. So a lot of relationships get tested. People say things that they will grow to regret. Everything goes just a little bit nuts for a couple of days. So that may give people an inkling of stuff that’s going on. Then, obviously, there’s a lot of skin shown in that episode as well, because hot people tend to wear less clothing. That may entice you into watching it as well. (Laughs)
Besides the Robbie/Sarah relationship, what other relationship are you rooting for?
TIM: Kip and Marina all the way! That’s like the cutest storyline ever. They look so great together and the way that it slowly unfolds is so beautiful to watch. Then I was kind of surprised having read the scripts and everything, I’m also enjoying Kip and Chloe as well. Natasha Bassett who played Chloe is just really hilarious in that role and it’s kind of nice to see that. So I’m a bit torn.
Are there any other projects that you’re working on that you can talk about that fans may be curious about?
TIM: There’s actually a couple of films that I’ve got coming out later this year. One of them is called “Battleground” which is a war film set in World War I, where I play an Irish soldier. So it’s very different than CAMP. We actually filmed that quite a while ago, so it’s about time it got released. I think that’s coming out here in the States mid-November. So people can keep an eye out for that. And then I have a horror film that I did last year that I play an American in as well. It’s called “Lemon Tree Passage,” but I’m not sure when it’s getting released. I think it’s going to film festivals and that sort of thing first, but probably towards the end of the year or early next year for that one.
With Tim’s films looming on the horizon fans will want to keep an eye out for both films, and be sure to tune in for new episodes of CAMP on Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.
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