Australian actor Matthew Le Nevez knows his way around thrillers filmed in far-flung locations.
He’s been to South Africa for his role in 2019 drama “The Widow” on Amazon opposite Kate Beckinsale, playing her character’s presumed-dead husband who seemingly turns up in the Congo. Although currently an LA resident, he’s also done several shows in his native country, including “Offspring” and “The Kettering Incident.”
For the Amazon thriller “Absentia,” which he joined last season, Le Nevez traveled to Bulgaria to play Special Agent Cal, an ex-Navy SEAL who develops an intimate bond with FBI special agent Emily Byrne (series star Stana Katic). She disappeared while hunting a serial killer and was presumed dead — until she returned, six years later, with no memory of her missing time.
Le Nevez, 41, spoke to The Post about Season 3 of “Absentia” and more.
What attracted you to “Absentia”?
I was working in South Africa on “The Widow” and I was sent the scripts. They were really exciting, and the character brief for Cal was intriguing — and really, it was getting the chance to work with Stana [Katic]. I’ve joined a few shows now in their second years, and sometimes that can be tricky. But you can be fortunate because the show has found its voice. The thing that excites me the most was jumping aboard a show that really feels like an indie movie — and shoots like a European indie film.
So you were a Stana Katic fan?
I hadn’t really seen any of [her long-running ABC series] “Castle.” I had been in Australia working on my own career at the time that it aired. It was really that initial meeting [for “Absentia”] and seeing whether the audition would go well … and Stana’s drive. She has such a strong passion for truth in storytelling and also a desire to elevate everyone on set, all the other actors and the crew. When you get to work with someone who has such selflessness, it motivates the whole process. And we have an incredible crew in Bulgaria.
“Absentia” is set in Boston but shot in Sofia, Bulgaria. How did you find it there?
It’s one of those places that has such amazing culture and people — yet it’s historically had such strife. It’s been occupied for hundreds of years by other nations. Many of the Bulgarians keep a lot of traditions and honor to themselves, but once you get to know them, they’re the most incredible people. I loved it. I really miss it. Watching the show over the weekend brought back so many lovely memories for me.
A lot of your roles have been in action thrillers. Is that a genre you particularly like?
It’s always great learning a new skill for a role. I got to meet Navy SEALS for “Absentia.” I met men who had been to war and I met a gentleman who’s won a Purple Heart and a Bronze Medal and now he’s a dear friend. That’s the most interesting thing about this job, and often in that [thriller] genre, you do get the chance to meet people who have done incredible things. And, from a storytelling point of view, I do enjoy action … turning a page quickly when I’m reading a script.
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