'Drastic times call for drastic measures': Troy Doherty teases 'The Last Ship' S05 and his superhero ambition
Postapocalyptic naval drama 'The Last Ship' has set sail for its fifth and final season amidst newer threats - one that could translate into the next world war in the altered universe created by TNT. Since the very first season, in fact, the show has pushed the envelope when it comes to the high-octane drama and the endurance power of each and every character, a challenge that Clayton Swain aka actor Troy Doherty has willingly taken upon himself.
His earnestness to actively involve himself with the pandemic at hand not only gets him noticed but also puts him at the center of all action. Moving into the final season, though, this Tom Chandler protégé will have bigger battles to fight - if not with "fists or words," at least with his mind. He knows he is smart and that he shouldn't be underestimated, especially in the face of the brand new situation involving the latest virus attack.
From gearing up the intensity in the final season to sneak peek into the drastic times and his personal ambitions for a superhero role, Doherty dishes it all, in an exclusive interview with Meaww.
We are thrilled and looking forward to seeing Clayton Swain in 'The Last Ship'. Where do we find this young, ambitious cadet in season 5?
In season five, we find Clayton Swain at the U.S. Naval Academy in a class taught by Tom Chandler, himself. Tom keeps Clayton after class to talk about the paper Clayton wrote. Being attacked by another virus seems like old news, but recent events show that this virus isn’t like anything we’ve seen in the past. Tom Chandler needs someone who knows how to figure out what’s happened and who better to figure it out than the student who wrote a paper on it?
Will we see the Tom Chandler protégé evolve (in ways that are not known to us) in the upcoming season? If so, how?
You will see Clayton evolve as the season progresses. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and if that means growing up faster than expected, then that’s what Clayton must do. Clayton goes from being someone who wants to fight to someone who fights unconditionally. Maybe not with fists or words, but with his mind. Clayton is a very brilliant student and protégé and should never be underestimated.
What was the experience of sharing screen space with Eric Dane? Did you receive any personalized notes and advice for your role from him? Who else are you close to on the set?
It was exhilarating. Being able to share screen space with such a brilliant and talented actor like Eric Dane was truly a blessing. I was always a little nervous when we would film together because I didn’t want to let him down. He would always give you 100% and sometimes that was intimidating, but actually, it helped me drop into the gravity of the situations we were in.
As for advice, not that I can recall. I do distinctly remember being nervous about a big monologue I had, and after the first take, without anyone else noticing, he smirked at me and nodded. It was his way of saying 'You nailed it.' It made me feel pretty great, not going to lie. As for the other cast members, it was hard not to be close. All of them were so nice and caring. It felt like a big family. I remember all of us would sit in our chairs and Adam Baldwin, Charles Parnell, and Emerson Brooks were all talking about golf. It was fascinating to listen to them talk about a game that I was absolutely terrible at! Since then, I’ve actually started golfing. They got me hooked.
There's no doubt that 'The Last Ship' is going to feature jam-packed action and high-octane drama this time around as well. But how do you top the intensity of that epic S04 finale?
Oh, just you wait.
How did you land the role of Clayton? Tell us about your journey.
I remember getting the audition and thinking, 'Oh this would be so cool to book.' I remember going in to read with Gary Zuckerbrod, who is an amazing casting director, and I did the first two scenes, no problem. We moved on to the third scene, and within 15 seconds, he stops me. We start over, and again, about 15 seconds in, he stops me. We did this probably 10 times. Which, as an actor was honestly making me nervous. This has never happened to me before. Then Gary says, 'You are so perfect for this, we are going to get this right. Go outside. I’m going to bring someone else in, and then I’ll bring you back in.'
So, I went outside, ran it a few times, went back into the room, did two takes, and left. It was such a different experience for me. About four days later, I got a callback. It also happened to be the same day that I was moving apartments, so it was a long day. Welcome to LA. I went into the callback, and I’m not going to lie, I nailed it. Around a week later, I got the call!
Passion/career-wise, which happened first - music or acting? Also, tell us about the musical influences in your life.
Growing up, I would sing around the house, in the car, in the shower, you name it. I ended up doing regional theater in Manasquan, NJ, and fell in love with performing. So, I guess career-wise, acting came first. I just loved the idea of playing another character. I still made it a point to work on my music, but acting was the profession I wanted to be in. Man, there are so many musical influences… I’ve always loved The Script, Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Michael Buble, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC. I know none of them sound anything alike, but I love them each for different reasons, and I love a lot of different types of music. Whether it's musical theater or Rappers Delight, good music is good music. I love it.
What was your idea behind 'Citizen’s Arrest'? Are you happy with the kind of response your debut EP garnered?
Well, I made the album back when I was 17 and the idea at the time was, 'here are 5 songs that sound similar, but can also be so different.' I think I was still figuring out my sound – what I liked and what I didn’t like. Now, at the lovely age of 22, I’ve finally figured out what that is… for now. Of course, I am happy! I love the thought of people enjoying my music!
Quick question - what are the top 5 songs on your playlist at the moment?
Top 5 is tough since it changes probably every week…but if I had to choose? I’d probably say: 'New York State of Mind' by Billy Joel, 'Drew Barrymore' by Bryce Vine, 'Hotel Key' by Old Dominion, 'Natural' by Imagine Dragons, and 'Shoot Me Straight' by Brothers Osborne.
What's next in your pipeline? Any new EP on the horizon? What kind of role do you see yourself doing after ‘The Last Ship?’
I have a movie coming out in the next six months! So be on the lookout for more info on that. I'm always writing new music and recently have been thinking about putting some new music out! As for the role? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a superhero, you know? But I’m really up for anything. I love being an actor and being able to be a bunch of different characters in different situations, so I’m excited for whatever comes my way!
Do you hope to get behind the cameras someday, direct or write maybe?
I would love to! I am already writing my own things! I have written two pilots and I’m in the middle of writing a few film scripts. I also have written a sketch show called 'Roommates' that is on my Instagram, @TroyDoherty, and I am planning on putting out another sketch show in the near future! As for directing and producing, definitely. It’s all part of the master plan.