Scottish actor Graham McTavish as Dougal Mackenzie in 'Highlander'.Image: Pinterest
Graham McTavish once walked into a Canadian bar with Mads Mikkelsen, SpongeBob SquarePants and Mike Tyson.
It's not the beginning of perhaps the greatest joke ever, it's just the sort of thing that happens at comic conventions. “The idea of being in a room with those three people in any other world would be impossible,” Graham enthuses.
“And I had the privilege of witnessing Mike Tyson do a very good SpongeBob SquarePants impersonation to [Tom Kenny, the voice of] SpongeBob – that was a surreal moment that could only happen at a convention, and I love those sorts of things: the collision of worlds and subject matter that happens there.”
The Scottish actor will again find himself in the nebula of fandom when he arrives in Australia for Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Expo in April to let loose his own inner nerd at the Melbourne and Gold Coast events.
“Conventions are just a fabulous place to really unlock your inner nerd,” he says, “and I'm not ashamed to admit that my nerd is alive and well and living within me, so when I get the opportunity to go to any of these things I just love it.”
Largely recognised for notable roles such as the dwarf Dwalin in 'The Hobbit' trilogy and clan War Chieftain Dougal Mackenzie in the popular 'Outlander' TV series, Graham has recently been in Melbourne filming the fourth season of AMC's new hit show 'Preacher' in which he reprises his role as complicated antagonist The Saint Of Killers.
Having played a vast array of roles across stage, TV, film and even video games, Graham says as an actor he relishes the chance to play complex characters that aren't delineated by the good versus evil binary often found in comic books.
“What I love the opportunity of doing more than anything is to play the complications and complexity of people's lives, and that happens to come through characters you may play - Dougal Mackenzie in 'Outlander' is a very complicated man: does good things, does bad things,” he explains.
“Even The Saint Of Killers, his motivations at the start of his story are good. This is a man who is trying to give up his past life, and yet that life finds him again and sets him down the path we find him on now.
“There's that struggle that people have within them between sometimes good intentions and sometimes bad consequences of some actions. I think that's a really interesting dynamic to play as an actor, so I always try and avoid seeing characters that I've played as 'good or evil', for sure.”
As both a respected actor and also an avid fan of pop and comic culture, Graham says the relatively new occurrence of conventions such as Supanova provide an intimate connection with fans he now cherishes.
“When I was growing up, the possibility of meeting anyone in a television show or a film - there's no way would that ever have happened,” he says.
“I was a particular fan of shows like 'The Avengers', 'Starsky & Hutch' and 'The Persuaders'... if I had the chance to meet Tony Curtis, Paul Michael Glaser, Diana Rigg, I would have died.”
Supanova Comic-Con & Gaming Expo comes to Melbourne Showgrounds 5-7 April and Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre 12-14 April.