If there’s one lesson to learn about the BBC series “Misfits,” it’s that it’s youthful offenders turned youthful offenders with superpowers don’t really learn lessons. But that doesn’t mean actor actor Nathan Jarrett-Stewart’s character Curtis is the same chip-on-his-shoulder athlete doing community service on a drug charge. “He’s kind of chilled out a bit more,” Jarrett-Stewart says of his character, “he’s more accepting of his situation–although no one wants to be there–[but] he’s learned to laugh after four years.”
The actor, who worked several roles in TV series before landing his part on “Misfits” back in 2009, attributes the change in the character to his own evolution as an actor as well as to the series’ writing. Among the “Misfits” cast, Curtis feels like the star character when it comes to facing the biggest upheavals in their lives, going from a fallen track star to offender with time travel abilities, to part-time woman, to bartender. This season, he faces yet another change: new cast members donning the orange jumpsuit for their court-mandated community service (which usually translates into misadventures with sex, violence, and murder) as the series enters its fourth season.
“Senior cast,” Stewart-Jarrett laughs when I ask him how it feels to be the remaining holdover from the very first season. “It feels nice. The show’s got a little bit of a different energy this year and being able to see that change–I don’t feel very senior, but it feels nice.” The end of last season saw the departures of Iwan Rheon (Simon) and Antonia Thomas (Alisha) with legal troubles preventing Lauren Socha to return for season four as Kelly.
That means that while the show is still about youth offenders dealing with the (ir)responsibility that comes with great power, we can expect a different vibe in season four from new additions Carla Crome as Jess and Nathan McMullen as Finn. “Anytime you change the cast of the show… the tone and the pace slightly changes,” Stewart-Jarrett elaborates. While these kinds of shakeups could be disruptive to a long-running series, the actor sees this as an opportunity to shake things up and avoid getting too comfortable.
Stewart-Jarrett jokes that as the series has gone on, this change has allowed his character to grow–and become less mature as the story progressed. “I think that he became less mature and more part of the group,” he explains, allowing the character to get the chip he’s been carrying off his shoulder and allowing him to enjoy his youth. “We kind of cross lines over the years,” he adds, noting that he and his character have grown together as the series has progressed. He feels his own joviality made its way into the character’s natural self-seriousness (he rarely cracked a smile during the entirety of the first season).
That’s not to say that he was consciously nudging the character in one way or another. For him, “Part of the joy of the character is being surprised when you read the scripts, [being] shocked and happy.” He talked about laughing out loud with the rest of the cast when getting scripts for previous seasons in their hands and experiencing the shocks and changes in their characters. “You always want your character to go on a journey,” and Stewart-Jarrett places a lot of stock in the “Misfits” writers with guiding his character to whatever next bizarre turn will be in store for him.
While he wouldn’t elaborate on how the new additions would be affecting the show, he did feel that with new characters in the mix, the dynamics of the group would change by necessity, with the usual jockeying for position. When I ask if he feels this would allow Curtis to step up into a leadership role, Stewart-Jarrett is quick to shoot that level of maturity down in the character. He does allow that “[Curtis] does look out for them in a way. Not in a ’leadership’ way, but what he’s seen and what he’s done allows him to look after them a little bit more.
He also suggested that we keep an eye on Joseph Gilgun’s character Rudy this season, the hard-drinking, crass season three addition who can split into two versions of himself.
Joining the show seems like a natural fit for the longtime comics fan, who says that growing up he was deep into the X-Men (even if he wasn’t allowed to collect the actual comics). “You know, I really kind of liked the whole power thing,” adding that if he could have his own powers, he’d love to have telepathy, teleportation, and telekinesis (take note: you should always have a wishlist of superpowers in your back pocket).
You can catch the fourth season of “Misfits” on Hulu.