Primeval's Andrew-Lee Potts Geeks Out Over Time Travel and Dinos
Dinosaur hunting's cool and fun, especially if you're a dino geek like Andrew-Lee Potts, star of the sci-fi series Primeval. The British show, which wrapped its second season last weekend on BBC America, follows a group of scientists investigating the presence of temporal anomalies (laymen's terms: rips in time). There's more to it than that, of course. Those vortexes allow prehistoric and futuristic creatures to enter the present, which Connor Temple (Potts) and the gang must fight off. The Brit, who shot behind-the-scenes footage for the Volume One DVD, in stores now, chatted with TVGuide.com about his dorky counterpart, the show's similarity to Jurassic Park, what it's like dating a pop star, and what's next in season three, premiering next year.
TVGuide.com: The show's developed a cult following here on BBC America, but I would say most people still don't know much about it. How would you describe it to American audiences?
Andrew-Lee Potts: Oh, god! I don't know. I suppose the easiest thing I can compare it to is Jurassic Park, so Jurassic Park meets the A-Team. I suppose it is like Lost in a way. It's got a smaller cast than Lost, a little ensemble cast, which is quite rare over here. You've been doing [shows with ensemble casts] for ages in America. It's a group of five very, very different people who get flung together and have to sign an official secret pact because they're witnesses to one of the most amazing things ever to happen on Earth - these anomalies, or rips in time. And we're fighting dinosaurs. Dinosaur hunters.
TVGuide.com: It's translating well here. Did you ever think about if it would do well in the U.S. at all?
Potts: Oh, no, not at all. When we started it, we were taking such a huge risk because we've never really been brave with supernatural stuff and the sci-fi genre in this country like you guys, so when our show came out, it was a huge risk.
TVGuide.com: How did you get the part?
Potts: I've only ever done out and out serious roles. I've played, like, five serial killers. When this role came up, it was a complete shock. He was written as a very stereotypical geek. Honestly, when I read the script, I thought it was gonna be s—t because we had nothing like it in Britain! I met the producers and director and just had a laugh because I couldn't say all the technical words. [I guess] there was something about me the director really liked, like maybe they don't need the stereotypical geek, maybe they could make him more eccentric and just out there.
TVGuide.com: Are you a geek in real life?
Potts: [Laughs] No, no. I suppose Connor helped find the geek in me. I didn't think I took myself so seriously as an actor, but he helped me enjoy my job a lot more because he's a breath of fresh air for me in my career. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm like him. I'm probably better with the girls anyway. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Well, how about Abby [Hannah Spearritt] and Connor? Are they finally going to get together next season?
Potts: They continue on their very rocky road of a relationship. Connor has a lot of dramatic changes. He gets put in a higher position. That starts to show Abby that this man has grown up. At the end of the day, he's a complete accidental hero. He has a big emotional arc that kind of changes his view on things, but he will never be really cool. I will give you this tidbit: Through some freak incident, Connor ends up living with Lester, so I have to live with my boss.
TVGuide.com: You and Hannah are dating. How long have you been together?
Potts: About three years. We dated about two weeks years ago. I think I was 18. She was in S Club 7, was massively busy, flying all over the place, and I was in my head that I shouldn't be with a pop star! I don't think S Club was meant for Andrew! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: What's it like working together?
Potts: We're completely 100 percent next to each other [all day], and then we come home and try to have some normality without talking about Primeval. When we're filming, that's all that is. You come up with guidelines. We never pretend we're not together at work, but we don't flaunt it or take advantage of it. We have professional respect for each other. But don't get me wrong, if I make mistakes at work, I don't want my bird seeing them!
TVGuide.com: You directed a behind-the-scenes look, Through the Anomaly, for the DVD. How did that come about?
Potts: I started directing. It's something that I want to do. I started directing short films. The producers saw the short films - and the "making of" the year before was quite dry - and came to me, which was funny because I was asking the same question. So they gave me a camera and off I went and never stopped filming, trying to capture as many moments as I could. It was bit of a learning curve since I'm used to being an actor, thinking about themselves, but with this, I have to think about the temperaments of everyone else.
TVGuide.com: If you could travel to the past or present, where would you go?
Potts: First of all, I'd go to the 70s and watch my mum and dad when they were younger. It'd be really funny! I'd like to watch them younger, get together, get married. It'd be cool! [Laughs]