While Darren McMullen spends half of his year living in Los Angeles, the Scottish-born, Melbourne-raised actor and TV host admits he loves returning to Australia, especially to meet up with mates "who get my real, full-on humour, for lack of a better expression," he says. WHO asked McMullen, 35, about his bi-continental life and his new show, Behave Yourself (starting Tues., July 4 at 9 PM on Seven)
Q: What do you miss most about Australia when you are in LA and vice versa?
A: I love being able to go back to Australia and drinking great coffees and eating fantastic food and hanging out with my mates who get my sarcasm, and I like hanging out with my American buddies over here, who are all can-do, positive, 'you can be president if you want to one day,' and just loving life. I could even be tri-continental because I've spent time in London.
Q: On Behave Yourself, you have panelists playing games and answering questions about human behaviour. What made you want to be a part of it?
A: It's about why we do what we do, why we act how we act, why we love whom we love and just exploring all the quirks and irrationality to the human condition. It turns out we are not as unique as we think. There are more things making us similar than driving us apart. I love people watching, just to sit and wonder who's breaking up, who's having an affair, what the dynamic is, is the guy at the table next to me getting fired, and what the waiter is really thinking about the woman who's ordering from him.
Q: Does doing a show like this make you more conscious of your own behaviour?
A: Less actually. I've always thought I was a bit bananas, but it turns out I'm not alone in that. And a lot of the weird and bizarre things I did are statistically quite common. It was rather nice for me, like, I'm not as crazy as I thought! But then the narcissist in me was like, 'Wait, hold on a minute, I'm not as special as I thought!' It was a Catch-22 really.
Q: You are working once again with Lawrence Mooney. What is he like?
A: He's a consummate professional. He's got such a fantastic brain. Hearing the information for the first time, he can turn it into a two-minute joke with a punch-line that everyone can identify with. He's brilliant. He's just really, really good. He really shapes the episodes.
Q: Shooting Behave Yourself here takes you away from your girlfriend, Teen Wolf star Crystal Reed. Is it difficult to keep going back and forth?
A: No, it seems to work. We have this two-week rule and we've kind of had it from the start of our relationship and we have pretty much stuck to it, and that's we're never apart for more than two weeks, so either I'll fly to her or she will fly to me wherever I am. It turns out when I'm working, she hasn't been, so she can fly to wherever I'm shooting, and she just finished a movie in Canada, and I wasn't working at the time, so I was able to visit her in Canada, too. Maybe once or twice it was pushed out to three weeks, but that was about it. It's good. I mean, I don't know if we both have a massive project and we start doing them at the same time, it might start getting difficult, but the universe has looked after us so far, and we really don't spend much time apart.
Q: You've really considered how to make this work.
A: We have. I fly so much, well, we both fly so much that our frequent flier points are amazing now anyway! So taking a flight to Australia is like a bus, really. I actually love flying on planes. People seem to hate it, but I think the trip's great. You arrive at LAX at midnight, you have wine, you watch a movie, you fall asleep, and then it's 7 am and you're in Australia. Coming back it's a little more difficult because it's a day flight, but I love flying.
Q: You mentioned missing Australian coffee. Do you make your own?
A: I make my own actually. Crystal is really good at it, too, and for whatever reason she's tried to teach me her secret recipe about 100 times, but I can never master it. We've got an espresso machine and a whole bunch of weird milks like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, honey. Coffees are pretty fantastic here, but I've got to be honest, most of the places that do great coffees have Australian baristas, so they are exporting their wonderful talents out here now.
To read more from Darren, pick up the latest issue of WHO, on newsstands now.