Josh Murray is an actor known for his work in films such as Darnell Martin’s Wish You Well, National Geographic’s Killing Lincoln, and last year’s Lily Collins-led thriller Inheritance. But when the actor spoke with Casting Networks, it was his most recent, recurring role on a daytime series that was on the table. Keep reading for a window into Murray’s General Hospital casting story.
Thanks for talking with us, Josh, and congrats on your recent recurring role on General Hospital. What can you tell us about the character of Russel?
Well, I’ll start by saying that my previous perception of soap operas was that they mainly consist of people sitting around talking about other people’s relationships. But playing Russel turned out to be quite different and right up my alley. He’s an Australian mercenary, the main setting for him is a foreign prison cell, and I had fight scenes scheduled for day one of filming. The experience was better than anything I could’ve hoped for.
It sounds like an exciting role to get to play. Can you share about the casting process that led to landing it?
I had gone in for some in-person auditions for contract roles before this so I’d already met casting — Mark Teschner is great — and they had some familiarity with my work. The audition for Russel was a self-tape, and I was traveling to visit family when I received the request. It’s always a little dicey pulling things together when you’re on the road. You have to find a reader, figure out a place to film it, and you’re working with your cell phone to shoot it. Plus, it was a pretty short turnaround for this one so I just dropped everything and put myself on tape. Then, lo and behold, I got the offer a short time after that.
Wow. It seems like it was a quick process from start to finish.
Yes, I got the sides and was taping for the role the very next day. It’s not much different from when you’re actually shooting a soap, though. Most of the time when you’re filming, you only get one shot at the scene. To be clear, I’m not talking about your coverage — I mean that you get one chance to do the scene. You literally do a blocking rehearsal, they say action, you deliver your lines, and then they’re moving on to the next scene. More often than not, that’s how quickly it goes with soaps, and I’d never before experienced that way of filming something so it was quite an adjustment.
Those are some high stakes to get it right the first time, and on top of that, you were doing an Australian accent for the role. Did you already have that dialect locked in or did you learn it for the role?
I spent about three months in Australia in the past and had a good bit of exposure to the accent and culture while I was there. So I had a solid basis for the dialect, which I brushed up on for the audition. Then once I got the role, I really did a deep dive to make sure it was at 100 percent. In the days leading up to filming, I immersed myself in the specific Australian accent I wanted to use. That involved chatting with some of my mates from Australia to make sure I had it down.
That’s great you had some native Australians to sign off on the authenticity of your accent so you could go into filming with the reassurance of having successfully prepared. When it came to being on set, how’d you maintain the dialect amidst such a fast-paced shooting schedule?
My approach is to always go to work with the accent. For the entirety of the day I’m filming on set, I choose to believe I’m the nationality of the role I’m playing. That helps me overcome any self-consciousness or timidity about expressing myself with the dialect when I’m in character. I just step into the accent at the beginning of the day and then commit to it all the way through. It’s funny because I’m usually pretty consistent with it, and people on the set of General Hospital were asking me what part of Australia I was from. I don’t always have the energy to explain myself in every situation so I oftentimes just roll with it. There was a funny moment during one of the days I was filming with Cameron Mathison when we were rehearsing off-set. We had gone off on a tangent, and while I was sharing a story from my own life, I unconsciously dropped into my American accent. He got this confused look on his face and was like, “Wait, you’re not Australian?” [Laughs] I had to tell him that it was just for the role.
That’s certainly a compliment to your skill with the accent, which sounds flawless in your performance to my ear, as well. And how has booking the recurring role impacted your career?
Working on General Hospital definitely exposed me to a whole new audience. I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me since I’ve joined the show. It has a big fanbase, and my wedding was even published in SoapHub because of my role in the show. Even after the first couple of episodes I did, there were all sorts of people reaching out to tell me they really loved my character. Some were even tweeting at the producers of the show saying that they wanted to see more of Russel. I was pleasantly surprised at what a strong reception I got from my short time on the show so far.
Before we wrapped the interview, Murray shared that right after filming his most recent episode of the daytime series, he was offered a role in an upcoming Lifetime movie. Fans can keep an eye out for him in Deadly Girls Night Out, which is currently slated to release on the network this holiday season. And for those who want more insights into Murray’s experience filming General Hospital, they can find him as @joshmurrayactor on Instagram, where he’s posted some behind-the-scenes shots.
This interview has been edited and condensed.