A version of this story appeared in EW’s Summer TV Preview. Buy it here or subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
He’s four episodes into filming The Tick, and yet Griffin Newman still can’t believe he’s, well, a part of The Tick. As a lifelong comic-book fan (and former comic-book-store employee), getting to put on a flying suit to play Arthur, a bumbling accountant-turned-reluctant super-sidekick, is so cool it’s practically crippling. “It’s insane,” the 28-year-old says. “I have been obsessed with superheroes for the majority of my life, so just the fact that I’m, like, in a superhero suit that was actually made for my body…” He laughs. “It never stops being surreal. If I think about the enormity of this too much, it’ll become too overwhelming for me to focus.”
But don’t mistake Newman’s earnest excitement for a total lack of experience. Raised in New York by parents in the entertainment industry — his father is a producer, his mother is a casting director and former actress — he entered show business early. Since leaving college his freshman year to act full-time, he has mostly played bit parts on shows like Vinyl and Search Party and in films like Draft Day, so his appearance on The Tick marks Newman’s first time in a leading role. “When I got an email saying ‘Audition for The Tick,’ I assumed it would be for the pizza guy or something,” he admits, chuckling. Once he learned exactly what it was for, he mined material from The Tick‘s 30-year history. “Usually I have bigger parts in low budget things where there’s no prep time, or tiny parts in big things where they cast you very late in the game, so I never had that much time to work on something,” he explains. “I was lucky. The brunt of my research was just watching and reading everything, every last thing.”
Even better: He and Peter Serafinowicz, who stars as the nigh invulnerable being, gelled immediately. “He’s kind of like the best dance partner you could ask for,” Newman says. “The two of us identified early that his performance as the Tick is important and my performance as Arthur is important, but the most important thing is the Tick and Arthur together. The show lives or dies based on that energy we’re able to capture together.”
Now, the only challenge is living up to playing a character he loves. “I have to just think of it as like, ‘I’m playing the character on the page here,’” he says. “I have to not think too much about, like, ‘Oh, you could f— this up.’” In other words, Newman’s embracing Destiny.
The Tick is now streaming on Amazon.