Singapore-based British actor George Young wins big role in American TV series Containment

Actor George Young will take the role of medical researcher Victor Cannerts in an upcoming American TV series called Containment. -- PHOTO: FLY ENTERTAINMENT 
Actor George Young will take the role of medical researcher Victor Cannerts in an upcoming American TV series called Containment. -- PHOTO: FLY ENTERTAINMENT 

SINGAPORE - Singapore-based British actor George Young is on a roll. Soon after he tied the knot with Taiwanese-American travel-show host Janet Hsieh in January, he got his biggest break in his career so far: being cast in a major role in an upcoming American TV series called Containment.

In it, he plays medical researcher Victor Cannerts who races to find a cure for a mysterious and deadly virus that has spread throughout Atlanta, Georgia.

Slated to air in January, Containment has been picked up for a full season of 13 episodes by The CW, the television network that is home to other popular shows such as The Vampire Diaries (2009 to present) and Arrow (2012 to present).

Written by Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), the drama is the American remake of Belgian series Cordon (2014 to present) and will also star David Gyasi (Interstellar, 2014) and Christina Moses (Starship: Rising, 2014).

So far, only the pilot of Containment has completed filming, but Young is scheduled to start work on the rest of the season in Atlanta in August.

The 35-year-old tells Life! in a phone interview that he feels "really, really fortunate to get this opportunity".

"So many television shows these days don't get picked up at all, let alone for full seasons, because they only do a few episodes to see how it goes," he says.

"And then I hear all these stories of pilots being shot and how the actors get re-cast after the show gets picked up. It's just terrifying."

Young acts for stage and screen and is known for his roles such as a family man in HBO Asia's horror mini-series Grace (2014) and an ambitious pupil in Channel 5 legal drama The Pupil (2010-2011).

He had been attending TV auditions in Los Angeles since early last year.

For Containment, he went to an open audition, followed by a work session where he met the studio director and finally a studio test where he had to act out a scene in front of "over 15 Hollywood executives in suits".

During the audition, he fumbled over some of his lines, which he says was "just mortifying".

"There was just so much stress because all I could think at the time was, what if I screw up right now?

"And so, of course, when I got to the last line of my scene, I fumbled the line. But I stopped and went straight to the top and did it again - and there I went, tripping over the line again.

"Everyone was looking at me like, 'What's going on?' But I did it again without stopping for the third time and this time it went perfectly. I told the executives that I did it three times on purpose for effect and, luckily, they found it funny and chuckled."

He was in a comic-book store with his brother when he first got the phone call informing that he had been cast.

"I just ran out of the store and started screaming," he recalls with a laugh.

His wife is also "super excited" about his new gig, having caught the pilot beside him at a private screening for the cast and crew recently.

They got married in January in Antarctica, against the beautiful backdrop of ice and penguins.

"When people send me their congratulations these days, I sometimes have to ask and find out if they are talking about my wedding or about Containment," he says.

As Hsieh will continue to be based in Taiwan and he will now be splitting his time between Singapore and Atlanta, it looks like their long-distance relationship will have to continue for a while.

"It has always been this way and we are just doing what we can to make the long-distance thing work. We strive to see each other once a month, so we're racking up a lot of air miles to take trips to visit each other.

"But there are also video calls and instant messaging and we talk to each other every day," he says.

yipwy@sph.com.sg