If you were a regular watcher of the CW’s ‘Arrow’ last season you know that the bad guy who was the key player throughout the season was Ra’s Al Ghul. And, he was played by Australian actor Matt Nable. What you probably did not know is that Mr Nable is a fascinating and diverse man, who took a quite a life journey to find his way into acting. Check out the interview below and learn more after the JUMP!
Matt Nable has undergone an extraordinary transformation.
He was a child raised under the army’s watch who sparred and scrapped on rugby fields and in boxing rings. But now he is a successful novelist, screenwriter, actor and father.
“It was a wonderful world, you know. I had a wonderful childhood,” he told One Plus One.
Nable grew up surrounded by veterans from Vietnam and Korea. His family frequently relocated from one Australian army base to another.
It quickly becomes apparent he learnt the true meaning of resilience, trauma and “walking on eggshells” at a younger age than most.
Yet he recalls it with a visible cheerfulness.
“In an army base you get to spread your wings a bit because you’re under the care of the army,” he said.
“So it’s not like civilian life at all.”
When Nable left school to what he describes as the “civvie” life outside, he longed to become a writer.
But by his own confession, he was not in a psychological position to commit.
His athletic physique found him competing in professional rugby league. He played for Manly Sea Eagles and South Sydney Rabbitohs before transferring into the British league.
Then it was not long before he entered the boxing ring. His time as a light-heavyweight fighter may have been a short-lived affair, but it was not one that left him untouched.
“Anyone who goes into a contact sport at that level, or boxes at a high level, you’re affected in some way. You don’t come out the same way you went in,” he said.
I believed in a feeling of being invincible … for the people around me it was a really trying time.
“My nose was so horribly busted up.
“I’d had some horrible breaks playing rugby league as well, some really terrible breaks.
“Smashed my cheek bones as well which moved everything to one side. And then after boxing, I couldn’t breathe.”
The facial reconstruction surgery may have been painful, but it masked a more complicated illness lurking below the surface.
When a rugby player collapses on the field, a squadron of medical personnel rush to their assistance. But what if the same gladiator discovers he has a mental disorder? Where is the squadron then?
It is a deeply personal story that Nable tells with disarming frankness.
“I was in a state of what’s called hypermania for a very long period of time, where you’re so elevated,” he said.
“I believed in a feeling of being invincible, a feeling of taking on the world: bulletproof, driven by ego.
“I developed a real siege mentality of me versus everyone else: ‘If you said I can’t do it, watch me’.
“For the people around me it was a really trying time.”
Getting help for bipolar disorder and depression
Matt Nable says he believed in a feeling of being invincible, “a feeling of taking on the world: bulletproof, driven by ego”.
It was only in a moment of complete helplessness that Nable reached out for help.
He educated himself on bipolar and depression.
He chose diagnosis and treatment over suffering and capitulation, and he started piecing himself back together.
Nearly a century ago, Winston Churchill wrote of painting and writing to keep the “black dog” of depression at bay.
For Nable, his bipolar condition was a muse that would inspire him to return to his first dream — writing.
He had reflected long and hard on a sportsman’s determination amid personal crisis.
It would be no coincidence that the bona fide experiences he had endured would manifest into a draft novel called The Final Winter.
The manuscript found itself in the hands of one of Australia’s most celebrated novelists and Manly Sea Eagles fan Thomas Keneally, who saw potential in Nable’s writing and encouraged the young man to follow his muse.
And so it goes that Nable’s life has never been the same since.