Interview : Nicholas Coombe on Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Australian-born actor Nicholas Coombe has been acting since the age of 9, when he discovered a love for musical theater. After some commercial work and some student projects, the Perth-bred thesp relocated to Vancouver, Canada where he’d cut his prime-time teeth featuring in the likes of “iZombie” and “The Magicians”. Coombe, also an accomplished musician – he sings and plays guitar in the band ‘The Beanie Kids’ – is gearing up for the release of what’s unarguably a huge movie break for him, Paramount’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”.  The film, based on the animated series, follows Dora, a teenage explorer, who leads her friends on an adventure to save her parents and solve the mystery behind a lost city of gold. Coombe is Randy, your typical awkward high school student who has a love for technology and a passion for pop culture. When Randy and his friends are stuck in the jungle with no cell reception, he relies on his knowledge of old school movies and pop culture references to help get him and his friends out of peculiar situations. 


How did you get involved in the film, sir? 

I originally auditioned for this role via a self-tape audition. I sent it off to LA and a week or so after I heard back from casting with some new notes for the scenes. After I had re-sent my tape I was told that James Bobin would be skyping me to chat about the role. After we had a chat about Randy and the audition scenes I sent off another tape. Then two weeks later I received a phone call saying that I had booked the role and was flying out in two days time.


How alike your character are you? 

I would say Randy and I are quite different. He is introverted at the start of the film and doesn’t really spend time with too many people in the real world. He loves video games and movies so he spends most his time in a virtual world. I am definitely a social butterfly. I love meeting up with friends and meeting new people. Although like Randy, I do love games and movies. So I’m sure Randy and I would be great friends.


Photographer: Noah Asanias
Groomer: Marlayna Pincott


Is he as adventurous as Dora? 

Not in any way, shape or form. He does not want to explore haha. I would say the most adventurous thing Randy has ever done would be attending high school. Dora grew up in the jungle exploring where as Randy grew up in his room playing “adventure” video games, like pitfall. Throughout the film though he becomes confident in himself and uses his knowledge from books, movies and games to help the team through certain challenges. Which is really exciting for Randy as he starts to make friends and become one of the hero’s he’s always read about.


How are you with maps? Good with directions?

I’m actually pretty good when it comes to directions. My internal compass has never let me down. I’m normally the one on road trips who is guiding the way. If I were to let any of my friends direct us, we would definitely end up in a jungle.


And did you grow up with the TV series? How similar to the series is the movie? 

I grew up in Australia and Dora was definitely a prominent television show. My family didn’t have cable but a lot of my friends did. So whenever I was over at their houses we would watch Nickelodeon and that was where I first saw Dora.

Nicholas Coombe, Isabela Moner, Madeleine Madden, and Jeff Wahlberg in Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

The movie is quite different from the cartoon series. The story follows Dora who is now 16 and facing new challenges like high school. The team behind the film was really clever in how they evolved Dora from an educational kids show to a live action family comedy. It’s basically Indiana Jones meets the Goonies. And it’s a fun ride for everyone involved.


Where did you shoot? Did it require you to relocate for a while? 
How different is this to everything else you’ve done? 

We shot the film on the Gold Coast of Australia! It was a dream. One minute you’re at a beautiful white sandy beach and the next you’re in the middle of a rain forest. The Australian landscape is incredible. It was amazing being able to shoot in a real jungle for a majority of the film. We were there for a total of four and a half months.

This project was a whole new experience for me. I’ve never worked on a big budget live-action film before, so everything was new to me. I was in awe every day. The crew, sets, locations and food were all incredible. It was really exciting jumping aboard such a huge franchise and having the opportunity to bring a new character to it.

Eugenio Derbez, Nicholas Coombe, Isabela Moner, Madeleine Madden, and Jeff Wahlberg in Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

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