From New York to ‘Eden’: Christopher James Baker settles back home after 11 years

Christopher James Baker in 'Eden'.

Marvel projects may be drawing a slew of high-profile actors to Australia, but it seems there are also local productions inversely capable of attracting MCU talent.

Christopher James Baker has been back in his native country for the past year following more than a decade in New York, during which he starred in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and also shot the upcoming DC Universe Series, Stargirl.

He has been able to hit the ground running following his return, with roles in Stan’s eight-part mystery drama Eden, as well as Goalpost’s gold rush drama New Gold Mountain.

Baker will first be seen in the former, which is set to premiere on the streaming platform on June 11.

The Every Cloud Productions/Balloon Entertainment series centres on the disappearance of a young woman and a subsequent chain of events that serves to lay bare dark and hidden secrets within the titular coastal town.

Created By Vanessa Gazy, in collaboration with Every Cloud Productions’ Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox and Balloon Entertainment’s Bryan Elsley (Skins), Eden boasts an all-female writing team, led by head writer Gazy, alongside Jess Brittain, Anya Beyersdorf, Clare Sladden, and Penelope Chai.

The series was produced by Fiona McConaghy and directed by John Curran, Mirrah Foulkes, and Peter Andrikidis.

Baker is joined in the cast by BeBe Bettencourt, Sophie Wilde, Keiynan Lonsdale, Cody Fern, Samuel Johnson, Rachael Blake, Leeanna Walsman, Simon Lyndon, and Maggie Kirkpatrick.

Speaking to IF, he said Eden allowed for a more authentic form of expression than some of his previous work.

“Superhero comic book-based material has the same workflow [as other projects], but there is definitely an element to the characterisation and style of it that is really fun to play and that I really enjoy exploring.”

“But coming back and doing Eden meant I got to use my natural accent for the first time in ten years, and using it on this sort of material, which is more intimate and coming from a much more realistic place, was a more rounded experience.

“I really enjoyed delving into the psychology, truth, and simplicity that you can find in this kind of work that is not about donning crazy suits.”

He sees Eden as an example of the “excitingly more diverse” scripts that were being developed in Australia, compared to when he was here last.

“The advent and introduction of the streaming networks has meant the writing and what is being made is getting more specific and genre-based,” he said.

“[The streamers] can take a lot more risks because they are not beholden to advertisers.

Eden is not a show that would be made in Australia 10 years ago, so I think that side of the industry has definitely changed for the better.”

Baker’s time abroad not only yielded stints in the MCU and DCEU, but recurring roles in acclaimed television series such as True Detective, Ozark, and Shades of Blue.

His film credits include Jon Amiel’s Deliverance Creek, Kieran Darcy-Smith’s The Duel, and  James DeMonaco’s The Purge: Election Year.

While he moved back to escape a “pretty scary” COVID situation in New York, the father of two said relocating to Australia was never far from his mind.

“All of my family is in Australia and my wife and I wanted our kids to grow up with their family, so we were talking about coming back to Australia pre-COVID,” he said.

“My plan had always been to do a body of work in America that I use to continue at the same level back in Australia, so hopefully that pans out.

“The US is getting back up and running, so there is some interesting projects coming through from there, but if I could continue working from Australia, I would be very happy.”