January 3, 2011


Rufus Sewell interview: The rakish Rufus Sewell, stalking Rome’s mean streets in 'Zen', the detective drama of the year, talks fame and family, and explains why an empty diary isn't necessarily a bad thing (Craig McLean, 03 Jan 2011, The Telegraph))

Sewell didn’t want Zen to be just another television cop. 'He should be kind of different. Not cheesy. From the first moment the producer mentioned the role to me, I just said: “as long as it’s funny. And as long as he’s not one of those corridor-striding w---ers”.’

What the actor means is he didn’t want to play a forceful, argy-bargy copper with a brusque manner and stains on his suit lapels. 'There are certain kinds of patterns that writers slip into and television producers slip into. The assumptions that are made unnecessarily just because people are used to it. Troubled past, blah blah blah, unconventional methods, blah blah blah.

'For me, I just wanted him to be completely believable as a bloke. You know? Not a man. A bloke,’ he says, sitting on a wall outside a villa on the outskirts of Rome, squinting into his lunchtime pasta in the August sunshine. 'And what I like about him in the books – not that I’ve read all of them – but also in the scripts, is that he gets it wrong a lot… His relationships are off and on and often in the sh--. And I think he’s more fun when he’s slightly behind the game, as opposed to ahead of it.’

The detective is a Venetian based in Rome. This makes him a perennial outsider, as does his scrupulous honesty. Dibdin, a long-time resident of Italy, wrote with scholarly knowledge of, and love for, the country. But his Italy is riddled with corruption; there are always shadows in the sunshine. Zen is forever weaving his way through political intrigue, police sleaze and general societal murk.

...an actor use facial expressions so adeptly. It's posted at The Box already.

[Also, a new season of the outstanding Great British Railway Journeys has started.]

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 3, 2011 5:34 PM
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