Richard Coyle has already enjoyed an incredibly successful and varied acting career - and that is set to continue into 2013 as he has a series of very exciting projects ahead.
We caught up with him to chart about Pusher, which has just been released on DVD & Blu-Ray, and what he has in the pipeline.
- Pusher has just been released on DVD so for anyone who hasn't had a chance to see the film yet can you tell me a little big about it?
It is about a small time, mid-level drug dealer who is trying to make one last deal to get out of the business. And, of course, it goes disastrously.
- This is the English remake of the 1996 film so what was it about this script and the character of Frank that made you want to get involved?
I didn't watch the original film, obviously I was aware of it, but I didn't see it and so my desire to be involved in this film was purely because of the script and the character.
I loved the team behind Vertigo films as Luis Prieto is the director and Nicolas Winding Refn who directed the original and has gone on to great things in Hollywood. So it really was a combination of things really.
- Did you purposely stay away from the original film?
I hadn't seen it anyway. But then I got the part for this film and I did purposely didn't go anywhere near it.
- Frank is a dark and quite flawed character so can you tell me a little bit about him and how we see him develop throughout the film?
Crucially Frank is an anti-hero as he is drug dealer and he lives and operates in quite a seedy world and deal with some pretty unsavoury characters. But deep down I do think that he is a decent guy and there is a nobility about Frank.
I think that he was a dreamer at one point in his life and he didn't plan on becoming a drug dealer in his thirties. But he has got to this point and he really desperately wants out.
So I think that edginess is formed by that deep frustration and rage in him at wanting to get out of this business.
So as we progress through the film he always has one eye on 'how can I escape?' and 'how can I consummate my relationship?' as he is in this relationship with Agyness Deyn’s character that they can’t quite consummate.
I think it is those things that influence his decisions and those are the things that lead him into the final moments of the film and the things that are happening are brought about by those factors.
- As you say Frank is a flawed anti-hero so how much was that an element of the character that interested you?
It always is and I always find that interesting. We are all flawed individuals and I find those things really interesting.
What I do find interesting is how someone who is an unsavoury character or a flawed or morally dubious character can also be charming.
The fact that you can be charmed and attracted to someone who, on paper, you would stay well clear of and that is something that I find interesting and challenging.
- You have touched on my next question as with characters like this how much do you enjoy the challenge of trying to find the sympathy in a character like this?
That is the kind of thing that I really enjoy. Ultimately you have to like or sympathise or empathise with the character that you are watching on the cinema screen and there has to be something about that character that keeps you interested and glued to your seat.
Making a flawed character likeable and also giving a loveable and likeable character another side to them - possibly less likeable - is a real challenge. The grey areas are the things that are interesting.
- You have mentioned Luis Prieto already and he is in the director's chair so how did you find working with him? And what kind of director is he?
Luis is a terrific director but he is also a sensitive and calm director, which is always good. And he is also very surefooted.
I think we struck up a real bond - almost more than any other director that I have worked with - and we really were on the same page and spoke the same language.
We became great friends during the shoot and I think that he has a very brilliant future ahead of him.
- The likes of Agyness Deyn, Bronson Webb and Mem Ferda are all on the cast list alongside you so what was the feeling like on set - I was reading that it was quite a hectic shoot?
Yeah it was hectic. We had a six week shoot and we were working six days a week from dawn until midnight so it was quite frantic. But it was more intense than anything as it was just none stop, but I really did enjoy it.
I really like working that way because you don’t really have a minute to stop and think and so you start working on instinct and, I think, that is a brilliant way to work.
- Away from Pusher we are going to be seeing you back on the big screen this year in The Food Guide to Love so can you tell me a bit about that?
That is a rom-com about a Jack the lad character - that is me - who is a food writer and his first love really is food. He meets a woman and through his experiences with her he learns about true love so it is a rites of passage type of film.
It is a very charming film and I am very excited - I was looking forward to doing some comedy as I hadn’t done any comedy work in a long time.
- This role couldn’t be any more different Pusher so how exciting is it as an actor to be able to mix up your roles and move from genre to genre? And is it something that you particularly look for?
I do, and I have always looked for it. I like to be able to have a go at doing different things and I have been lucky in my career as I have been able to do all kinds of different roles. Hopefully it will be something that I will be able to continue to do as it is great.
It is very exciting to go from doing a comedy to then going and doing a hard-edged thriller where I have to really beef up and get cut - it is just great that I get to do all of those different things.
- We have also seen you mixing your film roles with TV work more recently as you have been playing Simon Fischer in Covert Affairs so how have you found the transition into U.S. TV?
It has been great and I have really enjoyed it. It has been terrific. It has been amazing (laughs).
They have been really welcoming and it is a lovely atmosphere to work in - plus the sun shines a lot. What could be better?
- You have worked in the two mediums throughout your career so how do they compare/differ?
I suppose it does depend on what you are doing and the character that you are playing. But with television you do tend to have a little less time to knock about than you generally do on a feature film; there is a lot more space and time on a feature film.
That is great in some respects but then in other respects you just want to get on and do it - so TV is good for that.
What is great about playing a role like Frank in a film as opposed to something on the telly I feel that the film is more collaborative process for me as an actor.
So you get to spend a little more time creating something and talking about the levels and the layers of something. The of course you are watching it on a forty foot scene (laughs).
- Finally what is next for you?
I am in LA right now but I come back at the end of March to shoot a film called Dream On in London, which I am looking forward to.
Then I go on to work on Overwatch straight after that - that is the film that I have to train for - so it is very exciting.
Pusher is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now
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