Freddie Fox (‘The Shadow Line’) interview

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Actor Freddie Fox (Worried About The Boy, Any Human Heart) plays young rent boy Ratallack in Hugo Blick’s seven-part conspiracy thriller The Shadow Line.

Currently airing at 9pm on Thursday nights on BBC Two, the series brings to life a cinematic world of blurred morality and the conflicted characters that inhabit it.

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When you read the scripts what was your first reaction?

“I just wanted to keep turning pages. I didn’t want it to end. It was thrilling, tense, funny and dark.”

What makes Hugo Blick’s scripts feel so different?

“Their intricacy; every character is utterly compelling; their desires, their wit, even their cruelty, and the way Hugo weaves their journeys together is exceptional. It’s different – in a very good, fresh and dark way.”

How would you describe the drama?

Se7en, 21 Grams, No Country For Old Men… something like that.”

How would you describe the character of Ratallack?

“Completely psychotic, I guess you could say not your average “meet and greet”.”

What did you draw on to create such a colourful character?

“Mickey Rourke in Rumblefish and an Iguana at the zoo; I loved playing him, except for his taste in vacuum-esque skinny jeans. I’ve never played a character like him, but am so lucky to do so as roles this complex are rare.”

Did you discuss Ratallack with Hugo to develop him off the written page?

“Absolutely, Hugo wrote a bunch of new scenes for me to suit my interpretation of the character. From first audition to first take Ratallack changed immeasurably.”

How did you bring Ratallack to life on screen?

“I love working on characters like this, you can just go nuts with it; the voice, the movement; and to make it really good I think the little details are the most important. But really it fell into place thanks to Hugo’s writing. He’s written so well, so creepy, the character kind of just happens.”

It’s an incredible cast – have you worked with any of the other actors before?

“I’d worked with Rafe (Spall) on my first job. He’s such a great actor with such a great character and he nails it to the wall. The others are a who’s who of amazing actors. Stephen Rae and Chris Eccleston, whom I worked with the most, were quite astonishing and so great to play off during scenes. It was an honour for me.”

Hugo says that he cast against type – do you feel this was the case for you?

“I hope so! If I show any signs of Ratallack for real I’ve told my girlfriend to have me sectioned.”

What was your favourite scene when filming?

“I had to run across the roof of the Gillette building, screaming at a bunch of policemen in the freezing cold!”

Can you explain what it’s been like working with Hugo?

“Hugo is completely unique. He’s a great actors’ director and knows what he wants from shot to shot in such dazzling detail. I will always thank him for casting me in the role because I wasn’t necessarily the obvious choice.”

You have just opened in Cause Célèbre at the Old Vic – do you prefer acting on stage or on screen?

“I love both and I couldn’t choose between them. The techniques are slightly different but essentially they are the same: use your imagination to create the character and say the lines. “

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