Luke Treadaway (Attack the Block) stars as the psychologically imbalanced Mix Cellini in new psychological thriller, Thirteen Steps Down.
Based on the novel from Ruth Rendell, the two-part drama begins at 9pm on Monday 13th August on ITV1 and has been adapted by Adrian Hodges (Survivors, Primeval).
Can you give us a general overview of your character?
“My character Mix has all sorts of interesting behaviours and obsessions. He’s obsessed with cleanliness and tidiness but he’s also harbouring an obsession for the famous model Nerissa Nash played by the lovely Elarica Gallacher. Mix doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with his interest in Nerissa – in his mind it’s a healthy thing.
“He collects photos of her, he waits outside her house to catch a glimpse of her and he follows her around. He believes that he’s giving her the opportunity to meet him so they can talk and realise they are destined to be together.”
What’s the reason behind Mix’s obsessive behaviour?
“Mix has a complicated past. He suffered at the hands of an abusive father and he therefore has retreated into a world where he is obsessed with violence and crime. He reads books about psychopaths and serial killers and he gets hooked on Dr John Reginald Christie who was a real life serial killer in the 50s. He secreted bodies of the women he killed in his house and garden shed.
“Mix doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with his interest in criminology, but we have to remember this man is not in a fit bill of mental health and he’s living in an isolated fantasy world. Sadly people do suffer from these conditions but that’s what made it such an interesting part to play. This character had an interesting mind to explore which is what attracted me to the role.”
How far does Mix go with his obsessions?
“His two obsessions collide when Danila comes over to his house for dinner, and says horrible things about Nerissa. He is absolutely enraged by what she’s saying and in a
moment of madness ends up killing her. The only way he can deal with what he’s done is to bury her in his garden taking Dr Christie’s lead. He completely loses touch with
reality from then on and we slowly start to see his mental demise.”
How did you get into that mind-set? Did you read up on Dr Christie?
“I watched 10 Rillington Place and I read about Dr Christie and other serial killers. It was some pretty dark stuff to go through but it was important to know what my character was drawn to so I could better understand him.”
Did you find it draining playing such a dark and intense character?
“I was tired before I’d even started filming because I’d just finished a five week shoot on a film and travelled to Dublin as soon as it had finished and started Thirteen Steps Down the following night. I’m not complaining though, it’s all good and I’m lucky to be working, but I was straight into it.
“It was emotionally draining playing Mix and I did go home feeling like I could sleep forever, but if you come off a pitch having played rugby and you’re not tired and muddy, then you haven’t really done much. It was a satisfying feeling of fatigue.”
Didn’t you dig Danila’s grave yourself?
“Well I just told production to give me the shovel and I’ll do it myself. They were changing things round during the camera set ups and I thought to myself rather than stand around waiting for the next shot to be ready and getting cold I might as well keep myself busy and dig the grave. It’ll hopefully be the only time I ever do it mind you!”
Did you get the chance to explore Dublin?
“There wasn’t much time off, but I did wander into town a few times and I went to see some of the countryside. What I saw of Dublin was really nice but I wish I’d had time to explore a little more.”
What was it like working with Geraldine, Gemma and Anna?
“It was an absolute joy. They are three wonderful, hilarious women and they were great to work with. Anna Calder-Marshall was telling me about working with Laurence Olivier when she was Cordelia to his King Lear, so it was fascinating hearing the stories and working with such experienced people.”
Did you read Thirteen Steps Down and are you a fan of Ruth Rendell’s work?
“I read Thirteen Steps Down but I read it as research for the role and therefore I read it forensically. I was reading it for clues hoping to find things that might be helpful that didn’t make it to the script. I have to admit it’s the only Ruth Rendell book I’ve read and because I was reading with a specific aim in mind I don’t feel very well placed to comment on Ruth’s books or writing. Obviously her books are well loved though, so I hope people will enjoy this adaptation.”
What have you got coming up next?
“There are a few films – Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, Wasteland, St George’s Day and then there’s Get Lucky. I’m also rehearsing a play at The National at the moment called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which is on from end of July/early August until October. So it’s a busy time but I’m really enjoying it.”
Are you looking forward to Thirteen Steps Down? Let us know below…