Injustice - James Purefoy and cast interviews
Interview by Tim Carson
Injustice is a new five-part thriller from writer Anthony Horowitz (Collision).
It stars James Purefoy as William Travers, a criminal barrister who is recovering from a traumatic series of events that have shaken his belief in the legal system. He and his wife (Dervla Kirwan) have moved to Ipswich to rebuild their lives.
Reluctantly, he is drawn into a case that involves his old friend Martin Newall (Nathaniel Parker) who faces conspiracy and murder charges while at the same time being investigated by a vicious and vengeful detective DS Mark Wenborn (Charlie Creed-Miles).
We spoke to James, Charlie and Dervla about the new gripping drama:
James you actually filmed at the Old Bailey and you said that you felt that being a lawyer was something you could see yourself doing – do you think that’s a common view among actors because of the sense of lawyers putting on an act?
James Purefoy: I’m sure it is. I know a lot of actors who trained as lawyers and that always signifies something. There’s an element of performance in court and that’s something defendants often find difficult to understand. That you can have a defendant’s barrister who appears to be at the prosecution’s throat in court and then they’re sitting down having lunch together. Because that’s what lawyers do – they take on a case like actors take on a role. There’s definitely an element of similarity in terms of performance. Obviously, in terms of training and studying there’s a world of difference.
Did it help being in the Old Bailey for some of the scenes?
James Purefoy: Yes, just being in the places that the scene is taking place in is always helpful. You get the sense of history, the grandeur of the Old Bailey, the idea of the extraordinary cases that have been through those courts – all sort of bleeds into the scene you’re playing.
Have you ever had a lawyer represent you?
James Purefoy: Oh, yes plenty – no, of course not. I’ve rarely been in trouble with the law!
And how do you get into the mind of a man who’s as troubled as your character?
James Purefoy: I think acting is so much to do with the imagination – like kids in a playground playing Star Wars or whatever it is.
It’s simply putting yourself into that situation and thinking about what it was that triggered the nervous breakdown William Travers had before the series started. Then you have to work out how that would affect you, if you did have a breakdown of that level.
One of the things I did was I read a lot about people who had those kind of breakdowns – where something has snapped. You become very depressed, it’s a very depressive situation that you find yourself in. You don’t care about how you look, you don’t look after yourself and you become a very internal type of person and he’s become very internal character.
For me that was one of the attractions of working with Anthony [Horwitz]’s script. A lot of the characters I’ve played recently are quite big men, quite expansive men – Mark Anthony in Rome or Blackbeard the pirate – these are people who are extraordinary. Whereas William is quite an ordinary man in many ways and he’s left the cauldron of the law in London to try recover some sense of self and sanity in Ipswich. So I was really fascinated by playing someone who was really internal and opaque and doesn’t really give the secrets away until the audience see it revealed in the last 15 minutes of the series.
Charlie does your character DS Mark Wenborn have any redeeming features?
Charlie Creed-Miles: Yeah, he’s good at his job. He puts crooks behind bars and that’s his number one redeeming characteristic. There’s something attractive about people who wear their heart on their sleeves. He’s a sort of non-nonsense character and he speaks his mind. He’s quite funny at times too. He was a lot of fun to play. There’s a dark side to him and that makes him all the more interesting for an actor – that’s a great part to get your teeth into. I looked forward every day to shooting. There were a few tough scenes scattered along the way and I tried to make sure I was as prepared as possible for them and just gave it my best shot. There’s a lot to play with in the character and hopefully I got as much out of that as I could. It’s nice to play a character that’s got levels and depth. It gives an actor a lot to play with.
Who inspired the Manchester accent for him?
Charlie Creed-Miles: We didn’t want him to be a Cockney copper so that was the starting point. We thought about doing an Ipswich one as it’s set in Ipswich but I’ve never done that accent before and filming was sort of galloping towards me. So I tried Leicester, but I hadn’t done that for a while and filming was still getting closer. The problem with a Leicester accent is that there are some subtle differences and ways of saying things. It ended up being Manchester because it was little easier to grab on to. It’s quite different from my own but one I’m familiar with. I hope I haven’t done it an injustice. It seemed to work really well for the character strangely. It’s amazing what watching a couple, of episodes of Shameless can do!
Dervla how you would describe your character when we first meet her? She seems to be almost mothering William – would you agree?
Dervla Kirwan: I don’t see it as mothering I see it as nurturing. What we don’t get at the start is just how far he’s fallen into his depression and how dark that was for him. And I think where I started from was I felt that when someone you love is in that dark a place you’ll do anything you can to rehabilitate them, to get them well again. They move from London and try to build a new life for themselves. And I don’t see it as mothering I see it as nurturing. It was lovely character to play – it was selfless.
Do you think it’s possible that your husband can hide such a big secret and his wife doesn’t suspect anything?
Dervla Kirwan: It happens all the time, doesn’t it? I mean no one really knows what goes on inside another person’s head. Thank God. I wouldn’t want to know what goes on in the darkest recesses of my partner’s mind. I think for the purposes of this story it and, without seeing the whole five episodes, it’s very hard to say what my character begins to piece together – because she goes on her own detective journey. But, I think it’s safe to say it happens all the time.
And finally what attracted all of you to Injustice?
James Purefoy: For me it was Anthony. There aren’t that many people who write crime thrillers that take you by the throat for five nights over five hours and don’t let go. He’s an absolute master of screen-writing this type of thing.
Dervla Kirwan: I’m going to say the same as I’m hoping Anthony will write series two next year and we can all come back and play again.
Charlie Creed-Miles: I was attracted to doing this job because it had a script, great characters, a really solid and a cooked English breakfast every morning – that did it for me!