Interview by Sophia Moir for BT
Hugh Bonneville, George MacKay, Percelle Ascott and director Babak Anvari reveal all about the making of their new neo-noir thriller movie I Came By, coming soon to Netflix.
Downton Abbey and Paddington fans will be in for a shock if they’re expecting another family-friendly role from Hugh Bonneville in his next film, as he plays a former High Court judge hiding a very sinister secret.
The British actor takes the lead in the new Netflix neo-noir thriller movie, I Came By – the first UK film commissioned by the streamer – which also stars George MacKay (1917), Percelle Ascott (The Innocents) and Line of Duty’s Kelly Macdonald.
In an exclusive interview with us, the 58-year-old thespian – who’s best known for his role as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham in ITV’s cosy period drama – reveals that playing the villain character was “a lot of fun”, despite the hard-hitting scenes he filmed.
“When you’ve got props that don’t work, or actors like me that forget their lines, it’s quite easy to break the mood”, he told us exclusively. “There’s a kiln involved [in one scene] and I’ve always enjoyed pottery so throwing a bit of clay was good fun!”
The film’s creator, BAFTA-winning writer-director Babak Anvari (Under The Shadow), revealed that Bonneville was so convincing in his scenes that the crew would often watch the actor film his takes hiding in fear, with their hands covering their eyes.
“There were quite a few scenes like that!” Bonneville concurs.
Fellow British actor George MacKay, who earned critical acclaim for his role in Sam Mendes’ World War I epic, 1917, said that he “admired” the actor for taking a risk by playing the villain role in the Netflix Original film.
MacKay tells us exclusively: “ I expected him to be lovely, and as you’ll see, he’s vile in this! Hugh himself is a wonderful man. I was just admiring him as an actor.
“You see him playing different characters, and this is such a different turn for him. It was exciting to see that in the flesh, as it was happening. It was thrilling, and pretty scary!”
For some light relief in the fast-paced thriller, make sure to check out what Kelly Macdonald’s character is watching on her TV set at one point, because you may catch a glimpse of one of the UK’s most-loved baking shows – a complete juxtaposition to what’s going on around her.
Director Babak tells us: “I used to watch Bake Off with my ex and I always used to think ‘Oh this is such a lovely, cosy thing to watch’, without realising all the horrors that are happening outside. You’re just sat at home thinking ‘Aww, people making cakes!’”
I Came By is in select cinemas now, and streaming on Netflix from Wednesday 31 August.