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Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 183
Location: Lake Wisconsin, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject: Forgotten Article Reply with quote

Interview: Paul McGann

Did you immediately feel yourself drawn to the character of Ben?

"I have sympathy for a man who protests his innocence with such vehemence. I like the 'did he or didn't he' aspect of the drama, it's great fun to play. I enjoy playing characters that are complex and ambiguous. We suspect early on that Ben is not who or what he says he is, so that ambiguity comes into play from the very opening.

"Ben's wife doesn't know where he came from and he rarely talks about his past life and family. But it's a life that he's left behind and he's had to set up a different identity for himself. We're simply led to believe that while backpacking in the Cotswolds, he met his wife and settled down."

Why do you think Forgotten works so well?

"Part of the job of a thriller is to keep you guessing, and this works very well in that respect. When the audience gets to the end, then there's no choice for them but to go back to those elements of the story that might have given them clues. I like the thriller genre when there's enough room for it to be subtle and to be able to play a real person rather than a caricature, where the boundaries between good and bad are not clearly defined.

"Rachel, played by Amanda Burton, turns up and is obsessively fixated that Ben is the murderer of her child who disappeared almost 20 years ago. She's been desperate to find him for years. She has invested all her energy in this fixation and it's very human -- she needs to find out where her daughter's body is and that's perfectly understandable. Each character has a past that they have to come to grips with. Ben is trying to keep things together. Forgotten is also about finding happiness, leaving the past behind, or at least dealing with it and making sense of it. So it's a very different kind of thriller. It's a cliché that your past will catch up with you but it always does in the end."

Were you aware of the ironic juxtaposition between the dark story and its picturesque, chocolate box setting?

"It's potent that you have this very sleepy little village where people's lives collide and their history is so complex. They don't have the anonymity of the big city and suddenly everyone knows their business. These characters live under a microscope. There's bluff and double bluff at work. There are so many layers to this piece."

How did you like acting with Karis Copp (Emmy)?

"When they were casting for Emmy, I was the one to suggest Karis. She plays the role very well. She had been to school with my son and it was pretty obvious watching her act even at five years old that she has exceptional talent. I really think people like that are born, not made. She has carried herself so well during filming that she has been an example to all of us. She proves the point that really good actors always will expose the bogus. The techniques that you pick up as an actor can look a bit contrived when you face such a good child actor. It's lovely because it reminds you that if you want to be really good, screen acting is simply about being real."

Was it difficult to film such a gruelling, dark piece?

"Paradoxically, usually if you do really bleak pieces, they tend to be the happiest occasions off-set and the opposite is generally true too. On projects that are really funny, people can be very tense. When I filmed a drama about the Irish famine with my brothers a few years ago, we had a scream, even though we couldn't have been working on a bleaker piece. Though it has been relentless and gruelling, filming Forgotten has been an insightful and enjoyable experience.
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