Interviews of the leading actors of Above Suspicion

Kelly Reilly
Kelly Reilly plays Detective Constable Anna Travis
...My dad was a copper in Brixton for many many years so he definitely knows the rough side of the job.

Kelly Reilly says she briefly contemplated following in her father's footsteps into a career in the police force, just like her character in Above Suspicion.

But unlike the dedicated detective she portrays, Kelly's ambition was not so much about crime solving but being able to ride handsome horses.

"The only time I ever thought about following in my dad's footsteps was when I saw the police officers on horseback in Richmond Park and at the Trooping of the Colour, where my father used to work.

"I am a big horsewoman and I thought that was a good job, to be riding these beautiful horses, survey the London parks and you go on tours of the country. But the world of solving crimes, no thanks. That wasn't for me.

"My dad was a copper in Brixton for many many years so he definitely knows the rough side of the job. I very much soaked that in as a kid growing up; that it was a very tough, demanding job.

"He kept that away from us as much as he could. He had a young family and he was not going to come home and talk about what he had been doing.

"He has read the book, and he is very excited and very proud of me for playing the role of Anna Travis. I think he is much more proud of me playing a copper than a prostitute, let's put it that way.

"It is amazing that I didn't really realise that. I said 'why are you so excited about this film?'. I completely underestimated what it must mean for them to see me play characters that are slightly dodgy, whereas you try to think of the humanity of the character, no matter what they do or who they are. You try to find something redeeming about the character, however horrendous they have been. But my parents don't think like that. My mum came to see me in Blasted at the Royal Court and she asked me 'why can't you just do something where you wear a nice dress and be nice'. "

Kelly says her dad, who has now retired from the Metropolitan Police, visited her on set when she was filming Above Suspicion, but he didn't offer her any advice about playing a police officer.

"My father knows better than to offer me advice! He knows it is a process of the imagination.  

"But he was on set on a day when we were filming in an interview room and he was able to tell me about this thing which runs around the centre of the room on the wall which is an alarm for an emergency. So if a suspect gets violent you can touch the wall at any point and call for help. Stuff like that was really interesting to learn from him.

Detective Constable Anna Travis is the daughter of a much revered police officer. She is constantly striving to live up to his reputation, and prove herself to be as good an officer as he was.

"Anna Travis is about to start her first murder inquiry. She is a very bright, almost raw kind of detective. She is very up for what her job has to offer her. She is very intuitive, but she has no experience of working on a murder inquiry.

"She is all instinct really. Sometimes it works to her advantage and sometimes it doesn't. There is something quite gauche about her at the beginning, something quite innocent and unaware about this world she is about to enter. She is dealing with murders of women of her own age in a man's world, in a world where they have to be unemotional.

"The challenge is not so much that she is a female in a man's world. That is an old story. Women have been coming up through the ranks. It is 2008 after all.

"It is a different kind of challenge for her now. It is the fact she is the new girl, not because she is a female. A guy would get it if he was new too. She has never done a murder inquiry before and I think the guys want to see what she is made of because she has been promoted, and they are not going to be overly nice to her, and also Langton has picked her for his team because she is Jack Travis' daughter, who was his mentor.

"He has picked her for sentimental reasons so it is going to get much harder for her over time. She is constantly proving herself because she is the new girl. Not because she is a woman.

"Without a doubt she has her father's reputation to live up to, because he was a very good police officer.

"Her parents are both dead and Anna is very much on her own in the world. She looked up to her father. Now he's dead she looks up to him even more. He becomes this figure of ultimate superiority and achievement in her eyes.

"Following in his footsteps and to be perceived to do well is very important to her. That complex psychological place is very interesting. For me this is not just a whodunit, it is about the complex relationship between Travis and Langton; the very complex father figure relationship. It was very interesting to play."

Kelly said she decided against doing too much research into the role because she wanted to follow the same journey as her character, starting out as the raw recruit on a murder investigation team.

"Because this is Anna's first job I didn't want to go and sit in with a murder unit. I know some of the other actors did to get a feel of the atmosphere and how they talk to one another. How very practical they are all about it. I wanted everything to be new.

"I am the daughter of a police officer so the world is not too far away, and I sat through all of the Prime Suspects. I am in one of them, it was one of my first jobs. When I first saw Prime Suspect it blew me away.

"Anna Travis is a bit like Jane Tennison's upstart cousin! They are from the same creative imagination of Lynda La Plante, they are from the same world, but they are very different women from completely different backgrounds."

Helen Mirren proved to be a real inspiration for the young actor.

"I am inspired by Helen Mirren, by her brilliant energy. I was just at the beginning of my career, and knew nothing. But circles complete themselves and here I am I am thirty now, 14 years later on and now I am the police officer. I've never played a police officer before. I am always playing the characters on the other side of the law."

Kelly went on to play Helen Mirren's character as a young woman in flashback sequences in a film called Last Orders.

...The relationship between Detective Chief Inspector James Langton and Anna Travis is an intense one, teetering on the brink of an affair.

She admits that she approached the role of Anna Travis with some trepidation.

"There was quite a lot of fear because this is a character which millions of readers already know and have already had a picture of her in their head. She is a brand new character who will be brought to life for many people who have not read the book.

"The challenge of coming to a character like that was very interesting. Lynda La Plante has created such a vivid young woman with faults, flaws, with courage, with guts. It is almost like she is going back to the beginning. This is somebody who is just starting. She hasn't got her layers of skin yet.

"For me we are on the same journey with her. She doesn't know what is going to happen next. She has to hope that her skills and her observations are good enough. She works so hard to keep up.

"It takes over her life really. In that respect I understand her, because as actors when we do a role it is all consuming. You have no other life, or I certainly don't! You get the huge highs from that, but also it can be quite a lonely existence."

The relationship between Detective Chief Inspector James Langton and Anna Travis is an intense one, teetering on the brink of an affair.

"They don't consummate anything and it is not something we should label as a love affair, "says Kelly.

"It is much more complicated. There is a strange attraction between the two of them but it comes from many different psychological places, certainly for her."

Kelly starred in a stage play with Ciarán Hinds a few years ago, and is a firm fan of the acclaimed actor.

"Ciarán Hinds is one of my favourite actors of all time. We did a play together several years ago. So the chemistry on screen between us was very easy to find for Above Suspicion.

"He is one of those actors who is inspiring and reminds you why you love the job and they can re-ignite something. He is such a transformer. He is someone who has so much soul and humour.

"Ciarán is a perfect Langton. When I heard he was going to do it there was no question that I wasn't going to take the role."
 
Kelly recently starred in the dark thriller, Eden's Lake. She also appears in two forthcoming feature films, Triage and Orson Welles and Me. Her recent television credits include He Kills Coppers, Joe's Palace and Mrs Henderson Presents.

"I have no particular ambition about where I work. I'll do the work which makes me happy. I enjoy the experience. If that comes out of America that's great but I try not to have too many plans. In a job where things change overnight you have to take one day at a time and get on with making plans in your own personal life. Things don't always work out the way you think they are going to so you have to try to keep an open mind.
 
"I am definitely in a very lucky position where the work is there and I'm being offered really great parts. "

 
Jason Durr
 Jason Durr plays Alan Daniels
...It was good to come back to the UK to do a film with Ciarán Hinds, an actor I have always admired.

Jason Durr was living in the lap of luxury as he played the role of flamboyant movie star Alan Daniels in Above Suspicion.

His wardrobe was full of designer suits and his luxury home was furnished with expensive antiques. But Jason says he was happy to leave his character's high life behind when filming was over.

"I don't enjoy the designer suits and luxury life style of my character. I am old fashioned. I learn my lines and turn up and get on with the job. Fiction and reality, those lines are never blurred.

"Alan Daniels is a mixture of the suave sophistication of George Clooney mixed with Cary Grant, and with the cutting edge dress sense of a Jude Law kind of movie star. He has adopted a way of life and personality with no small amount of success.

"That first side of him he presents to the world is of a charming, suave sophisticated down to earth, disarming person.

"He is up there with the great and the good. With all that charm and everything that goes with it he is enjoying his fame because it is the total antithesis of his deprived childhood in Manchester to where he is today.

"He is obviously doing well, he has achieved a great deal of success in his own country but he is an incredibly complicated complex character which is one of the reasons I was drawn to play the part in the first place."

Alan Daniels is being investigated by Detective Chief Inspector James Langton and his team who are tracking a serial killer. But surely an international movie star couldn't have committed such brutal killings? The police will be vilified in the press if their suspicions are wrong.   

"He is incredibly charming and helpful to the police and is willing to help them in any way he can with their investigation, which then makes the police have to look in another direction.

"That's where the title comes from - here they have a suspect who is so charming and so credible, how can he be responsible for these horrific murders?

"I suppose if you had a Pierce Brosnan /George Clooney type character walking into the police station, they have to do their job, but if he hasn't done it then they can't put anything on him. They know who he is, he's a big star and they have to believe what he says."

Jason has been living in the States with his wife and daughter, working on American shows including Numbers for the past two years.

"It was good to come back to the UK to do a film with Ciarán Hinds, an actor I have always admired, and be amongst fellow Brits.

"The Brits in LA stick together. A great friend of mine is the wonderful Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty, Extras) who is hilarious and funny, and working non stop over here. We are possibly going to be doing a film together which will be good.

"It's just nice to get back into the thick of things in the UK. Over here a lot of the parts are American, so to do an English part is good too."

Jason is best known to viewers in Britain for his role as DC Mike Bradley in Heartbeat. He joined the ratings winning series in 1997 as the new police constable, and left in 2003.

"That was a fantastic role for me. It set me up and allowed me to do everything I have done so far. I've had my time playing a policeman, and there are only so many ways you can say 'where were you on the night of'. It was hugely successful and I was happy to have done that," says Jason.

Jason's recent television credits include Winter Solstice, True True Lie, Mysterious Island and Sharpe's Battle.


 Shaun Dingwall
Shaun Dingwall plays Detective Inspector Mike Lewis
...Shaun shadowed Metropolitan police officers to prepare for his role in a fictional force.

Playing high profile detectives in television dramas has left Shaun Dingwall with a lasting admiration for the work the real life police officers have to do.

Shaun shadowed Metropolitan police officers to prepare for his role in a fictional force.

"I come away from this with nothing but admiration for somebody who does that job. I can only imagine how tough it is to do something like that, emotionally and physically. It must have a huge toll to go through the things they go through and see the things they see. It is not something I have ever contemplated, "says Shaun, who has also played detectives in Touching Evil and Outlanders.

"I've played a few policemen, but I've played a few villains as well which is always quite a nice mix. Some people might argue there is not a lot of difference!

"DI Mike Lewis has been in the police force ever since he was a teenager. It is something he always wanted to do. It hasn't been an easy ride for him. He has not been on the fast track, he is not university educated. So he has clawed his way up slowly.

"A good consequence of that is that he is really good at his job. He and Langton work well as a team, and I think there is a lot of mutual respect for each other. There is no pussy footing around between them.

"A less positive consequence is that he has been scratching away for such a long time that when this young woman comes along who suddenly seemingly assumes the position of Langton's right hand man, Lewis is resentful about that and broods a lot.

"His resentfulness towards Anna Travis comes across with him being a bit rude and brusque to her. But he wouldn't let that affect the way he does his job.

"He comes from that way of thinking that is not necessarily politically correct or sound, but actually as far as he is concerned it is about doing what ever you can to catch the right people.

"A lot of the drama within the team comes from him observing Travis and if she can cut the mustard really. "

Shaun's television credits include Touching Evil, The Long Firm, Charles II: The Power and the Passion and In a Land of Plenty.

He is to star in a new BBC drama series, Survivors.


 Daniel Caltagirone
Daniel Caltagirone plays Detective Sergeant Paul Barolli
...It took me a good three or four days to shake those images out of my head.

Daniel Caltagirone says he was haunted by the images of crime victims he saw when he visited a London police station to prepare for his role as a murder squad detective.

"The police officers showed me images of victims, people murdered in the most extraordinary variety of ways. It was a real eye opener. Police officers  have a tough time of it," says Daniel.

"It took me a good three or four days to shake those images out of my head, and they are seeing it every day if you are on a murder squad or child protection or vice," says Daniel.

"Those photos were horrendous. I don't know how those officers shed that at the end of the day. The good thing about visiting the station and seeing those images was that I was able to bring an essence of what I'd seen into playing the role of DS Barolli, and give the impression of a hardened detective who is used to all that horror.

"The police officers said to me that they felt was their hands were tied and they weren't getting to do real policing, it was all about filling in forms.

Daniel plays Detective Sergeant Paul Barolli, one of the team being led by Detective Chief Inspector James Langton, which is investigating a series of brutal murders.

"DS Paul Barolli is that new hungry breed of detective. He is aggressive. He is a bit of a workaholic. Paul is the last person to undo his tie. He is very strict about his appearance. He is very buttoned up, literally.

"What I liked about him most is that he is very instinctive and very bright. I love the cockiness of the character. People don't believe me but I am actually quite a shy person, and it is good to play a person who is very upfront. He has this confidence about the way he walks and when he walks into a room he holds his head up high."

Daniel was about to embark on a career in the army when he was approached by a theatre director and offered a role in a stage play.

"The theatre director advised me to try to get into one of the top drama schools. I was only 20 at the time. I thought I could go to drama school and go into the army later. I think though, in my heart of hearts, I was going into the army for the wrong reasons. I got into Guildhall and I got some of the best training. After that any plans I had for a military career went down the tube."

After leaving Guildhall Daniel landed roles in the Hollywood film Legionnaire, a Ruth Rendell murder mystery for ITV and Friends.

His recent television credits include The Passion, The Fall and The Path to 9/11.

Source: ITV official press-kit
Date: November 7, 2008

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