Hugh Laurie has revealed he was warned not to embody a real-life politician for the new BBC drama Roadkill.
The star has been cast as the controversial Conservative minister Peter Laurence – who is seen battling to keep both his public and private life afloat while finding himself deep in political turmoil.
But while many viewers may be able to draw comparisons to those in power now, the actor insists that the director David Hare gave strict instruction not to base the role on anyone.
When chatting to journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Lang during a virtual BFI at Home panel, the 61-year-old opened up on his influences and what he did to prepare for the part.
‘Well, I took David’s words to heart, not that his words would be, “don’t do any preparation,” but he was certainly adamant that this is not to be based on any existing politician in this country or anywhere else,’ Hugh explained.
‘This is a work of fiction and this was of course music to my ears because I’m a terrible impressionist and I had no chance of giving any conviction of any existing politician.’
He pressed: ‘But I also completely applaud the idea of writers being free to conceive stories that are not just replications of what they read in the newspapers.’
Noting that he doesn’t think that’s what dramas are for, the father-of-three continued: ‘So, I took simply what was on the page, which was plenty, and tried to imagine his way of thinking, his way of moving and talking and thinking and being.
‘As far as I could possibly take it, if not too far sometimes.’
While we’re living through a time of political unease following the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming US elections as well as Brexit, Kristy asked the actor for his thought’s on today’s politicians.
And he appeared to throw his support behind the Health Secretary Matt Hancock – challenging those at home to step into the MP’s shoes.
‘I feel some pity for them,’ he confessed. ‘I think I know how hard it would be, I think I would be gone before lunchtime on the first day.
‘We all talk about Matt Hancock now as if he’s a figure of fun, and watching him as the pinned butterfly who is flapping and floundering.
‘But honestly, you change places with him, I wonder how many people could actually survive and for how long.’
Hugh stated: ‘This is part of the problem with modern politics, it has become an impossibly complex undoable job – it is just not possible to accomplish or discharge the duties we’ve given them.’
The first installment of the four-part thriller landed on our screens last night where it introduced a star-studded cast including Us actors Saskia Reeves and Iain De Caestecker as well as Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory.
Roadkill continues next Sunday on BBC One at 9pm.
Credit: Original article published here.