‘The Responder’ – Freeman suits up to play shady cop

How the uniform helped him with the character

Martin Freeman

In life, it has long been said that the clothes make the man. In acting, it helps the man make the character.

That was certainly the case for Martin Freeman during an early day of filming for the currently streaming Britbox crime drama “The Responder,” when he and co-star Adelayo Adedayo realized just how restrictive their police uniforms were.

“We were like, ‘Jesus, man, even putting this uniform on is going to get on your nerves,’ ” he recalls. “Because you can barely sit into your seat without getting a truncheon stuck up your a…. There’s so much stuff around your waist that is weighing you down.”

“But you also do feel heavier — from an actor’s point of view, in a good way,” he adds. “You don’t feel light and that did help me, actually. It weighs him down a little bit and it gives him a little bit of authority but also has a bit of that weight of the world on his shoulders, which I found quite useful.”

In the series, Freeman plays Chris Carson, a morally compromised police officer who battles crime, violence and addiction on the streets of Liverpool, England, while fighting his own personal demons. For the role, he consulted with Tony Schumacher, the showrunner on whose experiences as a Liverpool cop the series is based.

What the 50-year-old British actor came away with was that it’s a job he’s glad he doesn’t have to do.

“I’ve always been interested in how someone keeps their sanity and keeps their soul intact when your entire job is turning up at the very worst times of other people’s lives,” he says, “and you are not the person being held aloft as a hero or thanked ever. You’re still scum to a lot of people. … And doing all this really for not very much money, by the way. So I always had respect for that.”

Martin Freeman

Birth date: Sept. 8, 1971

Birthplace: Aldershot, Hampshire, England

Current residence: London

Marital status: Has two children from a former relationship

Other television credits include: “A Confession,” “StartUp,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Fargo,” “Sherlock,” “Boy Meets Girl,” “The Robinsons,” “Hardware,” “Charles II: The Power and the Passion,” “The Office,” “Bruiser,” “StartUp,” “A Confession,” “Breeders”

Movie credits include: “Love Actually” (2003), “Shaun of the Dead” (2004), “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (2005), “Breaking and Entering” (2006), “Hot Fuzz” (2007), “Swinging With the Finkels” (2011), “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (2012), “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (2013), “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014), “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Black Panther” (2018), “Ode to Joy” (2019)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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