‘The Responder’ — What drew Martin Freeman to intense cop character

Actor likes to do more with a look than with words

Martin Freeman of ‘The Responder’ on BritBox

Q: What attracted you to the intense role of morally compromised Liverpool, England, cop Chris Carson in “The Responder”?

A: Just the quality of writing. There was a sort of sparseness about the writing, I guess, which attracted me to it. It’s like when you’re in a theater and someone kind of speaks a bit more softly, it brings you forward in your seat … and that’s what I think this script does … .

And Chris was not necessarily a man of many words a lot of the time. But you just knew exactly what was going on because you knew that when that camera gets into his face and sees his eyes, you’re going to know exactly what he is. He doesn’t need a thousand words with that. So I like the economy of that and it certainly suits a strand of the way that I like to work.

Q: Did you have to come down from this character after filming ended?

A: Not from the guy, really, but just from the intensity of the schedule and the circumstances of how we filmed it. But I don’t tend to take people home with me, but I think just you are inevitably tired because it’s flipping intense. You know, you spend three months doing something that is physically and mentally and emotionally intense. Yeah, so in that sense I did and I was very, very glad once it finished … because I had really believed in the work we had done and I was hopeful that it would be a good show.

I loved working on it. I had a glorious time working on it. But yeah man, it takes it out of you, it really does, but not necessarily because I was the character and I wasn’t behaving like Chris when I got home. It was just most of your life because it’s a big, long day … shooting days are very, very long (laughs) and yeah, you exhale at the end of it.

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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