Interview with Ron Perlman who plays Frank Napier in The Capture

Series commences on 3rd September 9pm, BBC One

Ron Perlman plays Frank Napier in The Capture.

Who is Frank Napier?
The fun of it is finding out across the series, once Frank makes his entrance. But he is a guy with a great deal of gravitas and authority. He is a career guy, who's been around forever doing his thing.

Where do we find him at the beginning?
Frank comes into the series once Shaun's story is underway, and we aren’t quite sure what Frank thinks about this fella. But we know he’s taking a great deal of interest in how Shaun Emery can be useful to his agenda. We spend the rest of the time watching him manoeuvre and navigate, and we ultimately end up knowing a lot about his world view, his position about the ends justifying the means, how duplicitous he’s willing to be, and what part of him is real and what part of him made up.

What were your first impressions of the scripts?
Loved them - it's very smart storytelling. The series thrusts you into a world where I had no idea what was happening and where the writer is ultimately going with the characters, so the scripts were the quintessential page turner. My favourite thing is how brilliant Ben Chanan is at putting personality and idiosyncrasy into his characters. They aren’t talking heads, they are all kind of weird and twisted and they have quirks, parts of them are over the top, parts of them are cynical and that comes out in strange wonderful turns of phrase that are filled of wit and humour.

Was there anything that surprised you about The Capture?
Coming from the States, the big revelation for me was the CCTV world that is part of everyday life in the UK. In London there are surveillance cameras everywhere you look, in places where you couldn’t imagine - in the most private places you are being surveilled. But when you think back on the history you guys have had with terrorism and the amount of actual blood that’s been spilled in this place - and how it’s really become a target as a bastion of freedom and democracy - I guess in order to be secure and free you need to give certain things up. And part of that is some privacy.

What made you want to get involved in the show? Was it the scripts or..?
It’s the BBC for goodness sake, putting out the best drama on the planet in the last… well probably since its existence, but lately the BBC has been rocking our world. TV has become the new indie cinema in the US, but there’s nobody doing it better than the BBC right now. To be invited to be part of a BBC programme is an honour and a bucket-list thing.

And I’m really glad I did it, because I’m working around trained actors. People who still have a respect for the craft and go through the process of learning it. And also working in a country where culture is still deified enough for the government to find it important enough to actually help finance and get behind it, rather than being embarrassed by it as if it's only for the 'elite' or the 'Hollywood elite'. It’s been a very cool, eye-opening and very refreshing experience for me.

Describe the series to us.
I guess it’s a thriller, definitely political and definitely crime, but it’s also so many other things. In a world where the truth - and in particular the truth of journalism - is under assault with this new phrase 'fake news', this is an amazingly important story and exploration. I think that was what fascinated Ben Chanan: the original sin of why he wanted to sit down and grapple with this and turn it into six episodes of television.

It’s a very pertinent series. We are grappling right now with the question of how much privacy we want to sacrifice in order to be safe and free. What’s justifiable and what’s unjustifiable, where are the lines and are they being blurred, and how many articles of clothing do you have to take off when getting on an airplane and feel safe.

We are talking about a completely new breed of warfare that’s more idealistic than anything else, and having to adapt and having to throw out certain things that we assumed were birth rights, and then exchange them for things that are useful in terms of preserving our way of life. These are really important topics and they’re happening right now. You couldn’t have a more current dialectic about all these situations than The Capture. It's very pertinent now and probably will be for many years to come.

August 30, 2019 3:15am ET by BBC One  


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