Belfast Telegraph

Martin Freeman had ‘no acting policy’ during filming for new police drama

The actor plays a real-life detective whose career ended after helping to bring a double murderer to justice.

Martin Freeman stars in A Confession (Matt Crossick/PA)
Martin Freeman stars in A Confession (Matt Crossick/PA)

Martin Freeman has said he had a “no acting policy” during filming for new police drama A Confession.

The Sherlock actor, 47, plays former detective superintendent Steve Fulcher in the forthcoming ITV crime series.

Fulcher oversaw the arrest of Christopher Halliwell during Wiltshire Police’s investigation into the murder of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan.

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Martin Freeman (Ian West/PA)

However, in trying to rescue O’Callaghan, Fulcher broke numerous protocols, costing him his career and reputation.

Freeman told PA he wanted to respect the victim’s family so avoided “trying to wrench an emotion” from the audience.

He said he had gone for a coffee with director Paul Andrew Williams and agreed they should have a “no acting policy” on set.

He added: “I didn’t want anything to do with trying to wrench an emotion from an audience and make them cry and all that shit.

“It is just horrible especially with something that is true because real life does that anyway. You don’t need to lay anything on.

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Imelda Staunton (Matt Crossick/PA)

“And I have worked with Paul before and having seen Paul’s other work as well as a director it was just nice to have that understanding. You can’t gild it.”

Set in Swindon in 2011, the six-part series also stars Happy Valley’s Siobhan Finneran as O’Callaghan’s mother Elaine.

Olivier Award winner Imelda Staunton also appears as another missing girl Becky’s mother, Karen Edwards

Freeman added: “There were a couple of times when as Fulcher (I was) just reacting to Siobhan and Imelda and their grief.

“I gave myself the brief of, again: ‘Don’t act, don’t layer anything on.’ Just react, which I think is the most effective (way of) acting. There was a lot to react to.

“It was very, very powerful seeing a sort of animal grief, like horrible noises and you didn’t have to bring anything. You just had to be present.

“I felt it was respectful to the story and I felt it was respectful to the people who had actually gone through it. And who are still going through it, of course.

“It is not for a load of actors to come along and go: ‘Hey let’s feel your pain, not tell the truth because the truth is awful enough.’”

A Confession will air on ITV later this summer.

PA

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