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NI actor Anthony Boyle on his starring role in major American TV thriller


Anthony Boyle at the Olivier Awards

Anthony Boyle at the Olivier Awards

Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy in the stage play of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy in the stage play of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Anthony Boyle at the Olivier Awards

Belfast actor Anthony Boyle is delighting fans with his latest starring role in a major American TV series alongside Winona Ryder and John Turturro.

The West End and Broadway star is appearing in HBO's adaptation of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, the alternate history thriller which depicts the political rise of xenophobic Republican, the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.

Boyle (26) - who has also appeared on stage as Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and in Derry Girls - plays Alvin Levin, a rebellious young Jewish orphan living with his uncle's family and forced to watch his community fall apart just as he's trying to find his own path.

The blockbuster miniseries, set during World War Two, explores what would have happened if a fascist-friendly politician had become US president in place of Franklin D Roosevelt and instead of joining the war as a British ally, the US actually stayed out of the fight and sided with Adolf Hitler.

The series, created by The Wire's David Simon, tells that what-if story from the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey, weaving real-life figures into its alternate history.

Based on Roth's 2004 novel, Boyle says his character Levin is described as "emotionally, the rawest of the raw" and wants to defy the government and join up with the Allies.

"He's got a really strong moral compass… even if the law says you can't go and fight, he will," he told NME.

Solo transatlantic aviator Lindbergh, depicted as a fascist politician in show's alternative history, was a significant figure in wartime America.

"He had real backing in the Republican party, and was thinking about running and where we diverted from is that he actually does run," Boyle added.

In the series, he beats real-life wartime president Roosevelt and, according to Boyle, "carnage ensues".

Boyle says he spent time with rabbis and Jewish professors to research his character.

"There was a guy I was chatting to who spoke about collective grief, and how a whole people could hold trauma in the body," he said. "It gave me such an appreciation and insight into the Jewish experience."

Boyle says the scale of the production was awe-inspiring.

"It was so massive, and it felt like I was on the set of one of the 1940s gangster films that I've grown up loving. It was a real moment of, 'Holy s*** man, I'm doing this!" he said.

Boyle spent the Covid-19 lockdown back in west Belfast with his family and starred in The Girl At The Window written by Derry Girls creator, Lisa McGee, part of BBC Northern Ireland's Splendid Isolation series.

The Plot Against America is available on Sky Atlantic and Now TV, with all episodes available on demand.

Belfast Telegraph