AIDAN Turner has described filming a tower block stunt in the tense thriller The Suspect as “terrifying”.
The 39-year-old actor plays psychologist Dr Joseph O’Loughlin, whose seemingly perfect life is thrown out of balance when he’s diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
He copes by aiding detectives on a murder case but becomes entangled in a web of lies. It soon becomes clear Joe has a dark side, and his interest in the murder could be hiding some criminal tendencies of his own.
The upcoming ITV drama series is based on the books by Michael Robotham.
The Irish actor, who is married to the American actress Caitlin Fitzgerald, admitted that when he filmed the opening scene where his character considers jumping off a bridge, he was genuinely scared because he struggles with heights.
He said: “I’m not good with heights. We were high up, which is great when you do these things because you could just infiltrate your emotion.
“Playing fear, or dialling that up… if there wasn’t a height — if you’re doing a green screen thing, for instance — I mean, they’re really tricky because to try and evoke that emotion in yourself, it’s harder. You tend to overcook it.”
The former Poldark star said any shrieks heard in the opening scene of the thriller were genuine but called it a “great introduction” to the character and a good way to start the series.
Director James Strong admitted that putting the opening scene together was “quite complicated” because he wanted to try to film as much of it as if it were real as possible.
He said: “You take it apart and look at all the elements. It is about constructing the jigsaw. All the different pieces of…where we can have Aidan for real, where’s it got to be the stunt team, where’s it got to be green screen and all those little elements, and what the VFX can give us, credibly, that you believe, and can kind of sell the sequence.
“We did actually do as much of it as we could for real, so we were hanging people off that huge building. I think [that] helps sell it. But it’s a complicated sequence of elements that come together.”
Aidan also met with Parkinson’s patients to prepare for the role.
He said: “I met up with a great guy. His name is Drew Hallam. He’s 39 now, the same age as me. And he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 35, which is very young to be diagnosed with that illness.
“We talked about the details of how the medication makes him feel and what it was like in the early days. I was talking to him about how reckless Joe might be, and he said, ‘Absolutely I didn’t know what to do with myself.’.
“He was really interesting to talk to because I felt like there were these parallels with Joe. I feel like everything we talked about was vital, crucial to me finding Joe’s character.”
The Suspect is scheduled to air on ITV later this year