Stephen Graham: Vulnerable and volatile characters are a 'gift'

Stephen Graham: Vulnerable and volatile characters are a 'gift'

Stephen Graham believes that playing volatile characters is a "gift".

The 'This Is England' star has played a number of troubled characters over his career - including Joseph in TV drama 'The Virtues' - but he insisted he loves playing them, even if they are challenging physically.

In an interview with Total Film magazine, Stephen said: "I go back knackered. Physically, you've had a good day's graft. But it's so much fun because, in real life, you'd never get away with throwing a f***ing glass at a wall. I love playing those kinds of characters.

"But also on the other side of it, with something like 'The Virtues'. For me, to be able to play a character like, that, who's really broken and vulnerable? Man, it was a gift."

The 46-year-old actor also revealed that he wants leave audiences asking questions about the alter egos he takes on, rather than portraying them in a "two-dimensional way".

He added: "Bad men or gangsters are often portrayed in a very two-dimensional way. But it's what's underneath that. It's a kaleidoscope of different feelings. I always like to make sure that there's something that will make the audience question themselves."

During his career, Graham has played real-life figures such as infamous gangster Al Capone in 'Boardwalk Empire', and he always attempts to put his own stamp on the character.

He explained: "It's a great bonus, because you can study, and you don't have to create a brand-new backstory. You can find out where they lived, where they went to school and there are photographs. But I try to make them my own.

"So with somebody like Al Capone, we know the latter side of his life, we know the latter side of his life, and we know what he was like - you know, this gregarious, flamboyant f***ing millionaire.

"But for the early stages of that, I wanted to bring a bit more humour into him, and the humanity of him. Because he's not always going to f***ing smash a glass on someone's head and stamp on their face. What's he like when he's telling his kid a bedtime story?"