Joseph Mawle talks “complex” characters and laments the “sad” cancellation of ‘Ripper Street’
© Justin Downing
Actor Joseph Mawle is a well known face on TV appearing in Game Of Thrones, Ripper Street, Birdsong and films including, The Awakening and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to name a few. I had the pleasure of interviewing Joseph for the DVD release of The Tunnel, which is released on 13th January, in which he stars as Stephen Beaumont in the Anglo-French adaption of the Danish/Swedish series The Bridge. He’s played many a villain but during our interview Joseph was a very pleasant, happy and genuine personality, and nothing like the characters he portrays – basically just a genuine nice guy. Have a read below what he had to say about The Tunnel and the cancellation of Ripper Street…
For those that haven’t seen ‘The Tunnel’ how would you describe the series?
It’s a noir thriller, 10 hours long. It’s cocky and intriguing, dark and shadowy – it’s worth the time to watch. It bends ones mind one way or another. It’s very social-political, very much to do with our society today and our relations with foreign countries like France, who are just our neighbours and so often we mis-communicate with each other and it’s always interesting to see how that gets played out.
Your character Stephen Beaumont is quite shady character, you’re never quite sure if he’s trustworthy?
That’s good! It obviously worked, that was the plan. Yeah, he’s essentially not a bad person but is a very complicated soul, so some of his actions are seen as despicable and deplorable from the outside point of view. I think he grows in himself, becomes aware of certain aspects, traits that are not so good about himself. In a funny way, the less said about Stephen the better for those who would like to buy the boxset – I would like people to journey with him and the other characters.
What’s Stephen’s relationship like with his sister Suze (played by Keeley Hawes), they seems very dependant on each other?
Yeah absolutely. Yeah he does, he does, again depending on how you look at that relationship it can be interpreted many different ways. I have a very clear idea of what he feels and thinks of his sister… which would be very unhealthy in any normal society. He is also aware of that with his guilt and Catholic guilt behind him. They both come from very confused places with their relationships with their father and mother and where they’re from and their identities… I’m probably getting far too heavy but they are very complex people.
You play a social worker, did you have to do much research for the role?
I did do a lot of research but one of the big discoveries to find out is, ‘is he a social worker and what are the purposes for what he is doing?’ And some of those questions get answered if one looks deep enough to try and see enough of what is going on – equally he could just be a social worker.
What was Keeley Hawes, Stephen Dillane an Clémence Poésy like to work with?
They’re all incredibly lovely and generous.
Have you worked with any of the cast before?
Yes I’d worked with Clémence we were on Birdsong together in different elements of the story and also on a film called Heartless, so yeah I do know Clémence and she’s a fantastic actor, very intelligent creative person; similar with Stephen and Keeley. It was a real blessing to have such good company and hopefully we would help each other out when things got a bit dark and confusing, you know, chew the fat over a scene and try and make sense of it and see what would make the strongest impact and the most powerful outcome. It was really exciting to do.
We recently saw you in Ripper Street, what do you think about the cancellation?
[Joseph’s character Jedediah Shine was last seen at the end of series 2 taking a severe beating from Drake (Jerome Flynn) in the boxing ring.]
It’s such a great family of people, the people on Ripper Street. Richard Warlow the writer, Matthew, Jerome and Adam, I was really sad for them in particular cos they’re such a great team.
LoveFilm may be picking it up?
Not saying anything too much babe.
You’re character was clinging on for life so technically he could come back?
Trust me, trust me, he was back up every time. They just told me to go down.
Joseph as Det. Insp. Jedediah Shine in Ripper Street
What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m gonna start filming soon again here in England, then I’m flying off to the States soon to get some more work there, and I’ve got a film called ‘In The Heart Of The Sea’ which Ron Howard directed – we just finished filming that about two-and-a-half-weeks-ago. It will be a little while before that one will be in the cinema, and then ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ will come out sometime this year – they’re both features, no television planned as yet.
The Tunnel is released on Blu-ray and DVD with some fantastic special features on 13 January 2014