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Rupert Friend found it an "enticing challenge" trying to find depth and nuance in his problematic character in Anatomy of a Scandal.
In the new Netflix miniseries, the Homeland actor plays MP James Whitehouse, who is accused of rape by a political aide with whom he was having an affair.
Speaking to reporters at the show's recent premiere in London, Rupert explained that playing a caricature bad guy wasn't appealing so he challenged himself to bring more substance to the character.
"What we set out to do from the very beginning was make a layered, nuanced story. The idea of just having a bad man who does something awful and gets away with it is just not interesting," he explained. "What we wanted to look at was the nature of what might make somebody behave in a way where they don't seem to think they've ever done anything wrong.
"We all think of people in positions of power who have or are behaving in a way where it's one rule for them and we all have a different rule, which has always struck me as incredibly unfair. So, to get inside the skin of somebody who lives his life that way wasn't necessarily the most attractive proposition but it became a very enticing challenge and, in the end, it was a rewarding one too."
The British star added that he couldn't put the scripts down when he first read them as the twist and turns "come thick and fast".
"The pages are turning themselves because you're like, 'I can't believe... I have to read another one.' It's a bit like that when you watch it, it's just like, OK, let's cue up the next one," he stated.
Anatomy of a Scandal, also starring Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, and Naomi Scott, is streaming on Netflix now.