Clive Owen Video Interview On ‘Shadow Dancer,’ Playing An MI-5 Agent
Clive Owen plays an MI-5 agent taking on the IRA in James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer based on the novel by Tom Bradby. “I wasn’t looking to work, I was finishing something. I was tired. I wanted to take a break,” Owen told Uinterview in an exclusive interview. “And because it was James Marsh, I read it and I loved it.”
Owen first made a name for himself in the UK TV series Chancer, in which he played the lead role as a conman. However, it wasn’t until Close My Eyes (1991), that he broke through in the U.K. While making a name for himself back at home, Owen didn’t gain fame in the U.S. until the release of Sin City in 2005.
In Shadow Dancer, Owen once again finds himself picking up the lead role as Mac, opposite an IRA agent played by Andrea Riseborough. “She’s a really fine actress so the chemistry kind of just happens,” he told Uinterview. “And when you’re working with someone who’s really good, you don’t need to work that hard.”
[Director] James [Marsh] asked me not to read the novel because he said it changed so much. No, to be honest with you, when I was sent the script, I wasn't looking to work. I was finishing something. I was tired, I wanted to take a break and because it was James Marsh, I loved Man on Wire. I read it and I loved it. I thought it was a really tight, well thought out script. It was very gripping and I then spoke to him on the phone about it and he spoke so intelligently about it, and I just jumped on it and said, âOk, Iâll do it,â and I left the film I was doing and went straight to Dublin and did it.
The original book that Tom Bradby wrote, you know this whole thing really is not that rare, this whole thing of recruiting people at that time. I just felt that the script was in such good shape that I could just commit to that really.
Not really, but one thing I think I was left with after reading the script and after I saw the finished film was, it was a very human drama. It's a very human story. It's about the characters within it. It is political, but it's about all the characters navigating their way through this very tough time and the one thing I was left with at the end is: it was a tough place at a very tough time for everyone that was sort of born into that world really.
You know, the opening scene is very important where I recruit her because this girl comes from an IRA family, and the idea that you can turn someone like them and get them work for you — you’ve got to be convincing in that so it was important that that scene felt convincing to us and to the audience so that you’d then buy the fact that she would turn against her own family and start to reform so that had its own challenges for sure.
It was one of those that was kind of independent really. We came, you know, she’s a really fine actress so the chemistry kind of just happens when you’re working with someone who’s really good. You don’t really have to work that hard. But also, it’s not like you’re playing family members where you have to get to know each other really well and get at ease with each other. We’re playing people on polar opposite sides of the world really so it was just sort of about making that believable and bringing our own things really, rather than feeling comfortable with each other.