Film actor, Josh Hartnett takes a break from Hollywood drama in favour of a new series, Penny Dreadful, on Showtime, saying he is having a good time. “I enjoy the fact that it’s this ongoing sort of vessel that you’re attached to and you must hang on and enjoy the ride,” says the actor, who recently partnered host Jimmy Fallon in a game of charades on The Tonight Show to beat Charlize Theron and Steve Higging. Hartnett dons a moustache and hat to play fake cowboy, Ethan Chandler, who gets tangled in the supernatural mayhem haunting Victorian London. He joins Timothy Dalton, Eva Green and Billy Piper on the show which received lukewarm reviews. Viewers feel that despite flawless performances and striking visuals, the series lacks gripping appeal. The actor tells us more.
A glimpse of Ethan
When we meet him, he’s working in a Wild West show, travelling through Europe as a sharpshooter, which was kind of the highlight of the show. And so he is enjoying himself in a way. All of the characters have some secrets and Ethan definitely has his as well.
About Penny Dreadful
When it was explained to me, it made a lot of sense that it was a little newspaper that cost a penny to buy and it had topical stories of the day that are usually gory. It’s a great title because it’s evocative but you’re not quite sure what of.
Role of classic horror characters
It might be a hook that brings people in, but what’s really going to keep people interested is the drama and characters who can’t conform for the most part because they are different. They’re cursed in some way or it maybe a benefit. And I think we respond to that — what we consider a curse may actually be our strongest attribute and that’s what this show is about.
Popularity of horror stories
Why do we like to be scared? I mean, why do we like to laugh? It’s just elemental. We’re drawn to these sort of dramatic feelings. We love to be frightened. We also like characters that remind us of our own sort of alienation.
Working with Timothy Dalton
I loved him. He is one of the most sardonic human beings on the planet. He is hilarious. He has always got a quip and it’s done in such a dry way. Tim’s amazing. He is very, very funny.
Getting into character
The best part of my costume that brings me into the character is putting on the belt with the six shooters. Guns are heavy, especially that style of gun, so it weighs me down in a way that’s unusual for me. So that definitely puts me right in. And I’ve got this bowler hat and, as Clint Eastwood said, “The secret to making a good western is choosing the right hat.”
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