Interview: Emmett J Scanlan aka Josh in new Netflix series SAFE
SAFE is a brand new eight-part series is created by bestselling writer Harlan Coben and written by BAFTA and Emmy Award winning writer Danny Brocklehurst (Ordinary Lies, The Driver, Shameless).
Multi-award-winning Michael C Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) is playing Tom, a paediatric surgeon and single father of two teenage daughters who is struggling deal with the loss of his wife from cancer more than two years previously. Living and raising his children in a beautiful gated community surrounded by close friends, Tom finds himself on a journey that transforms everyone he knows. How far will you go to protect your family? It’s a question often asked, but Tom will now live it.
Amanda Abbington (Sherlock, Crooked House) joins Hall and is playing Sophie - a formidable detective sergeant. Intelligent, dynamic, perceptive and smart, Sophie lives in the same gated community as Tom and like him, is raising two kids single-handedly. Sophie knows you can’t trust anybody and we glimpse that she is burdened with secrets of her own.
Amanda said: “The collaboration of Harlan Coben, Danny Brocklehurst and RED Productions is what drew me to this role. It’s a fantastic project and I’m thrilled to be working with Michael C Hall and the rest of the talented cast. It’s a great story and I hope people will love it”
Sophie is separated from her husband Josh who is played by Emmett J Scanlan (The Fall, Hollyoaks). Josh is desperately clinging onto his youth - going to gigs, partying all night and generally letting his family down at every opportunity. He does all this in plain sight, choosing as he does, to live in a battered old caravan on his estranged wife Sophie’s, driveway.
Emmett said “To get to tell stories like this one, and to be surrounded by such talented people, it almost feels like I've gate-crashed a party... luck of the Irish it would seem...”
Best-known for her roles as Lady of the lake in Kaamelott and Joséphine Karlsson in Spiral, Audrey Fleurot stars as Zoe, a teacher living in a quintessentially English suburb with her husband of twenty years. She may appear to be the model innocence but when Neil’s back is turned we catch glimpses of an altogether darker and more inscrutable woman. What is Zoe hiding?
Audrey said: “I’m a huge fan of Harlan’s work and it’s an honour for me to work with him in an English show of this level. I can’t wait to see the result!”
Marc Warren (Hustle, Snatch, Mad Dogs) will star as Pete - Tom’s best friend and sidekick. They served in the army together, they work in the hospital together and he’s pretty much a second father to Tom’s daughters. As we follow Pete’s story we’ll start to realise he’s hiding a secret he can’t even share with Tom. Marc added “A Harlan Coben storyline and getting to work with Michael C Hall makes me very happy to be working with RED Production Company on Safe”.
Adding to the stellar line-up are Nigel Lindsay (Victoria, Four Lions) and Laila Rouass (Holby, Stella, Footballers Wives) who play happily married couple, JoJo and Lauren Marshall. They have a rock-solid marriage, a beautiful daughter and a fairy-tale lifestyle. However, as their family become embroiled in a crime, their perfect little world explodes in ways they could never imagine.
Nigel commented: “It’s a good sign when you read the first three episodes of a script and you’re desperate to know what happens next. I read Safe and was hooked. I’m a big fan of Harlan Coben and Michael C Hall and am really looking forward to getting stuck in”. Laila added “I've been a fan of Harlan's work for a long time and I am hugely excited to be a part of this project and to be filming in Manchester."
Emmett J Scanlan told our man Sam Darlaston all about it.
Harlan Coben has an incredible track record with his books. What was it like to bring his work to life on screen?
I’ve just finished watching Harlan Coben’s series “FIVE” on Sky. Not only does he have a plethora of books, but his shows are kicking ass! I have been very lucky to have worked on SAFE. As a person, he’s a ridiculously talented human being, when we were doing Safe, he would email us actors after he’d watched the daily rushes, and he would feedback, and tell us if were doing a good job, and that might not seem like much but its a rare thing when you’re doing a show of this level, to actual get feedback, and its so great. Feedback is oxygen for actors, without it you starve your own soul. It gives you confidence and its remarkable what you can do with confidence. I’d bite his hand off to work with him on another show!
Likewise RED Production Company have an incredible history of delivering big drama. What did you learn from working with them?
I knew of RED, and you always want to work with risk taking companies like RED, they have an incredible record. They just keep doing great work, so to be working alongside them is a huge priviledge. I find it quite humbling, and after SAFE, my next gig was another RED production, doing ‘Butterly’ with Anna Friel, and it was something that I could never not be grateful to them for. Much like with harlan, I hope its the starts of a great working relationship, I’ll always be a fan of them.
It's great to see the series is 8 episodes long, does that mean it's a slow burn?
In the first episode you get introduced to a lot of characters, and with harlan’s work, there’s plenty of twists and turns and the plot is amazing. I remember reading the script, I could never guess what was going to happen next! The most important thing for me when I read a script is the thought of "is there enough for me to keep turning the pages?"… I am pretty sh*t at guessing though (laughs) - but yeah it kept me engaged the entire time.
The cast is brilliant, what was the experience like on and off set?
It was so great. I’d worked with Marc Warren on Snatch, and we didn’t have any scenes together but we have a mutual respect and a friendship. Working with Amanda who plays my ex wife in Safe, was amazing, she doesn’t try to compete for anything, she just wants to create. She’s fearless. Michael C. Hall is amazing, once you get over "oh my god thats the guy from dexter" in your head (laughs) he’s the nicest guy, and it was so exciting for me to work with him, and every time we had a right laugh.
Favourite memory on set?
When you’re doing a show right, theres the honeymoon period. Where you all love each other and can’t keep your hands off each other, metaphorically speaking (laughs). With Safe, it honestly was just the honeymoon period right up until the wrap. Everyone just got along, it was so beautiful. It created a great environment to work in.
What can you tell us about your character?
He’s an ex husband, he’s the father of two beautiful kids… That’s how old I am now, I play Dads (laughs). He lives in a caravan on the front lawn of his ex wife house, and he drinks a lot! He drinks to deaden the pain, he’s a child himself. Josh just adapts to whatever environment he’s in. He lives life to the max, which can cause him great pain. In a nutshell he’s a bad husband, but a great father. Much like everyone in the show, he’s got his own secrets.
What’s in a can of beer on set?
It’s non-alcoholic beer unfortunately. Just in case you mess up a few takes, they don’t want you drunk for the last one. Like whisky on set usually is apple juice, wine is often Ribena. (laughs) it’s not alcohol unfortunately. It’s so clever, all they do is get the non-alcoholic beer, and you put the alcoholic beer labels over it. It does still taste the same as beer though! So I reckon there must be like 0.01% booze in there somewhere!
Without giving too much away, what sets Safe apart from other gritty dramas which are currently on tv?
So, stories are like music. We one have a few chords to play with, and how we put those chords together, determines where we stand, and what makes your show different from other shows. But how you put them chords together is limitless. Our chords are RED productions, Michael C hall, Netflix, Danny Brocklehurst, and everyone else, and when you put them all together, it makes something beautiful.