Payback's Peter Mullan on why actors and 'crooks' are 'two sides of the same coin'

Virgin Radio

4 Oct 2023, 13:53

Peter Mullan in Payback

Credit: ITV

Jed Mercurio’s latest drama Payback is about to begin on ITV.

Speaking with and other press at a preview event last month, the show’s star Peter Mullan revealed how his role as the crime boss Cal Morris reminded him of some of the similarities shared between actors and the individuals who inhabit the criminal world. 

“There’s a very close association between the criminal world and the acting world,” the multi award-winning actor suggested.

“A lot of actors love criminals, and criminals love actors,” he continued. “Because they’re two sides of the same coin. There’s a lot of performance [going] on as a crook… they have to present an image of themselves.”

On the topic of playing the role of financial criminal Cal Morris alongside the show’s other lead Morven Christie, Peter said he relished the opportunity to play the bad guy.

“It’s always good fun, bad guys are good fun,” he said. “Good guys are boring, but bad guys are good fun.”

Talking about his character, Peter praised the show’s writer Debbie O’Malley for how Cal is “three dimensional.”

“He’s a human being,” he said. But with that said, Cal still appears to be a nasty piece of work.

When asked whether he found it hard to like his role as a result, the 63-year-old replied: “I’ve never been a fan of actors who want their characters to be liked. I have no interest in that whatsoever. Being understood is all that matters.”

He added: “The worst thing an actor can say is, you know… ‘they’ll not like me after this moment’ or whatever. That’s not your concern. But it is important though that yeah, you’re showing a human being.”

Payback begins on ITV1 and ITVX on Wednesday 4th October at 9pm.