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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Linus Roache on his “Acting Bug”

Linus Roache (Law & Order's Michael Cutter) spoke to the Toronto Sun while he was there promoting the release of his film “Before the Rains.’ Here’s the article:

Where did Roache get the acting bug? Ask his parents


He may be best known as one of the good guys on TV's Law & Order, but Linus Roache makes a mighty fine villain.

Roache, 44, stars in Before the Rains, a drama about love, greed and betrayal set in India in the 1930s.

In the film, Roache is Henry Moores, a British colonialist trying to expand his spice business. He is ambitious and hard working, and he appears to have an enlightened view of the country and its people. In fact, he's having an affair with his Indian housemaid, and when their relationship has dire consequences, Roache's character proves to be morally bankrupt.

Roache was in Toronto recently to promote Before the Rains when the film was featured at the film festival. The soft-spoken Englishman doesn't seem like anybody's idea of a nefarious character, but he's very articulate on the subject of his character's moral depravity. It's a subtle process, but, "It's one choice after another, until his soul is irretrievably lost," says the actor. "He's out there, ambitiously. He's not a wimp."

The challenge for him, says Roache, was staying within the context of the times.


Growing up in the south of England, Roache encountered some of these ex-Raj types in his childhood.

"I knew a lot of those guys through my mother, and those old married Raj guys, they had had mistresses. It was not even morally questioned. Having servants was normal too. So it was okay, if you were brought up in that culture -- but then you have an interesting dilemma as an actor, 'cause your modern sensiblity is, 'Oh god, they're not going to like me if I'm a little superior to the maid, or the foreman.' But that's chickening out of the truth of the moral context and social structure of the time. So you have to be true to it, and that also brings out the humanity of it."

Roache is the son of two actors, William Roache, who is one of the stars of Coronation Street, and Anna Cropper. His mother's role in The Jewel in the Crown meant that Roache first visited India at 16, and has visited many times since. Filming Before the Rains was his first extended stay in the Kerala area.


His own acting career began at age nine, when he played alongside his father on Coronation Street. After theatrical training and stage work for the next two decades, he made a big impact on film in 1994 as a gay Catholic clergyman in Antonia Bird's Priest. He has since appeared in such movies as The Namesake, Batman Begins, The Chronicles of Riddick, Beyond Borders, Find Me Guilty and Wings of the Dove. Roache won a Best Actor award at the Evening Standard Film Awards for Julian Temple's extraordinary film Pandaemonium, which also first appeared at the Toronto film festival.

On TV, Roache has been in Seaforth, Kidnapped and Law & Order, as well as the TV movie JFK and HBO's The Gathering Storm and Shot Through the Heart.

He has had a lot of success for a guy who once seriously considered dropping out of acting entirely. By age 30, says Roache, he'd reached a lot of the goals he'd made for himself and wondered if acting was something with which he should continue.

"I walked away from it," he says, "and I thought, quite seriously, I wouldn't come back." After a period of thinking things over, however, "I missed the freedom acting gave me." Lucky for us.

Currently, Roache lives in New York with his wife, actress Rosalind Bennett.

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