What was your reaction to seeing series one come together?
I very rarely watch my own stuff, but my kids enjoyed it! I was drawn to the show because it has a certain amount of anarchy to it from my character’s perspective – and the Worth family as well. So it had that kind of slight madness. I also felt that it was intriguing that the sparking point, within the first episode, was the death of a child. That piqued my interest. The nugget that held it all together was this event.
Your character, Jack, had quite a clear motivation last season – revenge. What is driving him in series two?
By the end of series one, my character is effectively shunned by his own family because of his ‘activities’ – to put it mildly. So we took that and ran with it. Then the main elements of the next episodes were, how do you get them back and can you get them back? And if you can, how do you go about that? We also added this incoming threat from the past of Genevieve [O’Reilly’s] character and my character, which kind of sows the seed for a third series.
Jack seems to have broken every barrier already.
Yeah, just on a behavioural level, as far as my character is concerned, his vocabulary is a bit mental. [He’s], ‘You come near my family and instead of having an argument with you, I’m going to shoot you’. And that’s the problem. So it’s the way that he acts and, in a sense, he is his own worst nightmare. But unfortunately he’s missing a chip as far as civility is concerned. But I liked that just when you thought you had it pinned down, what the show was, it changed on you. The anarchy of this family is addictive.
Tin Star brilliantly combines humour with incredibly dark moments. What impact does that have?
The constant question I had last series was, how do we deal with that amount of grief? Because it’s going to grind the audience down. So we approach it with humour as much as possible. As much as we had to play the fear and own up to the fear and the terror of what we were dealing with, we also had to find a way to temper that a little bit – temper the grief with humour. How do you help the audience live with it? That was the challenge.
What was it like being back on location in Canada?
I actually enjoyed it much more this time. The first time, because it’s such a shock going into a 10-episode series, I didn’t really get to see where I was. This time, once we had decided how we were going to go about our business, I made sure that I took a few hours at the weekend to just breathe. It was a 24/7 workplace, but I pushed myself out of the door so that I actually enjoyed it.
What were the best scenes to shoot – and your most difficult?
Having fun depends a lot on the actors you’re working with and I loved working with them all. So if you had a good acting day, a day with the people that you love, then you go home feeling good. For me, my most difficult stuff is when I have to be in scenes I don’t want to be in. Everything else is fine. Rolling around in the snow hurts for a while, but then you get back in front of the heater.
You’ve been known to turn your hand to directing, too. Is there anything in the pipeline?
Because my kids are pretty much through college now, I am looking for a project to direct. I have three possible movies, two scripted and one not, and then I have a television series I want to produce, which I may or may not act in. So I am jumping all over the place. I also have a King Lear that [Harold Pinter] adapted for me. It’s been sitting there ready to do, so I might just dip into that.
And finally, what would you be doing if it wasn’t this?
I never wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a painter, but then this woman at school said, ‘Oi come over here and do this’ and I ended up prancing about with a cape. But that was it. That changed my life. And I’ve been wanting to do it – and have done it – ever since. I love it and it is probably very therapeutic, although at times you want to blow your brains out.
Tin Star returns to Sky Atlantic and NOW TV tonight.