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Hatfields & McCoys
It was a case of Walford meets Hollywood when Hatfields & McCoys was cast. Not only does the thrilling mini-series about two American families embarking on a bitter and bloody feud that lasted decades star Hollywood heavyweights Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton and Tom Berenger, there are no fewer than three former members of EastEnders involved — Ben Cartwright (Tony Jamison), Michael Greco (Beppe di Marco), and Joe Absolom (Matthew Rose.) Joe, 33, told TV Choice more…
What was it like bumping into your former EastEnders colleagues when you arrived to film Hatfields & McCoys on location in Romania?
I was, like ‘Hello mate!’ And Michael Greco was in the bar as well, we were like, ‘All right?’ We were in the mountains of Romania, in the snow going ‘f----ing hell, all right?’
How was it working with Kevin Costner?
Hellish! Nah, he was pukka. I mostly do TV stuff, so when you go and do a job like this and you say, ‘Who’s in it?’ and they go, ‘Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger,’ you go, ‘Bloody hell!
How did you come to be cast?
It was cast in London last August. I just got a phone call saying, ‘Are you around tomorrow at four o’clock?’ I had to get my mother-in-law to look after the baby, so I went along really grumpy. Sometimes you go to these big job castings and it’s literally 10 minutes in a room for jobs you sort of know you’re not going to get. But they rang me back a week later and said, ‘Don’t shave or cut your hair,’ which is brilliant because I’m quite lazy about doing that anyway, and then they rang up again and said, ‘You’ve got it, you have to go to Romania for a bit.’ So it was a bit of a buzz because it was a really good director and a really good cast. I haven’t got a major part, but it was just a bit different from what I’d done before, a bit of an experience to go and essentially get paid to be hairy and shoot guns and stuff. And I had to learn to ride a horse and everything. It was great!
So is your character already married to a Hatfield when we first see him?
My character, Selkirk McCoy, ends up with the Hatfields because he’s banished from his clan. Because he’s a traitor really, he’s a turncoat. I guess that’s the word for it. My character’s useless — the moment anyone points a gun at him he just gives up! But if you think about it, those times would have been tough.
What about the horse riding?
Man, I said, ‘I don’t ride a horse, innit?’ They went, ‘Well, you better learn!’ The story spans about 20 years — which I didn’t find out until about day four of filming, because they kept putting white in my beard. The make-up team were Italian, so some things do get lost in translation, and they’re putting white in there and you’re thinking, ‘Should I say something?’ There were very few creature comforts on set — Costner’s trailer was like a caravan people went on holiday in in the Seventies ! The rest of us all had these little hutches to hang out in between takes!
Was it hard being separated from your girlfriend Liz and your kids for three months? (Lyla, five, and Casper, two)
I loved it! One day I got a call at 6am from my girlfriend, crying, going, ‘There’s someone in the house!' So we got burgled, basically, but she rang me first! I was like, ‘I’m in f---ing Bucharest!’ They couldn’t come out to see me because Lyla’s started school — she’s year one, you can’t really take them out of school.
Are you looking forward to filming the next series of Doc Martin?
Yeah, that’s great because that’s quite a family-based job. We’ll take the kids down for most of the job, I think. I like Cornwall. We’ve made some quite good friends down there. It has become a bit of a home from home.
Channel 5, Thursday