Thursday, April 23, 2015

Matthew Macfadyen says he has an open mind about poltergeists

First published Wednesday 22 April 2015 in News
Last updated 04:58 Thursday 23 April 2015

Star of The Enfield Haunting Matthew Macfadyen says he has an open mind about poltergeists

Matthew Macfadyen plays Guy Lyon Playfair, who was sent to the Hodgsons house to investigate what was going on.

What attracted you to the project?

Timothy Spall and Rosie Cavaliero, both of whom I’ve worked with before. I worked with Tim on a Stephen Poliakoff drama called Perfect Strangers, and I did Little Dorrit with Rosie for the BBC. It always comes down to the script, though, which was well-written, fascinating and properly scary.

Were they the sort of scripts you could just rattle through?

 That’s my litmus test, how quickly I can get through them. You know it’s a chore when you think, oh, I could be doing something else right now.

The Enfield Haunting isn’t just a jolty story about a mean poltergeist, either, is it?

No, it’s nuanced and beautifully written. It’s not a documentary, but a dramatic retelling, so there are bits which are teased and pushed in certain directions for the purposes of telling a story. I love everything to do with Maurice and his daughter. If it hadn’t been so delicately handled, it could have been quite naff.

How much did you know about the Hodgson case before you signed on?

I didn’t know anything about it and, stupidly, I didn’t read The House is Haunted, the book by Guy Lyon Playfair that the series is based on. I came straight from Ripper Street on to this and was a bit frazzled. They kindly organised for me to meet the real Guy, though, which was interesting.

What did you make of him?

He’s in his 80s now and absolutely fascinating. It’s always daunting when you play someone who is real, although I’m not doing an impersonation, that’s not the gig. I’m just taking what I fancy. Saying that, I hope Guy isn’t too horrified at what he sees. I’ll have to write a letter of apology. The Hodgsons’ story is very divisive. Some people believe them, others think they made the whole thing up.

What’s your take?

I have an open mind. I think the sensible stance to take in this situation is to be agnostic and go, I just don’t know. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but I know plenty of people who have and they’re not gullible. There was definitely something going on, it’s just unexplained. I’m certainly not in the ‘that’s all cobblers’ camp. That would be very short-sighted.


No comments: