10 Jan 2012
Mad Dogs starts Thursday 19th January at 9PM on Sky 1
From The Lakes to State of Play, The Devil’s Whore to Doctor Who, Sex Traffic to Exile, John Simm’s CV reads like a checklist of some of Britain’s best dramas of the last two decades. In 2009, he appeared in Sky1’s Skellig, opposite Kelly MacDonald and Tim Roth, and, in 2010, played Hamlet on stage at the Sheffield Crucible to critical acclaim and packed houses.
Were you surprised that Mad Dogs’ first series was so well-received?
Very! While some people hated it – which I half-expected because it was so different from so much else – they were luckily outnumbered by the people who loved it. You never undertake a project because you think other people will like it, because that way lies madness, but rather because you believe in it. But it’s a great feeling when people do like something, especially when it includes loads of people whose opinions I really value. It’s always feels good when something is well-received but you can’t please everyone, can you?
Did the positive reception mean there was more pressure in making the second series?
There’s probably a bit of ‘second album anxiety’, but I trust everyone working on this series and I’m hopeful that we’ll have made something good at the end of it. This series is the same world and the same characters but it has its own unique feel too. It’s more of a road movie, more Aliens than Alien, if you like. There is a lot of running about, explosions and stunts. And lots of sweating. I feel quite sorry for Leticia [who plays Carmen] as she’s stuck with all us sweaty British boys trying to show off. It must be very tiresome for her but she’s been great.
How was it coming back after a year and getting back into the role and back into the drama a matter of minutes after when the first series ended?
Acting-wise, it was relatively easy to get back into the role because it’s easy working with such lovely lads. But filming the first scene of this series back at the villa, which was meant to be ten minutes after the last scene of the last series, was a bit weird. That we filmed it out-of-sequence, about four weeks into filming, didn’t help either. It was tough but it’s our job to make it believable – and slipping on Baxter’s oh-so-familiar and, frankly, sweaty shirt brought it all back…
What’s in store for Baxter this series?
Well he lights the fuse on the story for this series – by making the fateful decision of putting stolen money in the boot of their car. It’s pure avarice and it catapults them back into calamity. From there on, it’s all his fault. I’m not even sure I like him that much.
Do you have to like a character you play?
I don’t think you do but you have to empathise at least a little bit. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to portray him. With Baxter, he can be horrible but they all can. None of them are particularly nice guys.
How does the group dynamic change?
For a start, there’s this beautiful girl Carmen thrown into the mix and that really livens things up in a really unexpected way.
Could Baxter be happy ever after? What would you like to happen to him?
We’ve all got loads of ideas what we’d like to happen to our characters but none of us know as it’s all in the head of writer Cris Cole. In an ideal world they’d be running an antiques shop and never see any of these idiots ever again. Of course there wouldn’t be much fun in that for the audience so I’m hoping for something really dark and horrible. I’d really look forward to a third series because the way this series moves up a gear means that the possibilities are endless.
Finally, what’s your holiday essential?
Oh, a book. Well, Books. I’m reading The Brothers Karamazov [by Fyodor Dostoyevsky] at the moment. I know, I know – heavy stuff. But I thought I’d give it a go having been in an adaptation of Crime and Punishment for Channel 4. I love reading. Couldn’t live without it.