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Interview: Action-packed series Mad Dogs is back for a third season

New Straits Times
Dennis Chua
4 June 2013

The misadventures of Woody, Quinn, Baxter and Rick continue in the third season of Mad Dogs starting this Thursday.

In the first season of the hit British black comedy series, the lads (all in their 40s) planned for a reunion at their old friend Alvo’s luxury villa in Majorca, Spain. But before the weekend was out, Alvo was murdered by a man wearing a Tony Blair mask.

The second season saw them fleeing the villa and going on a journey to Ibiza where they found themselves under the control of a criminal known as Mackenzie. They could not believe their luck when Mackenzie allowed them to leave, together with 5 million euros.

Now that they are in Morocco, the boys are being interrogated in a Guantanamo-style prison camp somewhere in the desert. Slowly, they realise this is not a criminal outfit but the British Foreign Office. Fortunately, they are let off.

But on the way out of the camp, someone starts to shoot at them, kicking into motion a chain of events that sees events spiral even further out of control.

Below is an interview with the cast members Philip Glenister (P), who plays Quinn, John Simm (J) who plays Baxter, Marc Warren (MW) as Rick, Max Beesley (MB) as Woody and Cris Cole the series’ writer (C).

The Cast of Mad Dogs, Series 3

The Cast of Mad Dogs, Series 3

Cris, can you tell us why you decided to move it from Majorca? Did you feel it was time to move on?
We wanted to go somewhere new.  Not reinvent it but start in a new precinct and as you know from episode 2, we’re actually moving forward in time as well to sort of make a big change.

Max, how does Woody cope in the new situation in South Africa?
Well he’s gone from being a guy who looks after situations and cares about people, to falling off the wagon a little bit from the pressure. But what I like about Woody is (that) the other chaps, if there is some kind of dilemma (or) there is a problem, they congregate toward him because he’s a survivor through his journey as an alcoholic, drug addict and his ex-girlfriend killing herself.

Max Beesley in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 1

Max Beesley in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 1

Phil, Could you tell us about where Quinn lands up?
He ends up in South Africa running a dodgy club in Cape Town. I think out of all the characters he is the most removed in many respects. In his background he’s the one that would probably embrace change more than the rest because coming from a broken marriage and two grown-up children that have gone on to do their own things. I think he’s slightly removed from it all and if anybody is going to start fresh he’s the best equipped for it at this stage.

Philip Glenister in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 2

Philip Glenister in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 2

Cris, one of the striking things about the series is how unpredictable it is in a good way. Is it hard to sustain those twists and turns that keep surprising us?
It is but it’s also one of the biggest challenges that we try to embrace. For me, surprise is the most important thing of all. When I watch something,  what I enjoy the most is the big surprise that I don’t expect, so that’s always the challenge as we start the storyline: How we can make it as different and weird as possible.

John, in the second episode we see that as soon as they’re reunited they start bickering like they have done for 25 years in a way that old friends only can. What does the show says about friendship?
Yeah, I think from series one, many people around our age can relate to this. Friends that you were very close to when you were growing up and that you had such great times together and then moved on, got married, had kids, moved away, grown apart and then to try and get back together again. To try and recreate the old times never quite works and it really doesn’t work for this lot, it goes terribly wrong but I think everybody can relate to that. They’re friends, they love each other and they need each other more than they actually realise and that’s the great thing about it. When we all get split up in this one, (since) we’ve been apart for two years, when you see us again hopefully the audience will want us to get back together as before.

John Simm in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 4

John Simm in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 4

Max, there’s obviously a good chemistry between the four of you. (Is it) important that translates to the screen?
Yeah. Through the years we’ve all been on the same sort of platter within the dynamic of jobs and gone for the same sort of jobs. So initially it was a recipe for disaster. On the first day — and I remember it vividly — we were doing a pretty heavy scene and John and I had a face-off moment. I remember thinking he’s doing great work and I said that was awesome and I think John thought I was taking the piss (laughter) but very quickly by the end of that day we all realised that it would be incredibly beneficial to support each other’s work and by now in the third series, we’re incredibly close friends. We speak to each other probably once a week and e-mail each other and that gives you the dynamic and the area to be able to push all the other nuances within the show.

Marc, they’re all great characters. How similar are you in real life to these characters?
I think we’re all really very different. Who’s the most different? I would probably say Max. It’s a compliment! I just remember when it started I said to Cris I just wanted to shout at John a lot.

J: Where did that come from though?

MW: I like shouting at you! Another thing that Cris said that I sort of nicked was that he thought of us as a family and I really liked that. So Phil would be the Dad, John would be the Mum, Max is the good child and I’m the naughty one — I quite liked that. We also like to think of each other as the Beatles!

Marc Warren in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 3

Marc Warren in a scene from Mad Dogs, Episode 3

Cris, you already shot the fourth series. What can you tell us about that?
The fourth series sort of picks up from where the first series ends and then spirals out of control in very exciting and unexpected ways. It has a phenomenally unexpected ending.

Max, I wanted to ask about acting with your Dad. In the second episode he appears, what was that like?
It was amazing, My Dad gets on with all the boys. He comes out on jobs that I do occasionally when he’s not working but he’s been acting for the last five or six years. He’s an impressionist and musician. Cris and Adrian said “look, there’s a part here — could your old man do it?” and I said “yeah, he’s gonna be out there anyway”. Inevitably, when you’re guesting on the show and have got one or two lines, there’s more pressure than having a soliloquy. It’s horrendous so I think he was a bit nervous but he was just great and the boys just love him.

Did you expect the show to be so successful?
MB: It was unexpected and it got nominated for a Bafta but it (the show’s success) could have gone either way.

J: We’re delighted that we ended up doing four (seasons) which has been amazing. We all go off and do different jobs away from each other, Phil likens it to being in a band and doing your solo project and inevitably what happens is you don’t get the same experience,  because you’re with different dynamics. This has been a complete dream and we’re lucky to have got four seasons out of initially what was just an idea from Marc to do a thing about a band and then Cris came on board, his synopsis and treatment  just blew everything out of the water.

Cris, after season four will you do more?
There’s only so much you can do with the audience where you’re keeping them involved.  What I think is great about this show is it’s a very unbelievable dynamic what the boys get into, however, most audience members really believe it when they’re there and I think that’s what’s been successful about this show. It’s going to be sad because the fourth is probably the last.

Mad Dogs airs on Kix HD (Astro 729) every Thursday at 9pm.

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