“True Blood” star Stephen Moyer had some help getting into character as gangster Teddy Bass in his new Paramount series “Sexy Beast” — his custom suits were created by the same London tailor who made Daniel Craig look so stylish as James Bond.
“Cathy Prior, our costume designer, took me over to Academy Costume, and I met Adrian Gwillym. Adrian is a legend in the business. He’s [made suits] for everybody from Michael Caine very early on. He’s extraordinary.”
According to Moyer, Prior wanted to “create an iconic image and an iconic façade” for the character, who is a younger version of the intimidating criminal kingpin played by Ian McShane in the 2000 film.
“Adrian and I looked at probably 75 different books of texture and cloth. We looked at it against my body, against my skin. We looked at three-piece suits and two-piece suits. And obviously, it’s [set in] the ’90s, so we looked at double breasted, we looked at all of it.
“He measured me, so when that suit turned up in Liverpool, because we were shooting in Liverpool, just a few days later, and I put it on, there was not one correction to be made. It was absolutely fitted to my body. It was so beautiful,” Moyer gushed.
“When you put something like that on, when you step into something like that, it makes you stand in a certain way,” he continued. “It makes you hold yourself in a certain way. It alters the way that your physicality is.”
To get into character, Moyer revisited the movie “concentrating on the wonderful Ian McShane and using his mannerisms and characteristics, and the way that he holds himself as a template for who I was going to try and become and inhabit.”
However, he was told he was a little too close to McShane’s performance. “I got a great note early on, because I was almost so respectful of him that I was trying to really inhabit that and, and one of the creators said to me, ‘He’s not there yet. He’s not at that point yet.’ Which was actually a brilliant note for me, because I was then able to enjoy it.”
The character, who recruits lower-level criminals Gal (James McArdle) and Don (Emun Elliott) for a high-stakes job, takes a perverse delight in murder and assault.
“Teddy does some awful stuff,” Moyer acknowledged. “But as an actor, it’s a dream. He’s all about having power over everybody and exploiting weaknesses in them.”
Moyer even invented a backstory for Teddy, that he ran away from home as a teenager and did “what he had to do to get by” when he got to London. “Each character, in many respects, is dealing with some trauma in their life. And Teddy has stepped up in a sort of steely way, ignoring that trauma and stepping on everybody else’s trauma instead,” the actor explained. “There’s a hunger in him to have everything.”
Watch Moyer’s full interview with TheWrap in the video above.
All eight episodes of “Sexy Beast” are now streaming on Paramount+ for subscribers who have the Paramount+ Essential Plan or the Paramount+ with Showtime plan.
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