Meet the Cast of Roadkill
A former politician, a curmudgeonly doctor, a Dark Arts witch, a Poldark villain, a Marvel scientific genius…these Roadkill stars have played all these characters and more! Get to know the talented cast of the all-new political thriller from English playwright, screenwriter and director David Hare, and learn all about where else you’ve seen them before, what it was like working with Hare, and how they’d describe the drama series.
How He Would Describe Roadkill: Hugh Laurie plays Peter Laurence, a morally questionable politician with some secrets from his past threatening his ambitions for his future. Of the political thriller, Laurie said: “Roadkill is a political drama about the price of success in the political realm and what it demands of the people who do it and those around the person who does it. It’s pretty unforgiving.”
Working with David Hare: “It’s been enormously enjoyable to say David Hare’s words and also to work with the cast that’s been assembled for this. I wouldn’t be here without David Hare – he wrote what I think was the first film I was ever in called Plenty. I think I had three lines but it meant spending a week in the company of Meryl Streep and blimey! That was entirely because of his support and enthusiasm which I have tried to repay and failed.”
About The Cast: Despite being a dark political drama with little love in the mix, behind the scenes, Laurie has nothing but admiration for his co-stars. “It’s an amazing cast, and wonderful to watch them reveal themselves piece by piece rather than coming in with a trombone announcing themselves,” he told TV Insider. “It’s fun and a challenge for an actor to allow the audience to decipher things rather than present it to them in bold, which is my instinct. I talk too loudly and gesture too much. I’ll probably lose my British passport for that — it’s un-English.”
You May Know Him From…: Laurie is best known for his award-winning role as the curmudgeonly Dr. Gregory House on House, for his role as American politician Tom James in Veep, and for his early role as one half of the comedy duo Fry and Laurie alongside Stephen Fry (the two even had their own television show, A Bit of Fry & Laurie). He’s also appeared in hits such as Stuart Little, Sense and Sensibility, and series such as The Night Manager.
Laurie won multiple Golden Globe Awards for his performances in The Night Manager and House, as well as a handful of other awards for his role as Dr. Gregory House, including a TCA Award, Screen Actors Guild Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards and more.
Fun Fact: His talents don’t stop at acting! Laurie is also an accomplished musician, with two studio albums and a number of hit singles throughout the years.
The Political Climate in Roadkill: McCrory, who plays Prime Minister Dawn Ellison in the series, explained the harsh political climate of the drama. “It’s Europe in economic free fall with the same problems that have been facing Britain for the last 10, 20, 30 years; what we do about prisons, what do we do about the NHS,” McCrory said. “The same problems every government faces really, so it’s recognizable in that way. These aren’t real people and this is not a revelatory piece about something that David Hare discovered, this is a discussion in his mind about how to go about and what politicians are really like.”
Working with David Hare: “I’ve seen his work but I’d never seen him write about right-wing politics and I think that has brought another edge to his work, which is so blunt, brutal, funny and scathing,” she said. “I think [Roadkill] has a sharpness that I really enjoyed when I read it. All the characters are pretty venal, but they’re quick and they’re bright and they’re ambitious. They’re also honest and I think that that is a very interesting story to watch.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: McCrory starred as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, and as the ambitious Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders. She also starred in The Queen, The Count of Monte Cristo, Penny Dreadful, His Dark Materials, Anna Karenina, and more.
Iain De Caestecker
Why He Wanted To Play the Role: De Caestecker plays Duncan Knock, Peter Laurence’s right hand man and one of the few people who see Peter for who he truly is. The intriguing drama and the morally ambiguous character of Duncan are just some of the reasons that the role appealed to De Caestecker.
“David Hare and the way he writes characters is brilliant,” he explained. “They are so fully formed before you’re anywhere near the script, which is such a draw as an actor. On a personal level, sometimes I’m often cast more towards characters that are shy and introverted, but Duncan isn’t, he’s cocky and he’s a bit snakey and slimey and also a bit of a sap with Julia, so he’s really multi- faceted which is a really exciting thing. And then of course the project itself, playing across from Hugh in scenes has been really amazing.”
“And playing a villian is fun,” he told The Sunday Post. “I did enjoy playing the part.”
But playing a morally ambiguous character like Duncan didn’t stop his real-life family from supporting him. “I bought my gran an iPad so we could stay in touch. She loves sending emails and I know she’s been watching because she emailed me after seeing the first episode saying, ‘Iain, you are a dirty dog’.”
Working with David Hare: “I found with Roadkill that David [Hare] doesn’t cast too many opinions on the characters, it’s situational and it lets the audience make up their own mind. David gives the characters such an identifiable voice and he is very economical with it. Every piece of dialogue is so considered and thoughtful that, as an actor, you don’t need to stray away from it. But at the same time, if you had a problem with something you could absolutely go to him and he’d fiddle with it, it was a very safe environment for that.”
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: De Caestecker is best known for starring as Leo Fitz in the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and also appeared in series such as Us and Coronation Street.
Fun Fact: He once played the role of veterinarian James Herriot in the mini-series Young James Herriot. The role of Herriot will soon be played by Nicholas Ralph in All Creatures Great and Small, coming to MASTERPIECE on PBS in January 2021.
What Attracted Her to the Role: Bennett-Warner plays Rochelle Madeley, a sharp-minded barrister. It was the spirit of her character that really attracted her to the series. “When I first read the script I just thought Rochelle was completely awesome and I thought all the female characters were fantastic,” she said. “I felt I hadn’t exercised a Rochelle-type-muscle yet and I was really keen to do that because I like playing those kinds of characters. There is something about David’s writing that makes each scene feel like a mini play because he gives the actors so much to play with; you always get proper chunks of dialogue and everything is very forward moving. There is a rhythm to David’s writing and when you’re performing it in a scene with your partner it’s wonderful.”
How She Would Describe Roadkill: “It’s powerful, dynamic, charming, intelligent, specific, and forensic. Roadkill is about a politician who wins a court case that has been made against him and over the course of the four episodes the skeletons that have been hiding in his closet start to come out.”
What Kind of World is it Set In: “I think the show does a good job in representing what’s going on in our political climate at the moment but David himself has said it’s not based on anything and its set in a fictional universe.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Bennett-Warner is best known for her roles in series such as Harlots, REAL, Gangs of London, MotherFatherSon, and The Awakening. Eagle-eyed MASTERPIECE fans may also recognize her from appearances in Inspector Lewis and in Marple.
What Attracted Her to the Role: Vinall plays Julia Blythe, right hand woman and assistant to the Prime Minister, Dawn Ellison (Helen McCrory’s character). “It was very exciting to explore the mind of someone so young who has obtained such an important high-powered position in Downing Street, with razor sharp intellect and judgement but who can’t afford to miss a beat,” Vinall said. “And there was also David’s brilliant writing, having worked with him on a trilogy of Chekhov plays at Chichester and the National Theatre.”
How She Would Describe Roadkill: “It’s about the great themes: ambition, power relationships, fighting and winning – the risks politicians take to get to the top, and what the cost to them can be.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: The Woman in White, and in episodes of Doctor Who, Casualty, Midsomer Murders and more.
Who She Plays: Greene stars as investigative journalist Charmian Pepper, whose dogged pursuit of the truth behind Peter Laurence, even after a court verdict in Laurence’s favor, soon consumes her entire life and identity.
While her character is singularly driven and battles some inner demons of her own, Greene’s real life dreams and ambitions aren’t quite so heavy and dark. “I’d love to become a mum,” she told Financial Times. “Professionally, I just want to continue working. I’d love to do a biopic of Natalie Wood… I couldn’t not do this job. When I do have time off, I crave to get back to it. It’s the need to tell stories, to express myself — I do it better on stage and on screen than in my real life. Creatively, I need that outlet. I lose my confidence when I’m not working. Work is good for my soul.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Greene is best known for her roles on Normal People as Connell’s mother Lorraine and for her starring role in Dublin Murders as Cassie Maddox. She’s also appeared in Penny Dreadful and Vikings.
Who She Plays: Actress Millie Brady plays Lily Laurence, Peter’s younger daughter who rebels against her parents and the status of her family, and often finds unwanted attention from the public.
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: The Queen’s Gambit, The Last Kingdom, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and, of course, as Violette Selfridge in MASTERPIECE’s Mr. Selfridge.
Who He Plays: Torrens plays Joe Lapidus, a newspaper editor at the same publication that Peter Laurence formerly sued and won against. He’s the boss of Greene’s character, Charmian.
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: MASTERPIECE fans will no doubt recognize Pip Torrens as George’s devious uncle Cary Warleggan from Poldark, or as Sir Edward Kendall (Amanda’s father) from Grantchester. Torrens is also known for his roles in series such as The Crown, Preacher, Deep State, Versailles, Coronation Street and more.