Andrew Still says that his Coronation Street character Justin Rutherford believes he’s “the hero in his own story” as he prepares to stand trial for throwing acid at his stalking victim Daisy Midgeley (Charlotte Jordan) and Ryan Connor (Ryan Prescott).
Ryan took the brunt of the attack and was left with life-changing injuries. But Justin pleaded ‘not guilty’ in court, and in upcoming scenes he’ll continue to deny what he’s done.
Speaking about his alter ego’s behaviour just prior to his arrest, Still explains that Justin did have a brief moment of self-awareness — but this very quickly passed him by.
“He has an ability to jump through mental hoops to justify his actions so very quickly he ushered those thoughts away and thought of himself as the good guy again. In his head, he is the hero in his own story.”
On which side of Justin viewers will see at his trial, the actor reveals: “It’s a new Justin that we are going to see. There is a lot going on in his head with the trial underway as he feels backed into a corner so he is willing to go to whatever lengths he has to, to gain the upper hand. He has manipulated his sister and he is lying to anyone and everyone around him.
“There is a very definite fear of going to prison for a very long time, so he is desperate. We will see a slither of the pathetic Justin but this is his big chance to be seen and to be heard, particularly by Daisy, so he is happy to grab that opportunity with both hands.
"As the trial progresses we are going to see Justin wrestling to stay calm and collected as this inner tension is bubbling under the surface.”
On the extent of Justin’s intentions in court, he adds: “Justin has a well rehearsed speech as he knows this trial is important so he sees this as his golden opportunity to convince the jury to let him go.
"He is going to put on the full charm offensive and he will use all of his manipulation tactics to win the jury round.”
The character’s moment on the stand was, explains Still, the toughest scene to film in this storyline. “I knew this was going to be the most difficult scene I’ve ever played as Justin because it’s his chance to manipulate the jury and give everything he has got.
"It felt like the entire six months run that I have done on Coronation Street was distilled into that one monologue, because it’s very rare in television that you’re going to have a big monologue like that. It also felt quite theatrical as it was in the courtroom so I really wanted to make the most out of the scene.
"It felt like a challenge and because of how Coronation Street is filmed, I only had one or two chances to get it right but I feel happy with how it went and we will see what the viewers make of it when it comes out on TV!”
Justin’s trial gets underway this week, and Coronation Street will air on five consecutive nights from Monday 29th May at the earlier time of 7.30pm.
Viewers who identify with Daisy’s story can contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or visit the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for help and support. You can also visit Safeguarding Hub for advice.
Watch the latest Coronation Street spoilers here