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Nice people aren’t always good, says Rufus Sewell as he plays Prince Andrew

Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew
Rufus Sewell as the Duke being interviewed - TELEVISION STILLS

Rufus Sewell has said that “sometimes the nicest people are not good”, after playing the Duke of York in Netflix film Scoop.

The British actor, 56, portrays Prince Andrew during his devastating 2019 Newsnight interview and its aftermath in the new film, which is released on Friday.

Speaking to Radio Times, Sewell said: “The idea that people who are likeable sometimes do terrible things is a very important one.

“It’s comforting to assign a blanket of evil towards anyone who does anything bad – not to say that he did or didn’t etc. But it’s important to remember that sometimes the nicest people are not good.”

Rufus Sewell at the film's world premiere in London on Wednesday
Sewell at the film's world premiere in London on Wednesday - JUSTIN NG/AVALON

The actor insisted that the film “doesn’t make any case for guilt or innocence, one way or another”.

It depicts the Duke’s Buckingham Palace sit-down with Emily Maitlis, played in the film by Gillian Anderson, during which he was famously questioned about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender.

The film is a behind-the-scenes look at how the interview, which abruptly ended Prince Andrew’s royal career, was secured and the way it unfolded.

Of playing the Duke, Sewell said: “Andrew actually has this blokey quality alongside the Windsor clenched-jaw thing. If you listen to him, as opposed to King Charles, he has a lad’s lad quality.

“He’s Randy Andy who chats up the working girls when he visits the factory.”

Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitliss
Gillian Anderson plays Emily Maitliss - TELEVISION STILLS

Sewell, who reportedly spent up to four hours a day being transformed into Prince Andrew, with the aid of both makeup and prosthetics, added that he had to see things from the royal’s perspective in order to play him.

He said: “His wishes are caught up with all kinds of muddled ideas. One is that he believes he’s a victim of being too honourable.

“But he’s afraid of what the repercussions will be for other people. And he also feels that he has been set up.

“Watching him, it’s clear that he has very mixed-up feelings of culpability and innocence and victimhood – and that is fascinating to play.”

Sewell also said that while researching the role, most people he met who had worked with the Duke genuinely liked him, adding: “And there are people who still like him, you know?”

Keeley Hawes, who plays Prince Andrew’s former private secretary, described the film as being “a bit like The Crown”, because it allows people to see behind the curtains of the institution.