What is Mr Sloane about?
Jeremy Sloane is a guy who’s approaching middle age. He was an accountant but he’s lost his job, and his wife, and he’s now trying to find his way. It’s the Swinging Sixties but he’s living in Watford, where it’s not swinging much at all, really. And Sloane isn’t swinging, either — he’s totally out of step with modern times.
It’s a period of immense social upheaval and he just doesn’t understand what’s going on around him. His life is based on routine and schedule and he spends every evening down the pub with the same group of friends he’s had since school, all taking the p*** out of him.
What kind of comedy is Mr Sloane?
Well, Jeremy isn’t a figure of fun. This isn’t sickly sweet, you know, it’s sad — he’s lost everything. He’s just lost, essentially, and he’s trying to find himself.
I think if people are just tuning in expecting broad, whoops-there’s-a-pie-in-my-face comedy then I think they’re going to be slightly disappointed. But if they can understand and empathise with the fact that this man is at the lowest point of his life, then when we see him pratting around with a bra on his head they will laugh at that.
How did the idea originate?
Bob Weide [who produced cult american comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm], who has written and directed Mr Sloane, told me that he got the idea when he was driving down the freeway in Los Angeles and saw this guy in the car next to him who looked like me, but me with a crewcut, me if I’d been reincarnated in Mad Men — a 50s or 60s conservative version of me who looked like an accountant. Luckily there weren’t many other actors who fitted the part and anyway, I was flattered when Bob said he’d written something with me in mind.
What was it like being transported back to 1969?
I was born in the early 70s, so it’s not quite my era, but I have to admit that a lot of the props, costumes and references have had me going, “I remember that... and that. and that.” You walk on set and it is the 60s.
The best thing has been the costumes — I’m a big lump and that’s meant they’ve had to make suits for me, which is fantastic. The clothes, the whole world, you’re immersed in it. I hope it feels the same way for the audience.
Mr Sloane comes to Sky Atlantic in May.