Raoul Moat actor says playing killer was "most frightening thing ever"
Matt Stokoe stars as Raoul Moat in the new ITV true crime drama.
With ITV's The Hunt For Raoul Moat arriving today (16th April), actor Matt Stokoe has spoken about how he was apprehensive to take on the role of the criminal.
Ahead of release of the series, the Cursed and Bodyguard star shared his initial thoughts when he learnt the drama was being made
“I remember getting a phone call to say they were making a drama about Raoul Moat," he recalled. "I said to my agent, ‘I really want to be part of that in whatever capacity I can be involved.’ Thinking that usually several people would already have been cast and we would be talking about the peripheral parts.
“I remember thinking, ‘That’s going to be a bit of a hot potato. Tackling something like that. They’re going to have to find somebody with a thick skin to play him.’ Not thinking it was ever going to be my problem."
He continued: “Then they came back to me a couple of days later and said, ‘They don’t want to see you for one of the police officers. They want to see you for the role of Moat.’ It was the most frightening thing ever. Which is always a sign that you have to pursue it. That it’s completely out of your comfort zone.
“So I went away and learned the limited material they had sent me and gave an interpretation of how I remembered he was. Based on half an hour’s worth of online searching. Then a couple of weeks later a call came through and said, ‘You’re going to do it.’”
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Similarly, when asked why the role was "frightening", he said: “With someone like Raoul Moat it’s frightening because he still has people out there who support and endorse what he did. It’s always difficult to play a real life character and one that society agrees is evil.
“When it comes to someone like Moat you don’t want your decision to embody that character to in any way be viewed as an endorsement of his behaviour. You have to have empathy as an actor but you don’t want to be seen as sympathetic to him."
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When chatting to RadioTimes.com and other press in a Q&A for the series, Stokoe revealed that being "frightened" at the role was "two-fold".
He revealed: "The first aspect is because I remember it, it all unfolded in a community that I grew up on the periphery of. There was a lot of my family, I remember at the time of it happening, texting each other saying ‘There’s helicopters flying overhead’ and I’ve had family in the police force all of my life so I heard it play out from that perspective.
"So there was the aspect of ‘OK this feels particularly close to home’. I think the North East isn’t represented a lot in TV, it’s quite rare that you’ll play someone with your own natural accent. It’s even rarer that you’ll play someone from the North East."
He continued: “So there was the fear of hoping I’d get that right and the other side was partly, I was at fault because I was victim to the sensationalised narrative that the story had become. I had this degree of imposter syndrome because I remember thinking, ‘Wasn’t he like 6 foot 7 and some world-class weight lifter who killed a load of people?’ The story had become so big and mythologised that I wasn’t quite sure what was and wasn’t fact."
The new three-part series, which stars Lee Ingleby (Inspector George Gently), Sonya Cassidy (The Man Who Fell to Earth), Vineeta Rishi (Vera) and more, will explore the case from the viewpoint of the victims, press and police who sought to bring the true story to light.
The Hunt for Raoul Moat begins airing on ITV1 at 9pm on Sunday 16th April. For more news, interviews and features, visit our Drama hub or find something to watch now with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.