Neil LaBute is making his television debut on Oct. 9 on DIRECTV with the series Full Circle. The award-winning screenwriter and playwright takes afascinating approach to telling the story.
The 10-episode series will take place in one location and feature a conversation between two characters sitting in a restaurant. One character’s storyline will continue into the next episode with the introduction of a new character until the returns to the beginning episode and completes the full circle.
Kicking off the series is Tom Felton, best known to audiences for his portrayal of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise. In Full Circle, his character Tim is having an affair with married woman Bridgette, played by Minka Kelly. Their discussion is the final meeting between the two lovers as Kelly’s character must choose between two vastly different lives.
Daily Actor sat down with Felton to talk about his choice to do American television and the challenges for an actor who spent years working with a green screen.
The British actor explained why he chose to work with LaBute who is known for his formidable dialogue.
He said, “Neil’s writing, obviously, is incredibly unique. I’ve read lots and lots of things over the last year but you can almost tell it was Neil just on the first three pages. And I think for any actor to have that sort of situation where it’s just literally this 25 minutes, that was the terrifying aspect and also the one that ultimately was hugely rewarding when we filmed it.”
Taking on projects like Full Circle was important to the 26-year-old star because he wanted to avoid the pitfalls of transitioning from child actor to adult actor.
“I feel incredibly lucky that it’s seriously been pretty seamless. I feel incredibly grateful that my character in Harry Potter aesthetically looked quite differently to how I do today and he was a nasty guy. But he was not a nice guy, so most people when they meet me, a director or a casting director, they kind of half expect you to be that guy I guess. So when I come in and I’m remotely friendly they’re like, ‘Oh, ok. So you’re not the evil wizard.’ So that’s oddly helped me in some respects…There’s no burden,” said Felton.
The subtleties of LaBute’s work also became an acting school lesson for the Brit because it was so drastically different from the work he did in Planet of the Apes or Harry Potter.
“… Generally you read a 25-page script, there’s usually a page or two of stage directions. X and Y happens or someone stands up, someone throws something, whatever. Nothing happens. I mean, the waiter comes over a couple of times and they go for the burger or the chip and that was it,” Felton said. “So it really left itself to a lot of …what do you do at a dinner table? Are you tapping your hand, you go for the salt shaker or whatever?”
He continued, “So that was kind of unique going back to the improv part of it. Although the dialogue [wasn’t improv]… it was odd for me just to sit there and not do something.”
The experience was a rewarding one though and the actor hopes to dive into more projects like Full Circle. He understands the benefits that great writing brings to him, not only professionally, but personally.
Felton shared, “Anything that terrifies me that makes me think, ‘I can’t do this,’ and [then] to have someone else go, ‘Yeah, you can. Give it a go. Give it a go.’ Ultimately, that’s kind of why I’m doing this job because, you know, if it’s too safe then there’s definitely no satisfaction or fun at the end of it. Something like this, there’s no mistaking myself.”
Full Circle debuts on DIRECTV on Oct. 9 at 9:00 p.m.