Interview with SAVE ME star LENNIE JAMES, who created the series and appears as Nelly. He talks about how the show came about, Suranne Jones and Fear the Walking Dead.
Save Me is about Nelly, somebody accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old daughter (Jody) he has only met once before. Can he clear his name, find the actual abductor and save his daughter?
Lennie says he first pitched the idea to Anne Mensah, the head of Sky drama. “I had an idea about an estranged father, who is brought back into his child’s life after something unfortunate has happened to them.”
“I wanted to test myself as a writer. My aim was to write a thriller that both adhered to the rules of the genre, but also broke and bent them. Save Me is an unlikely thriller, populated by unlikely people, let by an unlikely hero and set in an unlikely place (a housing estate in South East London).
Why should anybody watch it? “You won’t have seen anything quite like it, it keeps you guessing and will keep on surprising you all the way to the end of the first six episodes.”
So who is Nelly? “He is that guy at the end of the pub bar who 15 years ago all the men wanted to drink with and all the women wanted to get next to. That was 15 years ago, now he is a little past his sell-by-date.”
“He’s based on guys I have came across, some I have known better than others and a figment of my imagination.”
Nelly hasn’t seen his daughter (acted by Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) for 10 years. “He has only met Jody once in her life. She was three and her mum Claire, brought Jody to Nelly, when she asked him to sign the papers that would allow Barry (Claire’s new husband) to adopt her.”
“He signed them, believing he was doing the right thing. 10 years later he is arrested and accused of abducting Jody. Nelly then sets out to find her because there’s nothing else he can do.”
Save Me which is broadcasting on Sky Atlantic, also stars Suranne Jones, Stephen Graham and Jason Flemyng.
Suranne recently described filming with Lennie as fantastic, and the Nottinghamshire-born actor says the entire cast is incredible. “Our casting head Jill Trevellick worked hard to get the best and right person for each role. She did a fantastic job and she is a big reason why Save Me is what it is.”
“It starts with Suranne, who is a joy to work with. She is a smart, committed and truthful actress. She can do it all, we were lucky to get her.”
He added, “We were just as lucky with all the rest of our cast. I literally want to list them all and tell you why each of them were so brilliant and what they brought to the show. I feel blessed.”
Lennie meanwhile is also set to appear in Season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead. “I can’t think of another actor who has been offered the opportunity to take a character from one show over to another, and get to explore him afresh. It’s very exciting and I’m loving the adventure of it all.”
Telly Binge spoke to Lennie James in March 2018. Visit IMDb for more information about him.