Interview with THE SPLIT actor RUDI DHARMALINGAM, who plays James. He talks about writer Abi Morgan, his character’s relationship with Rose and appearing on Our Girl.
The show currently airing on BBC One, sees divorce lawyer Hannah walk out on the family firm (Defoes), to join a rival company. She now opposes her sister Nina and mother Ruth, whilst standing in high-profile cases.
So why should you watch it? “Abi Morgan has written something really special that speaks to people from all walks of life regardless of class, ethnicity or social background.”
“It’s a commentary on relationships, how beautiful and difficult they can be. I am biased but Abi and Jane Featherstone’s team at Sister Pictures have created a series that is unique, fresh and relatable. Abi just knows how to create multi-dimensional characters, which are an actor’s dream because they have so many layers to explore.”
James is the fiancé of Rose, the youngest of the Defoes. Rudi recently described him as nice and stable. “James appears to be a very rounded and grounded person. Ultimately I wanted to play him because he’s completely different to anyone else I have portrayed.”
“I think he’s been suffocated by the world of finance in which he works, and yearns for something more interesting and exciting. Rose destabilises him, giving a glimpse of the life he really craves.”
“They have an enormous amount of love for each other, there’s a wonderful purity to their relationship. He isn’t religious and neither is she, although it was Rose’s idea to get married in a church. They buy into the theatricality of that kind of wedding. James ends up taking it a bit more seriously that Rose has imagined him to!”
The Defoes are put into chaos, after their father (Oscar) returns after thirty years absence. Fiona Button (who plays Rose) described her character as surprised at the events – but how does Oscar’s re-appearance affect the couple’s relationship? “James is patient, considerate and sensitive to how Rose feels.”
Also starring in The Split are Nicola Walker, Barry Atsma and Anthony Head.
Dharmalingam has appeared on shows such as Casualty and Coronation Street, but says his most special moments have been on his most recent castings. “Last year, I had the amazing honour of working with Timothy Spall on Electric Dreams. That was special in so many ways.”
“Shortly after that I played Milan in Our Girl for BBC1, playing a humanitarian aid worker leading the relief mission after a devastating earthquake in Nepal. He meets Georgie (played by Michelle Keegan) and they develop a close and touching relationship. Going to Nepal and Cape Town was pretty amazing.”
2018 sees America on the horizon. “I have a manager in the US now, so that world is certainly on my radar. I went out there recently to meet some casting people.”
The actor is also well known for his moments on stage. “I have performed in places like The National Theatre, The Almeida and The Royal Court. A highlight was playing Guildenstern at the Barbican alongside Benedict Cumberbatch.”
Telly Binge spoke to Rudi Dharmalingam in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter for updates.