April 18 2015
His character didn’t seem like much to start with, but has blossomed into of one of the series’ undoubted heroes. He tells us how and why…
By Chayya Syal
ALEXANDER COBB is best known for playing the part of lovable Scottish geezer – and people’s hero – Ian McLeod in Channel Four’s “Indian Summers“.
We caught up with Cobb just before the series came to its close on Sunday (April 19) and talked to him about acting, the next series which starts shooting shortly, but won’t be back on our screens until next year, and which actors inspire him. The RADA-trained actor has grown into a more significant character as the series has developed.
www.asianculturevulture.com (ACV): Ian has really blossomed during Series 1 with many viewers reacting well to him. Why do you think that is?
Alexander Cobb (AC): I think there are many endearing qualities to Ian and they all stem from his innate goodness and honesty. He has the best intentions and I think people like watching that, especially when they get him in a bit of a muddle!! At many points in the series he’s caught between what he’s told to do and what he feels he should do and his bravery to make the right choice makes him likeable I think.
ACV: What caught your eye about ‘Indian Summers’ and playing Ian McLeod as a character?
AC: ‘Indian Summers’ is a truly unique project and Ian is a dream character. It’s TV on an epic scale and our viewing culture has got to the point where we will invest in a vast, detailed story over many weeks; I wanted to be a part of that type of project.
Also the Empire is a fascinating period in British history and one we can learn a lot about ourselves, as individuals and a nation. On top of all that, Ian’s viewpoint as the new boy with the ‘Indian Dream’ that goes wrong was something I wanted to explore.
ACV: We’re really excited and happy that a Series 2 has been announced! Do you think that viewers will be seeing and hearing more from Ian?
AC: I know they will! I fly out this week! Ian’s story of making his way in the world is nowhere near done. I’m very excited to show people more of him.
ACV: Towards the end of Series 1, some viewers sensed some sparks between Ian and Sooni (Aysha Kala). Do you think that love could be on the horizon for them?
AC: I think Ian and Sooni are both good people that do indeed share a spark. I think they will always be friends with a question behind the eyes ‘I wonder if…’
ACV: As an actor, were you able to relate to Ian in any way?
AC: Yes, lots of ways. I find Ian very inspirational – trying to do what’s right against all the odds. Being told you’re a ‘boy’ and your views being patronised because of your age is something that really irritates me, as it does Ian. Also we both love whisky!!
ACV: How do you go about getting into the mindset of your characters?
AC: I did a lot of research into Scotland during Ian’s lifetime as I wanted to know what his life would have been like which would give me clues to his wants and dreams. There was the added bonus that I was as ignorant of India as Ian is at the start of the series, so we could share the discovery together.
ACV: How did your acting career begin?
AC: I acted in school plays and my friends and I went to Rose Bruford youth theatre which was such fun and inspiring. That’s where I got the bug and so I pursued it, auditioned for drama school and got into RADA in 2008.
ACV: Do you have any actors who inspire and influence you?
AC: Lots. I’ve got to work with so many very talented people already which has been wonderful; Benedict Cumberbatch, Julie Walters, Matthew Macfadyen. Without sounding ‘eggy’, for me it’s about truth – those actors that can show you the heart and soul of a human being. Martin Freeman was the game changer for me on that one. I love his work.
ACV: What’s been your favourite project to date?
AC: ‘Indian Summers’ of course!! The people are wonderful and the story is superb. And it films in Malaysia!! You can’t ask for a better way to work.
ACV: Anything in the pipeline in between or after ‘Indian Summers’?
AC: Nah, just Ian for now 🙂