Julian Barratt was understandably ‘intimidated’ starring opposite A Clockwork Orange star Malcolm McDowell in Truth Seekers, particularly after being warned not to talk about the late director Stanley Kubrick.
McDowell’s breakout role came in the notoriously challenging A Clockwork Orange, following the deeply disturbing and violent gang leader Alex.
Kubrick himself withdrew the film after it appeared several copy cats were putting some of Alex’s torturous acts into action in real life, with the movie only being made available again after the filmmaker’s death in 1999.
McDowell is without a doubt one of cinema’s most recognisable figures, a true horror icon, for lack of a better term.
Barratt and the scream king come face-to-face in Truth Seekers, a spooky comedy series from Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, the dream team’s first foray into television since cult classic Spaced.
Truth Seekers follows double-act Gus (Frost) and Elton (Samson Kayo), a pair of paranormal investigators who record and film their ghostly encounters with hopes of being YouTube’s answer to Derek Acorah.
However, while it’s Barratt bringing the terror as sycophantic cult leader Dr. Peter Toynbee, the Mighty Boosh star was struck by the formidable McDowell, who actually stars as the harmless Richard.
‘To play a villain and to see Malcolm McDowell, it’s very strange when you’re working with someone like that because he’s part of the fabric in your mind, he’s there,’ Barratt said. ‘His characters are part of your dreamscapes, they are mine anyway.
‘You see him in the flesh and then you chat to him and he’s talking about football or something you’re coming out of your own body. It’s intimidating but you just get into it when you’re on set.
Naturally, McDowell only became more intimidating when people urged his Truth Seekers co-stars not to mention Kubrick, as if the whisper of his name would spark a total Hollywood meltdown.
‘And then every time I saw him he’d be talking about Kubrick,’ Barratt laughed. ‘I’d be going passed and it would be, “Stanley said this to me” or “Stanley was amazing.”
‘I would quietly get close to him so I could ask him about Stanley. “What happened? Did you scratch your cornea on a Clockwork Orange?” I wanted to ask him all those stories and how many takes Kubrick would do.
‘He’s so nice, eventually you realise he’s just a normal chap who likes to talk about anything, especially Stanley Kubrick as it turns out.’
Metro.co.uk spoke to McDowell who told us part of the appeal of his character Richard and Truth Seekers was it’s ‘about really sweet people and people who are just nice people’.
Possibly aware of the persona which comes from playing such a recognisable murderer of the movies, the actor said he’s ‘sick of playing yet another serial killer’.
‘When something comes in the pipeline like this I’m much more interested than yet another heavy,’ he said. ‘I immediately saw this was a delightful character.’
Truth Seekers is available to stream on Amazon Prime now.