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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Actor Flemyng tackles age drama
By Tom Bishop
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Jason Flemyng in When I'm 64
Flemyng says he's lucky to have worked on so many diverse roles
British actor Jason Flemyng has taken a break from movies such as From Hell and Snatch to appear in BBC Two drama When I'm 64.

The drama is part of the BBC's Time of Your Life season which explores people's changing attitudes to age.

In this latest project, Flemyng plays Little Ray, whose football hooligan father finds a new lease of life after befriending a teacher.

Flemyng has made 40 big and small budget films around the world, but said he was attracted to the TV role by the strength of its writing.

"This was the only script I read which dealt directly with ageism," he says.

"Ray has an awkward relationship with his father, which is compromised further by his dad's new friendship.

"He doesn't expect his dad to behave in such a way at his age, and makes his feelings plain."

If you're a painter you don't paint a picture and then stick it under the bed - you want people to see it
Jason Flemyng on acting
Flemyng admits his When I'm 64 character is hard to like, especially when he confronts his father in a bid to protect his inheritance.

"I always try to make my characters as human as possible," the 37-year-old Londoner says.

"Ray's emotion may be misdirected, but I can understand his dilemma.

"When he admits he has been spying on his father, you can see he is absolutely torn and devastated by what he has discovered."

The fact that When I'm 64 could win a large BBC audience also made the role attractive to Flemyng.

"Of the 40 feature films I've made, 15 of them failed to make it onto the screen and have only ever been seen by cast and crew," he says.

Tamzin Outhwaite in When I'm 64
Flemyng co-stars with Tamzin Outhwaite, who plays his sister Caz

"It is very frustrating when a film you really believe in remains unseen.

"That's not a problem with television. If you're a painter you don't paint a picture and then stick it under the bed - you want people to see it."

When I'm 64 also interested Flemyng because it gave him a chance to act alongside ex-EastEnders star and friend Tamzin Outhwaite.

"Tamzin was in the BBC film Out of Control, which is my favourite film from the past five years," he says.

"I thought she was outstanding. The fact that Tamzin is so well known after EastEnders should also help When I'm 64 get the audience it deserves.

"We messed around a lot on set and have since worked together in Backwaters - a film for a Bollywood producer in southern India."

The BBC Two drama is in sharp contrast to Flemyng's last big movie, the ill-fated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in which he played Dr Jekyll.

Jason Flemyng in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Any day you walk onto a set and Sean Connery or Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt is there has to be a good day
Jason Flemyng
"It was a bit of a nightmare... the film cost a fortune and didn't make back the money it was meant to," he says.

"But I still get a huge kick out of doing films like that and From Hell. Any day you walk onto a set and Sean Connery or Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt is there has to be a good day."

Despite roles in hits such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Flemyng says he has managed to avoid being typecast.

"I'm lucky to have worked on so many diverse roles," he says, before adding modestly: "In order to be typecast as something you have got to be really successful at it."

He believes his late father, director Gordon Flemyng, would have been proud of his role in When I'm 64 and his transatlantic success.

"He used to work in LA so whenever I am there I feel he is saying 'Go on son, go to that studio and knock 'em dead.'"

When I'm 64 is on BBC Two at 9pm on 4 August.

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