Actor Richard Madden was convincingly "self-loathing" in Bastille Day.
The Game of Thrones star appears in the action flick as Michael Mason, a young con artist who embarks on an anti-terrorist mission in France alongside a former CIA agent (Idris Elba). Richard's alter ego is introduced walking around Paris pick-pocketing people but despite initially appearing to be an unlikeable character, director James Watkins knew the actor would give Michael soul.
"It was a challenge, in approach and casting," the filmmaker told Den of Geek when asked how he was able to get viewers to warm to Michael. "And part of the reason I cast Richard is because he really has a quality of likeability about him, I find. And I didn’t really wanna soft-peddle the fact that this character is a bit of parasite and steals stuff and is a bit self-loathing.
"You do see the sense that he’s a bit lost and a bit self-loathing, I think you catch some of that with Richard. Guilt, and a sense that he’s made some bad choices. So what Richard brought to it was – from the inside out – this quality of sympathy, I suppose, for that character."
James also has nothing but praise for Luther star Idris, describing the actor as "this big rock stone granite guy that's just a force of nature". The director had no one else in mind for the part of former agent Sean Briar and after learning Idris was keen to work with him too, there was nothing stopping the pair from collaborating.
"I thought he was interesting," James recalled. "He’s a wonderful actor and he’s got this charisma and a real presence on screen. He really eats up the screen, in the way. And the big screen, you know? He’s one of these actors that gets bigger, better on the big screen."