Black Mirror's Rafe Spall: 'The Last Time I...'

The Black Mirror actor talks on-screen deaths, lying to his children and acting with his dad

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The last time I...

…performed a screen death was in [Ridley Scott’s] Prometheus, when an alien snake goes down my throat and kills me. It was hard work; lots of screaming. I had to really imagine, “How would one die being deep-throated to death?”

…read a book was Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography, of which I devoured every word. Cricket is one of my passions. It’s scandalous one of the most entertaining players ever to pick up a bat for England is unable to do so now because the management can’t deal with him. I feel robbed of KP.

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…had a hangover was on the penultimate night of Betrayal, on Broadway last year [with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz]. I drank 10 martinis and finished with a bottle of champagne and had the sort of hangover where you can’t move, speak or blink. I had to go and shout Betrayal to 1,200 people twice – there was a matinee. That’s a hangover cure.

…shot against blue screen I spend my life doing it. I’ve got a film out this Christmas [Get Santa] that involves me flying a sleigh. I didn’t actually fly a sleigh. In Black Mirror [Charlie Brooker’s dystopian TV drama series], you can “block” someone in person: you press a button and they turn into a silhouette. To do that, they had to wear a full blue-screen Morph suit, so I’ve seen human blue screens recently, too.

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…acted with my dad [Timothy] was in an ITV adaptation of A Room With A View in 2007. We played the Emersons. It was the only experience I’ve had of doing that and it was amazing, like having my best mate on set.

…did a press-up was maybe a month ago. Pretty shameful, but fuck it. I tend to do three months’ intense exercise and three months of nothing. You go to the gym six times a week and eat really well and then one day you just go, “Christ this is boring. I just want to have a lasagna.”

…drove a sports car was for a friend’s birthday at Bedford racing track. Eight different cars, culminating in racing a Formula Two car on your own around the track. I came in solid mid-table. You don’t want to come last.

…lied to my two kids was 15 times a day, every day, for the last three years. “If you don’t stop doing that I’m going to call the police.” It works.

…wrote a script was right now. The BFI are developing it and I’m about to write the third draft. It’s a comedy movie. I can’t tell you what it’s about because first, someone might steal the idea, and second, it might be rubbish.

The Christmas special of Black Mirror is on Channel 4 on Tuesday 16 December at 9pm.


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