David Tennant Says Killgrave and “The Wisdom Of Psychopaths” Prepared Him For “Bad Samaritan”

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The majority of American audiences best know David Tennant for his roles in family friendly fare such as his iconic Tenth Doctor in the long running BBC series Doctor Who, Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire, and for voicing Scrooge McDuck in the Ducktales reboot. However, he’s quickly making a reputation for himself as the guy to call when you’ve got a terrifying sociopath in your story.

Tennant’s horrifying yet spellbinding turn as Killgrave in the MARVEL Netflix series “Jessica Jones” was an undeniable signal to audiences that he’s more than willing to go to a dark extreme. While that villainous role could’ve just an interesting footnote in his already varied career, his most recent project, Bad Samaritan, confirms that Tennant relishes the opportunity to explore morally compromised characters.

Bad Samaritan is the story of restaurant valet Sean, played by Robert Sheehan, who uses a vehicle’s GPS system to find his way to a customer’s home, steals a couple of small things, and then gets back in enough time to return the car without the owner none the wiser. Things take a turn when Sean goes to rob the home of Cale (Tennant) and finds a young terrified woman held captive. Sean leaves the woman but later tips off the authorities. Unfortunately, they find nothing when they investigate. Sean now has to endure the kidnapper’s revenge plots which wreak havoc on his life, all while trying to save the captive woman still in the sociopathic clutches of Cale.

During Bad Samaritan‘s press day, which had Tennant, Sheehan, writer Brandon Boyce and director/producer Dean Devlin all in attendance, Tennant was asked if he was on the lookout for a dark character to explore and what sort of preparation went into the role. Tennant replied with an amused tone.

I love the idea that you imagine that I might be in some way tactical and looking for something specific. I just got this script and I just thought, “This is an amazing setup, an amazing story and a bonkers character.” So I just jumped at the chance really. I wasn’t specifically angling to play a sort of psychotic monster but there’s something delicious about exploring those darker corners of the human psyche, of course.

Tennant then divulged that thanks to Killgrave, he already had a bit of a head start on character research. “I had been reading up on psychopaths in recent history cause I played another one for MARVEL so I dusted them down a little bit and did a bit more reading around that subject.” 

“What was that book you were reading when we were shooting the film?” co-star Robert Sheehan asked. Tennant admitted that writer Brandon Boyce had given him Kevin Dutton’s “The Wisdom of Psychopaths” to read in order to prepare for playing Cale.

“There’s lots to read and then of course you just have to set yourself free into this character and try and find the empathy. Which is hard for a man who has none,” Tennant concluded with a smile and a chuckle.  

Bad Samaritan debuts in theaters May 4, 2018.

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