Channel 4 has wielded the axe on Shameless after over a decade of Mancunian debauchery, with the last episodes of the well-loved comedy-drama to air early next year. But with the 10th series currently on our screens on Wednesday nights, OTB caught up with Stephen Lord who joined the show this year and plays ‘randy alcoholic priest’ Dom Meak..
Hi Stephen, how are you?
I’m grand thanks.
You joined the show earlier this year and play an alcoholic priest with a sex addiction. How’s that going?
Well it’s interesting to say the least! I’m drawn massively to rich characters and in Shameless I’ve got another one. Dom’s a really conflicted person who set out to be a priest but is wrapped around his addictions while trying to do the right thing within the community. It’s been a fun part to play as he can be quite deviant at times but I also think he has some quite endearing qualities too. There’s a lot of sides that a coming through from him now, which is great to see.
It must be fun to play such a morally ambiguous character…
Yeah as a priest ostracised from the church he’s such a rich character, and the reasons why he’s been ostracised does come out this series, particularly the big self-contained episode eight (on October 24) that delves deep into his history. He’s got quite a past, and towards the end of the series even more secrets unfold, giving the audience a deeper insight into the character. It’s a bit of a head-fuck when you find out who he really is and what he’s been up to.
Is Shameless now returning to form?
Well it’s certainly had its highs and lows, it’s not the show that it was but I think that’s more due to timing. When something’s fresh and new it has more impact than something that’s been going on for years and to be honest I didn’t watch the show when it first came out, so in a way it was nice for me to go in to something with a fresh perspective.
You’ve played a gangster in EastEnders and a wife-beater in Casualty. How do you prepare for these villainous roles?
I find that I can tap in to a dark side… With Jase Dyer in EastEnders I didn’t really see him as a gangster, he was just a thug trying to rehabilitate himself back in to society. That was a great role for me. I had a really concentrated unit and when I went over to do six months on Casualty I had another fantastic character. He was an abusive husband suffering from muscular dystrophy… and whereas many people with an illness are portrayed as victims, here was a guy with a chronic disease and he was an absolute
bastard! I didn’t get in this game to play boring people nobody gives a fuck about… know what I mean?
Yeah definitely, I suppose it allows you to keep under the radar… When you were on EastEnders did get noticed on the street more often? How did you deal with that?
Obviously it’s a massive show and it’s very easy for people to get typecast, but I joined EastEnders with a plan to leave after a year. I’ve had a great response from it, it does lift your profile and I’ve had lots of nice people come up to me in the street, so I must have struck a chord. It was a great experience. I’m very fortunate to get interesting jobs, so as long as they keep on coming and I’m putting food on the table then I’ll have no complaints.
Do you feel prior to EastEnders you struggled due to under-exposure?
Yeah, it makes me laugh that even though I’ve been in a wide range of films and television, whenever I’m written about now I’m always referred to as ‘former EastEnder Stephen Lord’, as if I walked out of drama school and went straight into that show and it’s all I’ve done! But it’s a massive show and if people want to tag you then so be it…
You were in the original Sly Stallone Judge Dredd back in 1995. What was that experience like?
It was a really interesting period and I was a young impressionable man. When I got the part I jumped on the first plane to America and spent a week there driving myself round the bend on drinking missions… Eventually I came to read the script for the first time and found out they’d divided up the parts, so I got only about two bloody lines in it! But it’s all part of the journey. I learnt from that point to never accept a job until I’ve read the script.
What does the future have in store?
I’ve just attached myself to a film which I’m really excited about that we’re looking to shoot in early 2013 called Strangeways, Here We Come. It’s nothing to do with The Smiths, but it is set in Salford. It’s a brutal murder-comedy written by my friend Chris Green who’s a great writer, and it’s got great characters.
Best of luck with your new film and the latest series of Shameless, Stephen. Thanks for chatting to us.
Shameless series 10 is currently airing on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesday nights.
Aside from Shameless Stephen has also been busy working in LA on a new role in film “Default” by the makers of paranormal activity. The film has been picked up for the US by CAA and will be distributed co Wildbunch who produced The Artist and City Of God. The story revolves around a kidnapping of CNN Journalists by Somalian Pirates and Stephen plays one of the team of journalists.