Tim Roth: Made in Britain, but a mid-Atlantic man

The British actor on his role in Tin Star, Sky Atlantic's stylish new revenge thriller set in the Canadian Rockies

(Image credit: © Sky UK LTD)

After the US series Lie to Me, I wasn't expecting to be offered another TV show. In fact, I assumed my career would be over by the time I hit 50; I was geared up and ready for the parts to get smaller and less frequent. I suppose I thought people would be bored of me. But that was six years ago and the work keeps coming.

When writer/creator Rowan Joffe sent me the script for Tin Star, I thought the character of Jim Worth was brilliantly anarchic. On the one hand he's a police chief devoted to his family and on the other he's a blackout drunk who is pretty much out of control. I couldn't turn it down.

It was funny working with Abigail [Lawrie] and Oliver [Coopersmith] because they didn't know any technical terms on set. They are young and pretty new to acting, which was seriously refreshing. They didn't ask us older actors for advice; in fact, we fed off their excitement. They were simply having their own experience and we didn't want to infect it.

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I can still very clearly remember starting out myself. I was inspired by seeing Ray Winstone in Alan Clarke's Scum in 1979. I went to watch it at the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square with four or five other people. I stayed and watched it three times, back to back. Alan then cast me in Made in Britain three years later. He was such a clever dude and a tough taskmaster, but he found humour in every moment. And so, so good with me; like Abs and Ollie, I was brand new. I didn't come with a bag of tricks, I just did it.

(Image credit: © Sky UK LTD)

Although working with Quentin Tarantino on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction was an extraordinary experience – there is no one like Tarantino on the planet – Made in Britain remains the best role I've ever done because it was the first. I felt like I'd come home.

I still watch old movies at home in Los Angeles, but I'm fascinated by how people binge-watch TV series such as Tin Star. I watched the entire season of the HBO drama Vice Principal with my sons over two nights. Last week my middle boy, Hunter, suggested watching the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer. We sat in the kitchen, feet up, beer in hand, cracking up. It's a great way of hanging out with your kids.

I left London in 1991, but I love coming back. It's a full-on melting pot and I wish it wasn't under threat because of Brexit. I've been away for so long, in fact, that when you put my name into Google, the first thing that comes up is: 'Is Tim Roth British?' That's cool. The answer is, I don't know. I never did the DNA test.

Tin Star features Tim Roth as Jim Worth, a British detective with a dark side. All episodes of Tin Star are available now on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV from 29 September. Images © Sky UK LTD

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