James Norton has revealed the mental impact of playing his infamous Happy Valley, saying that “it goes into your subconscious and it somehow shows up in your dreams”.
The 37-year-old actor, who plays villain Tommy Lee Royce in BBC One drama, is expected to return for a third and final series on New Year’s Day.
Speaking at a Happy Valley screening event in Halifax earlier this month, Norton said: “I’ve been shooting horror movies and with this you also have to find authenticity but it can make you cringe. Pay the price.
“You have to keep the other part of you healthy. I got rid of Tommy and had a feeling of losing the family and friends you had on the show.
“I remember from the first series, I had really violent scenes. It’s much darker written and shot, and I’m going to spend a lot of time beating her up.
“It goes into your subconscious and it somehow shows up in your dreams.”
The series, created and written by Sally Wainwright, follows Sergeant Catherine Cawood – played by Sarah Lancashire – on the trail of murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce.
This new six-episode series will see Catherine uncover the remains of a gang-killed victim in a depleted reservoir, triggering a chain of events that leads to her old nemesis and father of his nephew Ryan, played by Rhys Connah.
Before the series aired, Norton also discussed what it would be like to be associated with such a violent and dark character.
“Tommy and I are a bit different, I think!” he say.
“Happy Valley was a great moment for my character, because I was able to prove to the producers that I was ready for a change. I owe it everything.
“But I’ve had my fair share of roles since then as bad guys with a heart!
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“But it’s been great to be associated with the show – we know the love for it.”
He added: “For the people who come to you and say Happy Valley, that means the whole world.”
During the event, Norton talked about his favorite filming location: “Prison. Sarah [Lancashire] has a great responsibility with lines and mental acrobatics.
“Basically, I just walked down the hallway a lot and posed with my long, flowing hair. I love that, because I don’t have to do much and look cool!”
He also revealed that he wore nothing underneath his prison uniform during filming to portray his role as accurately as possible.
“I asked them if they would let me bring home the boiler suit from this series,” he said. The reason they wear these fluorescent colors is so they can be seen but they also wear nothing underneath.
“It’s the same here because I want to be authentic, but it’s too cold!”
Happy Valley airs on BBC One at 9pm on New Year’s Day.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/james-norton-reveals-mental-toll-of-undertaking-happy-valley-role-42249507.html James Norton reveals the mental loss of taking on the role of Happy Valley