â€śIt was kind of a lot of fun to play this character that isnâ€™t necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, you know?â€ť Brown says, laughing. â€śHeâ€™s kind of gung-ho and all going at it, but he doesnâ€™t really think it through. One of the things that I kind of really enjoyed about it is that although it is essentially the story of a heist â€” and weâ€™ve seen heist stories previously â€” these guys are not criminals. These are just ordinary guys, so they donâ€™t really know what theyâ€™re trying to come up against. They just spot an opportunity and they go for it, and itâ€™s just kind of about crossing that moral line, and how far would you go? â€¦ But heâ€™s generally a good guy. Heâ€™s funny â€¦ Heâ€™s just kind of thinking about the money and the lifestyle thatâ€™s going to change â€” all the fast cars and everything. I donâ€™t think he understands the severity of what theyâ€™re doing.â€ť
But what sets Inside Men above the average heist is that more than the heist itself, itâ€™s about the transformation of its participants â€” particularly Mackintoshâ€™s character, John, whoâ€™s the architect of the master plan, and the one who knows what itâ€™s going to take to pull it off and get away with it, and whoâ€™s recklessly driven enough to do it. Without getting into too many details, Brown tries to explain. â€śHe has to do it. I canâ€™t speak for Steven and his character, but I think heâ€™s that desperate to steal this new man â€” he wonâ€™t stop for anything. Heâ€™s not scared of anyone. Heâ€™s not scared of death. Heâ€™s not scared of confrontation, and maybe he doesnâ€™t care about the feelings of others, even to the point that itâ€™s his loved ones that â€” heâ€™s now playing with their emotions. Itâ€™s a massive, massive sacrifice of his.â€ť
Brown, who, when we spoke, was on the cusp of starting Season 3 of the popular series Luther along with his colleague Mackintosh. But after having finished their work on Inside Men, he did take some time off to come to America. â€śI came to L.A. â€” I went to the Emmys,â€ť he says. â€śThat was my best time there â€” had some good fun. And then came back to do a job that was initially called Savage, but is now called Good Cop, about a young beat copper in Liverpool whose best friend is beaten and murdered by a gang, then heâ€™s kind of torn between doing his job or this kind of impulse for revenge, and thinking of going after the guys that killed his friend. â€¦ Itâ€™s a four-parter, BBC, so with a bit of luck, hopefully thatâ€™ll make it, get picked up and be shown on BBC America.â€ť
Brownâ€™s fingers are tightly crossed for that project in particular, as it represents a particular milestone in his television career. â€śFor me, that was certainly so far the biggest thing to happen to date, because I actually play the lead in it,â€ť he explains. â€śIt was called Savage, which, I have to say, because the characterâ€™s called Savage, and it kind of mirrors a little bit what happens. His world is kind of thrown upside down and he gets drawn in and drawn in, and drawn in with this kind of revenge feeling to going a bit savage. But the titleâ€™s now changed to Good Cop, so we ultimately believe that heâ€™s a good cop that is kind of drawn irrevocably to doing bad things.â€ť
Until then, viewers will have to content themselves with the tight-gripping drama of Inside Men. Believe me â€” itâ€™s savage enough.
Photo: Â© BBC/Phil Fisk