Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters Talk ‘National Treasure’

Sep 16, 2016

Posted by: Storie Chastain

Actor Interviews, Coltrane, Coltrane Interviews, HP Cast, Interviews, Movies, News, Walters, Walters Interviews

Sex abuse is a hard subject to discuss. For those who have not been through it and do not know anyone who has, the very idea is unfathomable, they can’t –and don’t want to– imagine it happening to anyone. For those who have been through it or have known someone who has, it’s a little more real, they can’t deny it. But for everyone, it is terrifying.

Robbie Coltrane portray’s a veteran comedian, Paul Finchley, accused of historical sex abuse on BBC Channel 4’s new drama mini-series, National Treasure. Despite the role being potentially detrimental to his career if it causes tabloids to question his personal history, he feels the role is important. “I think it’s important to do this on behalf of the women who were raped, on behalf of all the people who were abused,” he says. He also doesn’t believe he has anything to fear from tabloid rumors, being neither a pedophile nor a rapist.

“I didn’t have to act at all,” Robbie explains, referring to a scene where evidence is being presented against his character. “The evidence was so heartbreaking. I mean, if you’re not moved by that, you might as well hand in your human-being cards.”

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Robbie has a strong belief in this drama series. He has hopes that it will bring light to what goes on when celebrities are accused of sexual abuse. Some people believe it is wrong to turn a real-life tragedy into entertainment, but Robbie disagrees.

“As if a drama has to be a Sunday-night thing you watch with your eyes half closed. No, no, no. Drama has always illuminated what’s actually going on in society, in a way that the news or the internet doesn’t … The writing is absolutely beautiful. There’s total respect for people who actually were attacked. That’s the important thing for me. If you were raped, what is your life like thereafter, and what would it be like to stand up in court and talk about it? The moral strength required to actually say: ‘He fucked me,’ while he’s there in the room, and so is the public and the press.”

At Robbie’s right hand on-screen, playing his character’s wife, is Julie Walters. Julie compares her character, Marie, to her own husband, explaining that she is “solid and there, and keeps things together, and supports him.” Marie is a catholic, unlike her husband. That was an aspect of the show that Julie found interesting. Despite Paul being unfaithful more times than one, Marie stays with him. “I feel that the piece is about faith, and doubt and trust, and she makes that leap with both her religion and with him,” Julie says.

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Whenever a story of a celebrity –or anyone, really– committing sexual abuse hits the media, the spotlight is on the perpetrator, but what must their families be going through? Their families are all but ignored throughout the process of trial and judgement. Playing the wife of the accused, Julie get a little peak into what it is like to be on that side of the situation. She says that, while the families are more or less forgotten, there is a certain curiosity that goes around about what they must be going through. “They are victims, in a sense, as well.”

When Julie was asked if she understood why wives often stood by their husbands in the midst of them being accused of sexual abuse, she said she does. After however many years of marriage, what does it say about your marriage if you do not give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, if you don’t believe in them? Doesn’t that just make your relationship sort of meaningless?

See more on the interviews with Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters here; also including thoughts from Tim McInnerny (Karl, Finchley’s best friend), Andrea Riseborough (Finchley’s daughter), and Marc Munden (Director). Catch the drama on BBC’s Channel 4 on September 20th.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.