Jonny Sweet, who plays Ewan on AMC’s Loaded, talks about millionaire guilt, British politeness and Ewan’s “deadening brown aura.”
Q: He’s anxious, he’s awkward and he’s got IBS. How did you find a way to relate to Ewan?
A: [Laughs] It was not as stressful as you’d imagine, aside from the IBS. I feel like I know people like him. He’s quite intelligent and has this escape from reality and inwardness and general repression of emotion or even opinion at time. He’s so repressed that he’s almost not even there. He’s ill-equipped to deal with the consequences of having a business or employees, and he’s managing the fact that they signed a deal with the devil. I don’t want to call Mary McCormack the devil, but it’s this evil corporation that really wants them to make more money and they’re not equipped for the reality of that commercial environment. He has to fire people and this is the first time he’s ever suffered confrontation. Weirdly, although he hides in a toilet, I think that’s what I’d do!
Q: During the personnel audit in Episode 3, Ewan refers to himself as the “code-wrangling monkey boy.” Was there a sense of pity for your character when you initially read the script?
A: I think it’s incredibly British, this stuff. I know the writer, Jon Brown, and when I found out there was a script he’d written, I was very excited. He’s very good at tapping into a kind of dismal self-confidence — or lack thereof — in British people and a politeness to the point of misery. I found that kind of natural bleakness to be very funny, but what I particularly liked is that [Ewan] does change as the series continues. The money has exacerbated some of the little problems in his relationships and is making him think more generally about himself. He begins as this pathetic void. He’s not even allowed in the photos because of his “deadening brown aura” Yet, he’s clearly on a journey of mild self-discovery, but I think for him it’s quite dramatic.
I’ve found myself on the tube in London and someone will shoulder-barge me and I will turn around and apologize. That’s very much British politeness. He’s that times a million. He’s a coder and is highly intelligent, but the intelligence he has is not emotional… He takes solace in his strings of codes and programming.
A: It was pretty natural. We did a week of rehearsal before we started filming and we didn’t actually do much rehearsing. I think what [Director] Ian [Fitzgibbon] was doing was getting us to know each other and become pals. We genuinely do get along and we did have a nice time. It felt quite easy all the way through. I also think all of us are kind of similar to our characters — at least some elements — and there was a natural dynamic that established itself. I hope it comes across because it did feel quite real. We did feel like a gang by the end.
Q: How did you enjoy his sense of style?
A: I liked it! It’s very similar to what I wear. That’s the problem. This guy is a pathetic, repressed nobody person and he wears my clothes and he’s got my face, so who am I? [Laughs] I liked the nice warm colors, but I guess there was some deadening brown in there. I thought all the costumes were really good, but my favorite is probably Watto’s. The leather jacket paired with the red track suit bottoms was a moment of inspiration. I was sad to see Nick [Helm] when he was not in those.
Q: What was your immediate reaction to Ewan giving away so many bonuses? Was that decision a result of his millionaire guilt?
A: I love that bit. In the script, it says he looks at Paula’s depressing homemade sandwich and feels like he’s just boasted about his money. It just spirals and he ends up giving everyone a bonus. I enjoyed doing those scenes because I felt quite tense in them with how stressful it was.
Q: How did you and Scarlett Alice Johnson work together to create such a cringe-worthy dynamic between Ewan and Paula?
A: We did play around with it a bit because we didn’t know to what extent Paula should be genuinely upset at various points. We had to modulate how devastating her life was so that we don’t just loathe Ewan. You want to loathe him a little bit. I found it funny the more she was inconsolably heartbroken, so it was quite interesting to work out how far to go with that stuff. She’s such a good actor and played someone who is totally at home with themselves and is unafraid of that kind of low-level confrontation. She was so good at being unapologetic, but not in a brazen way. She’s so comfortable in her skin that Ewan being uncomfortable in his skin pops even more.
Q: We’ve asked Jim and Samuel already. What kind of app would you personally love to create?
A: I once had an idea for an app. It was basically Shazam for fonts. I was very excited about it, but guess what? It exists! I was so disappointed because I thought, “This is going to be huge, Jonny. You’re going to be set for life!”
Read an interview with Samuel Anderson, who plays Leon.
Watch full episodes of Loaded on amc.com and AMC apps for mobile, Fire TV, Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.
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