Friend is tall, slim as a sheet of paper and so ethereally beautiful that he looks unlikely to survive a strong wind. So he might seem an odd choice, but he brings an interesting spin to the role, investing it with quiet dignity, and a “first day on earth” sense of bewilderment that underscores the effects of Lewis’s damaged childhood, emphasising how remarkable it is that he found a happy ending.
The Scotsman interview with Rupert Friend.
The Kid (2010)
Cast: Rupert Friend, Natascha McElhone, Alfie Allen, Ioan Gruffudd, Jodie Whittaker.
Based on the real-life story of Kevin Lewis, the film follows his childhood of abuse, his descent into a life of crime and how he put his life together again afterwards. The screenplay was written by Mark Thomas and Kevin Lewis with additional writing by the films director Nick Moran, and details Lewis’ adolescent and young adult life, having been raised in a violent, abusive family on a small council estate called New Addington in the 1980s.
“The script had one of the biggest swings of emotion: despair at the beginning and at the end you think: if he can end up where he is now, with a beautiful family and a career he loves, then anyone can do anything […] Kevin (the real protagonist of this story) was incredibly generous and gave me unlimited access to him. It’s the only time I’ve ever played somebody who is still alive, and it’s a rare resource to have, and he was so generous with it.
Rupert Friend for The Scotsman
Kevin’s story was not entirely unknown to Rupert. Although the relationship with his parents in his childhood was pretty different than Kevin, much more comfortable and “normal”, Rupert knew what it is to feel bullied at school.
‘I had a tough time until I was a bit older and bigger.’ What was he picked on for? ‘The wrong haircut, the wrong shirt, the wrong glasses, all of which were true.’ He deflects the question. ‘What about you?’ he asks. ‘Was there bullying at your school?’
Later, he speaks more directly. ‘Nothing’s as frightening as being held down and having cigarettes put out on you.’ Which happened to you? ‘Yeah. That’s really frightening. Not so much the pain. More frightening, the held down bit, because you can’t escape.’
Rupert Friend for The Telegraph
Scenes like this, in which a simple expression, a broken and lost look marks the life of the character of Rupert, are the main reasons that make me love his work in this film. The way he was able to show how his character, even lost, still knew what he wanted, and how he just needed a way to find how to get his objective. The most important lesson 😉