In Esquire Network’s first scripted series Spotless, Jean Bastiere, played by Marc-André Grondin, (C.R.A.Z.Y.), finds his life upended by his outlaw brother Martin (Inglourious Basterds’ Denis Ménochet) and a tough mob boss, played by Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle. The series introduces the darkly comic world of London’s underbelly, a world where Jean’s crime scene cleaning business ensures corruption, drugs, and death are only a heartbeat away. Co-created by BAFTA Award-winner Ed McCardie (Shameless) and Academy® Award-winner Corinne Marrinan (CSI), Spotless promises thrilling drama and dark wit.
Stars Grondin and Coyle joined us for a quick conversation about the series’ unique perspective, what drives their characters, and what shows they enjoy during their own downtime.
Can you tell us a little about the characters you play on Spotless?
Marc-André Grondin: I play Jean, a cleaner specialized in crime scene cleaning.
Brendan Coyle: The character I play is Nelson Clay. He’s been described as a mob boss, which I think is quite reductive. He has his empire and has his gang do the dirty work for him. He has amazing taste and has a two-dimensional life, with being a mob boss and owning the most beautiful homes and land in England. When he meets Jean, he realizes that this man could be an enhancement to his dirty business. And he sees Jean as such a precious resource that he cannot let him slip through his fingers.
How have you looked to differ Nelson Clay from other legendary mob characters from past TV programs?
Brendan: When discussing Nelson Clay, Ed McCardie and I both talked about the kind of scary, terrifying people we’ve met in our real lives, and Nelson Clay is not the typical mob boss who we all think of with guns and baseball bats. When it comes to dirty work, he has other people do it for him. When it comes to anything else, he is aspirational. He is an autodidact, and loves to learn everything. He has exquisite taste: homes, suits, lovers, wives, and properties. People don’t fear the wrath of him, but rather the disappointment of him. I think that’s what makes him so unique.
How different do you think the show’s tone be without its dark humorous elements?
Marc-André: The humor is present and important, but the tone of the show modulates during the season. It what makes the show interesting, I think. It gets darker, darker, then the humor comes back differently, naturally.
What’s the cast chemistry like on set?
Marc-André: Denis Menochet and I ended up being like brothers…we were very lucky to have each other. He’s such a great actor, it made my job much easier.
What are you hoping DIRECTV customers like most about the show when it premieres?
Marc-André: The different mix of genres, the boldness, and darkness of the show, as well as its humor.
Brendan: It’s all about how elements of the story travel throughout the show. I personally think Ed McCardie is one of the best scriptwriters in the business today. He has an uncompromising voice and writing style. He is just a genius. We’re dealing with a really heartbreaking and disgusting subject, but he tells it in such a way that adds a gallows humor and dark wit to the story. It is a very intriguing story and writing style.
What do you personally like most about this show and how do you think it’s unique compared to other cable shows currently on the air?
Brendan: Good question, because there is so much content that is out there right now. Why would you seek this one out? For me, there are two French boys at the heart of it. There are flashbacks to their youth. I think the three-dimension nature of the way Ed has created the story. When I first read the script, I read the first episode and Nelson Clay isn’t even in it, but I knew by just reading the pilot, I really really wanted to play this part.
There is indeed a wealth of great shows out there right now. Any you’re currently binge watching, other than final edits of Spotless, of course!
Marc-André: I’m not binge watching anything at the moment, but I follow The Walking Dead, Homeland, and Game of Thrones.
Brendan: Right now, I’m currently binge-watching Breaking Bad and The Wire. I recently just completed Bloodline and Frankie & Grace.
Be sure to catch the gallows humor of Spotless, Saturdays at 10/9c and anytime on DIRECTV Everywhere, on Esquire Network.