Audiences got to know Irish actor Chris O'Dowd as the funny cop who became the love interest for Kristen Wiig in "Bridesmaids," but he's showing off his dramatic side - and tackling nude scenes -- for the Encore miniseries "The Crimson Petal and the White."
In the period drama, based on Michael Faber's 2002 book of the same name, Chris plays William Rackham, a perfume heir, who takes a prostitute named Sugar as a lover ("The Hours'" Romola Garai) as his wife slips further and further into madness.
Asked about his nudity in the miniseries, Chris, who appeared at the Starz/Encore portion of the Television Critics Association summer tour in Beverly Hills via satellite from London, said he thought it was important to the character.
"I guess it was just necessary. It would feel very, very silly to be skittish about such things [because] Romola is going so far with those things [in her performance]. I think I'm naked in it a few times. I can't really remember to be honest," he laughed. "But, I think the first time [is] as I'm coming out of a bath and there's something so childlike about it, that he's kind of being bathed by someone, that you definitely want to see him look like a big baby, which of course, I do."
"The Crimson Petal and the White" premieres September 10 on Encore, and audiences will see a dark character from Chris, but it's a performance that got period drama darling Romola's seal of approval.
"Chris' work on the show is just astonishing and I couldn't be more proud to be in it," she said.
"Yeah, it was tricky," Chris added of playing his character. "Romola's such a professional and such a wonderful actor and we kind of made it work... These characters are so selfish and actors aren't the most selfless persons in the world, so combine those two things and it had its ups and downs."
-- Jolie Lash
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