Pay- TV series Endgame presents a unique variation on crime drama, with Its hero, charismatic Russian chess champion Arkady Balagan, left agoraphobic after witnessing the murder of his fiancée. Three months have passed, and Arkady has been unable to set foot outside the building. With bills mounting, he hits upon a unique solution. Using the powers of observation and insight into human nature he’s honed over years at the chessboard, he’s able to solve all manner of mysteries – “some dramatic, some light, some mischievous”, according to Shawn Doyle, who plays the cocky Arkady. limiting. The spectrum of who Arkady is and who he becomes over the course of the show was too varied for my meagre interpretation of a Russian dialect, so I looked to Kasparov – he’s a very witty man who has travelled the world from a young age, so his understanding and perspective is very cosmopolitan and global. Shawn, what made you want to be a part of Endgame? At first I didn’t want to be a part of it. I wondered if I really wanted to be stuck in a hotel for six months. But I worked with the producers and directors, figuring out what could be fun about playing this character, and I realised the only way this character comes to life – because he’s so desperately trying to run away from his own pain, having witnessed his fiancée’s death – is by seeking distraction and entertainment anywhere he can find it. That means toying with people and going places in his mind. Did you draw on any particular person or personality type to help bring Arkady to life? I would say the only specific reference that became important to me was [ real- life Russian chess champion] Garry Kasparov. A lot of that had to do with the dialect because I started off doing a North American actor’s version of a Russian dialect, which was quite
The cast of Endgame , with Shawn Doyle, centre. Does putting that kind of big personality into a confined space create some interesting tension for the show? That tension and how it manifests itself is really fascinating to play. It allows me, playing that character, to be very anti- social, to be very unorthodox in my responses, reactions, choices and movements, and that’s so liberating as an actor. You can just go for it, and whatever you choose, that’s who he is. Physically as well, I made the decision to be constantly moving, so much so the camera operators would constantly ask me to slow down.
Endgame, FX ( through Foxtel), Monday, 7.30pm