Father-of-three David Morrissey harnessed a terrifying thought for his starring role in The Missing, writes DAVID MEDDOWS
WHEN called upon to play the father of a young girl grabbed from the street and held captive for more than a decade, British actor David Morrissey knew he could channel his natural fears as a dad of three.
But to truly understand what such a tragedy does to a family, he delved into the infamous case of missing schoolgirl Madeleine McCann.
Morrissey stars in the much-anticipated return of BBC’s thrilling whodunit
The Missing, as Captain Sam Webster, a career military man stationed at a British army base in Germany when his daughter Alice disappears without a trace in 2003.
The story is told using dual timelines, jumping between 2014 – when Alice stumbles into the German town from which she vanished 11 years earlier – and the present day, where it becomes obvious the whole ordeal has destroyed the family, as the hunt for her abductor continues.
While Morrissey said he could relate to Webster as the father of young children, he was challenged to bring to life the anguish and pain his character endures.
“As an actor, you’re always having to use your imagination about how you will tell the story,” he said. “But obviously [with] a story about a father who loses his daughter, you can tap into that part of your psyche quite easily. It’s something that we have in our worries and our fears ourselves.
“There was the famous case in the UK of the McCanns – they wrote a book and I read that and their daughter is obviously still missing.”
Morrissey, best known to those outside the UK as The Governor in The Walking
Dead, is known for the meticulous research he does before filming a show.
Along with his research into the McCanns, he read transcripts from other missing-persons cases in which children had been kidnapped and never returned.
“There are lots of testimonies of people whose children have still not been found. It’s quite harrowing, really,” he said.
However, he’s quick to point out story lines such as this aren’t a common occurrence and feels “it’s important to say
The Missing is a drama that deals with something quite extraordinary – these are not everyday events”.
SUNDAY, 8.30PM, BBC FIRST