Em­mett J Scan­lan

Now (UK) - - TV -

Em­mett found fame as vil­lain Bren­dan Brady in Hol­lyoaks

from 2010-2013, and has since ap­peared in hit BBC2 thriller The Fall and Net­flix drama Safe.

In ITV’S new three-part drama But­ter­fly he stars as Stephen, the dad of a young boy who iden­ti­fies as a girl…

What at­tracted you to the role of Stephen in But­ter­fly?

I read the scripts in one sit­ting. I thought this is so brave, it’s some­thing I want to get my teeth into. It took less than a sec­ond for me to say ‘I’m in’.

Tell us a bit about the story…

It’s a fam­ily drama cen­tred around 11-year-old Max, who’s trapped in the wrong body. It starts af­ter Stephen has left the fam­ily home be­cause he’s un­able to un­der­stand why his only son wants to be girl. Stephen’s wife Vicky is more sup­port­ive of Max and un­der­stands what may be go­ing on.

How does Stephen deal it?

He be­lieves his son needs a proper role model, so he does stereo­typ­i­cal ‘manly’ things with him. He hopes what his son is go­ing through is some­thing he’ll grow out of. It isn’t un­til he finds out just how se­ri­ously un­happy his son re­ally is that he re­alises it isn’t a phase.

Did you do any re­search about trans­gen­der chil­dren?

Anna Friel – who plays Vicky – and I went to the char­ity Mer­maids, which sup­ports trans­gen­der chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. It was ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble meet­ing these brave, re­mark­able par­ents and their chil­dren. I was shocked how young these kids were and what they went through. Three quar­ters of the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity self-harm and nearly half at­tempt sui­cide. It’s a hor­rific statis­tic.

As a dad your­self, did it make you think how you might re­act if you were in Stephen’s shoes?

There’s a great line in the show when Vicky says, ‘I’d rather have a daugh­ter than a dead son,’ and that re­ally res­onated with me. Most par­ents just want their kids to be happy.

Do you think But­ter­fly will help to change how peo­ple see trans­gen­der peo­ple?

I hope it will an­swer some ques­tions, beg more ques­tions and make peo­ple want to know more. It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary piece of writ­ing. I’m sure it will ed­u­cate and raise aware­ness about a sub­ject most of us don’t know too much about. But­ter­fly is on ITV, Sun­day, 9pm

Em­mett in But­ter­fly with Anna Friel as mum Vicky and Cal­lum Booth-ford as Max

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