'The Mallorca Files': Behind the badge with lead actor Julian Looman
When it comes to crime dramas, a chalk and cheese personality between the partners offers plenty of dramatic tension and comic relief.
We’ve enjoyed such contrasts in shows like "The Mentalist", "Bones", "Rosewood", "Castle" as well as the upcoming second season of "Carter", to mention a few.
Viewers can expect a similar blueprint with "The Mallorca Files", where Julian Looman (Detective Max Winter) is paired with Elen Rhys (Detective Miranda Blake).
In the first episode, Max, while at the Palma airport to meet his girlfriend, stumbles upon an international incident and steps in to assist when a witness is killed. Before long, he is partnered with Miranda to investigate the case where members belonging to the same gang as the deceased are being taken out by someone.
On landing the part, the ruggedly handsome Looman revealed: “I got a call from my agent who said, ‘There’s a new BBC production called ‘The Mallorca Files’, it’s about a German guy and an English woman and I thought of you’. I read it and decided to audition but I was in the middle of shooting something and I was really busy. Our baby had just been born so it was one hour awake, one hour asleep, you know how it is with newborns... The time-frame to tape my audition was quite tight so I just went for it. You could hear my son waking up and crying in the background, so he added a little bit extra to my audition!
“Then the producers invited me to London and we ran through the scenes all over again. I met the director and that went well. Then they invited us to a ‘chemistry read’ - there were four actresses playing Miranda and three other actors besides me playing Max - so they tried different combinations. They asked me at the end ‘Which Miranda would you choose?’ so I said I thought Elen (Rhys) was good. Auditioning is always a bit stressful but I felt there was something interesting going on between us and luckily it came across on screen as well, so they decided to go with the two of us.”
The 30-something Austrian actor unpacked the complexities of his character.
“When we all discussed Max’s back story we thought that perhaps he had to get out of Germany to escape his very strong and dominant father, that there was definitely an issue with his father around why he came to the island in the first place. For his 18th birthday, Max received a BMW as a present from his dad – who works in the car industry - which he then brings to Mallorca. He’s proud of it, but it also represents the strained relationship they have,” he explained.
“Max also has a girlfriend, Carmen, and she’s a bit fed up with him because she can’t rely on him, she can’t make plans, she’s not always sure where he is, he’s always busy with something. So his unreliability is another layer to him.”
The differences with his new work partner further compound Max’s dilemmas.
He shared: “I think that Max has quite an emotional approach to policing. It’s not by the book, he listens to his gut and is easily distracted. So for someone like Miranda, who does go by the book, this is annoying. Yes, they have to work together but I think there’s more to it than that; he sees Miranda as a project and to an extent working with her becomes a bit like a game for him.”
Revisiting a standout moment shooting this eight-part series, Looman offered: “Hanging on the cliff in the first episode - it was a fake cliff but I remember it well because it was a tricky stunt. I was holding on just by my fingertips and I weighed quite a lot; I’m over six feet so that’s quite a lot of weight to hold. I like all the scenes in the car; the car is my office and the whole series is basically a road trip.”
"The Mallorca Files" is an action-packed whodunit drama with two leads who will leave you processing conflicting emotions as they try to work past their differences to close a case.
"The Mallorca Files" airs on BBC Brit (DStv channel 120) on Monday, April 20, at 8pm.