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'Hollyoaks': James Atherton on Will Savage's dark side and future

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James Atherton as Will Savage in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures



Hollyoaks has brought out Will Savage's sinister side in recent weeks as he has been using his self-inflicted disability to manipulate everyone around him.

Will's machinations continue next week as he attempts to get Texas Longford (Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove) to devote all of her time to him. But just how far will he go to get what he wants?

Digital Spy recently caught up with James Atherton, who plays Will, to hear more about next week's episodes and his character's new direction.

How have you felt about exploring a much darker side to Will?
"I've absolutely loved it. It's so much more interesting to play. The reasons behind his madness are all to do with jealousy - it's a horrible emotion and it causes people to do crazy things!

"I just love the fact that Will is just suddenly so rash about things, and he's taking pleasure in the fact that he has control over people. It's been really fun getting into that darker mindset."

Were you surprised by this change in direction for Will, or do you think hints of this were always there?
"Well, when we were talking about it, we made the decision that Will could have had this obsessive streak as far back as when he first arrived in Hollyoaks. We saw him sketching Theresa and he did seem a little bit obsessed with her, so we felt like it had always been there a little bit.

"More recently, we had the stuff with Silas in the summer. Will was meeting up with him to write a book, and then recording girls in the woods to get into his mindset. I don't think you can do that sort of thing without being a little bit unhinged yourself! I think it's always been there under the surface, but now it's nice to see it coming to the forefront of the character."

Do you think Will still has a likeable side?
"Even though the audience has seen that Will chucked himself down the stairs, he did it as a cry for help and attention. He didn't expect to find himself in the wheelchair, and I think there are definitely moments where the audience are still supposed to feel sorry for him.

"Those moments are getting few and far between now, though, I have to admit! But I still would like the audience to see that it's terrible what he's done to himself."

Texas helps Will.

© Lime Pictures



Does Will genuinely love Texas, or is he more interested in getting one over on Dodger?
"I think Texas is someone who Will has placed on a pedestal. Now he's getting closer to Texas, she is something Will has that Dodger wants. It's the first time that Will's had one over on Dodger, so it's a lot more to do with Will's relationship with his brother. It's sick and twisted in that way - Texas is like a trophy that he has."

What happens when Dirk returns next week?
"Once Dirk is back, there's an expectation that Will is going to go back to living on the boat. But throughout next week, you'll see Will manipulating every situation possible to stay in the lads' pad with Texas. Texas is helping Will out of guilt, but the more the week goes on, he manoeuvres that guilt to make her think that she has genuine feelings for him.

"At one point, Texas goes on a girls' night out and Will deliberately throws himself out of his wheelchair. Once Texas is back, Will acts all pathetic, as if he's completely reliant on her. He's pushing his luck further and further, and he snatches a kiss from her at the end of that night."

What happens next?
"Will just keeps putting ideas into Texas's head, and the week culminates in him putting on a massive act as he claims that he'll check himself into an assisted living facility. Actually what he wants - and what he does get - is Texas and the whole of his family running about after him, pleading with him not to go!

"Because of that, Will actually feels wanted - possibly for the first time in his life. By putting himself in this horrible position of being paralysed, suddenly he's got everything that he wants. He's going to use this situation to get everything he can now, which is really sick!"

Will tips himself out of wheelchair to get Texas's attention.

© Lime Pictures



Are there any limits to how far Will would go now?
"That's what's great about it - he's going to use it to his advantage as much as he can. Even in the moment of him throwing himself down the stairs, Will didn't think it through. He's prone to doing rash things, and he's a terrible decision-maker. I think that might continue."

How long can he keep the truth about the fall under wraps for?
"As Will is the only one who knows what really happened, I think he can keep it secret for as long as he wants to!"

How are the Hollyoaks fans reacting to Will's darker side?
"It's been funny, because I think everyone's loved the character shift. Although they hate him, I think they've enjoyed seeing this darker side of Will come out. It makes him so much more intriguing and interesting for me to play, and I think it's the same for the viewers as they're wondering what he'll do next.

"The response has been really good and now even the make-up girls here at Hollyoaks tell me, 'I absolutely hate Will!' It's great fun."

Dodger turns up in a wheelchair to help his brother Will feel better.

© Lime Pictures



You must be pleased that the Savage family are becoming a much bigger part of the show.
"I'm absolutely chuffed about it, yeah. It's lovely, and the stories they've come up with for us have been great. Our producer Bryan Kirkwood has played more on the idea of two brothers feuding, and Will's jealousy of Dodger.

"Also, with the Blakes coming in, Dodger now has two dads - both of which absolutely hero worship him! Will feels like he hasn't got anyone so it's made it even harder for him. It's just going to make Will green with envy and do even more crazy things, which usually end quite destructively!"

What's the atmosphere like on set at the moment?
"It's really good at the moment. I think it's probably the best it's been since I've been here. There's been so much exciting stuff happening storyline-wise, and we've got some really good new people joining the show.

"I've also been reading the scripts of some people's exit stories and various other things coming up, and it just feels like the show's in really strong shape at the moment. It's just going to get better, I think! Especially with the big names coming in - I think it can only do wonders for the show and hopefully we'll go from strength to strength."

> Read the latest 'Hollyoaks' spoilers and news

Hollyoaks airs weekdays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.

Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - watch Amie Parker-Williams reveal the biggest storylines coming up in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks next week:

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