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Russell Tovey talks Looking: "It's special and it's unique"

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"I love it, I absolutely love it. I love everybody in it, I love the tone of it, I love the music… I think it's going to be big."

Russell Tovey stars in HBO's 'Looking'

© HBO


It's fair to say that Russell Tovey is proud of his new series Looking - about to launch in the UK on Sky Atlantic.

The British star has landed a recurring role on the drama - which follows a group of gay friends living in San Francisco - but describes himself as "a fan" of the series, regardless of his own involvement.

"I think I must've seen it about five times now - an actor should never admit that they watch their own work that much, but it's because I like the show!" he laughs.

Looking is already attracting a great deal of buzz on both sides of the Atlantic - Tovey thinks it's because the show provides "a fresh eye" on the gay community. "I think a lot of shows have the stereotypical gay man that's very accessible, very family friendly - the token comedy role or the best friend.

"This is showing a section of the community where there isn't any crisis in the fact that they're gay and it isn't the all-defining personality trait of each of the characters. It just happens to be that they are gay and this is their lives and this what they are doing - they are living. They've got over all their shit and they're just being."

Russell Tovey, Jonathan Groff and Franke J. Alvarez take a 'Looking' selfie

© Instagram / LookingHBO/Russell Tovey


The role of cocksure "tech geek" and "wunderkind" Kevin was written for Tovey after he auditioned for the part of Looking lead Patrick, which went to Glee actor Jonathan Groff, but there's clearly no hard feelings - Tovey is just as effusive about his co-star as he is the series:

"I love musicals - that's probably one of my most gay traits, that's one of my giveaways!

"Jonathan is obviously a musical king - so between takes, we'd be singing songs from musicals. They'd call cut and we'd break into a tune from Chorus Line. I think he's absolutely brilliant. A lot of people love Jonathan Groff and I'm happy to join the queue!"

On-screen, Tovey reveals, there's a "frission" between video-game developer Patrick and his boss Kevin, both of whom are both involved with other people: "Kevin is very secure and sure of himself and I think Patrick falls for that charm," the actor explains. "Kevin relishes that, but as the series goes on, he's wrong-footed.

"You can be cocky and confident, but when you start developing feelings for someone, suddenly your self-esteem drops a bit. It's a weird place for him to be in. That's where his drama comes from."

Russell Tovey stars in HBO's 'Looking'

© HBO


Tovey himself is clearly relishing his first major US TV role - "Brits are cool at the moment," he suggests. "We've taken over the world, what with Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, One Direction… to be British is to be fashionable." - but insists that he has no current plans to relocate to Hollywood.

"All the other actors are doing panels and turning up at premieres and the Emmys - I'm like… f**k!" he jokes. "But I'll always keep roots in the UK - I love being a Londoner.

"I grew up in Essex and all my life I wanted to live in London - now I do. I feel very privileged to be able to live here. The beauty of doing this show is that it's only 8 episodes, so you don't need to relocate… and I don't want to leave London!"

But Tovey - currently starring in play The Pass at London's Royal Court Theatre - is nevertheless anxious to return to San Francisco: "Fingers crossed we get another crack of the whip with Looking and get to do another season. It feels very buzz-worthy and talked about. Everybody seems to be very aware that it's happening and I f**king love it.

"I think it's going to grow and just get bigger and bigger - it's special and it's unique and once people get into the characters, it's just going to fly."

Looking begins tonight (Monday, January 27) at 10.35pm on Sky Atlantic.

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