After playing the villainous Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones, Welsh actor Iwan Rheon swaps sadistic for sensitive in the new British drama series Riviera, from creator Neil Jordan. 

How would you describe your character in Riviera

Adam is the eldest son of the Clios family. He was never that interested in the family business and is quite resentful of the whole world they lived in, but he could never truly get away. He just wanted to be a writer. This resulted in his father handing over the business to his younger brother. As the series unfolds we see what all this, and his relationship with his father, meant to Adam.

What are the initial steps of your working process?

I like to try to gain as many facts as I can from the text. And then discuss these 
with the director and writer. It’s important to have a good understanding of everything that has happened to the character up to this point to establish who they are and how they feel when the story begins for 
the viewers.

“It’s an interesting insight into the glamorous yet dark world of the extremely rich inhabitants of the Riviera”

How would you describe Adam’s relationship with his family? They seem like a ragtag bunch.

He does truly love his family but as I mentioned earlier, Adam doesn’t have a great relationship with them. He’s different to them and sees through the glitz, glamour and wealth. He clashes with his younger brother and has a very cold, distant relationship with his mother. He craved his father’s recognition and love but got nothing from him. His only close relationship is with his sister Adriana.

Was Riviera a project you were excited to get involved in right away?

I thought it was a very interesting premise. I also liked the idea of strong women leading. It’s an interesting insight into the glamorous yet dark world of the extremely rich inhabitants of the Riviera. The character of Adam also drew me. I wanted to do something completely different and this really is. I was very excited to jump on board and enter their extravagant world.

Iwan Rheon and Julia Stiles in Riviera

The series is shot on location in the French Riviera. Was that a nice added bonus to the job?

It’s not a bad place to be. Someone’s got to do it! Being there was really useful though because we were part of the world that we were portraying. You can see the yachts and the beautiful houses. That helped. It was hot in August though. My Celtic genes meant that I was struggling in my suits in some of the scenes. Thankfully it cooled a bit as the year went on.

What’s the Riviera really like?

Money equals status there so they like splashing it about. It’s not all wealth though. There are people living normal lives there.

The series is all about wealth and excess. Property aside, what’s been your most extravagant purchase?

Probably my custom Gibson acoustic guitar. She’s a beauty.

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