AN OSCAR-nominated actor will be starring in a hard-hitting courtroom drama coming to Milton Keynes Theatre.
Tom Conti, 70, will be taking the role of television journalist James Highwood in Rough Justice. His character has made a career out of challenging the British justice system in his documentary programmes. But he is challenged by the system as he is brought to court on a charge of murder.
He says the role of James Highwood is one of his most challenging.
Tom said: “It is a very difficult show to talk about because there are lots of twists and turns and you do not want to give them away.
“Lawyers do not talk like real people, they use a lot of legalese which are very complicated terms, so it is a challenge to learn all of that.
“I don’t have as much as Elizabeth Payne, who plays the prosecutor in the show, all of her dialogue is pretty much legalese.
“That’s not to say it is a dry script, it is very witty and funny in places.”
It marks a return to the stage for Tom who prefers it to film and television.
He said: “On a film set, you have quite long days and are up at 5.30am and working up to 15-hour days, and I think a lot of the writing on British television is very poor.
“You look at what is being produced in America with the likes of Deadwood and Mad Men, and it’s a lot better than a lot of what’s on here.”
However, he was most recently taking a role in the blockbusher hit of the summer The Dark Knight Rises.
Tom said: “I played a prisoner, I don’t think I had a name and they only sent me my scenes which is something you are used to as an actor. I hope they sent Christian the whole script.
“It was a lot of fun being in the film and Christian was a nice guy. We spent a lot of time talking on set and he was very charming.
“It is a brilliant performance from him, he is superb as Batman.”
But while he has been critical of television parts, he has recently performed in two sitcom, Miranda and Sky One’s Parents.
Tom said: “They were doing the Christmas special and they thought it would be nice to have her father in it and that was how I got involved.
“It was a lovely thing to do and I am full of admiration for the script’s that Miranda Hart writes. They are all such good perfomers.
“I worked with Sally Phillips a little bit later on a show called Parents, which was great. Because of the standrad of British television, I welcome the investment from Sky in new programmes.”
While he is better associated with straight laced roles, he perhaps choose a surprising role from his long and varied career.
Tom added: “The best part I ever had was a musical called They’re Playing Our Song which I did for 18 months in the West End.
“It was based on the real life relationship of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Sager and it was so well written. I had a lovely time doing it.”
Encouraging people to come along and see his latest work though, Tom said: “You will have a good time, it will entertain people and will make them laugh.”
Conti will be appearing at the theatre from Monday, September 17 to Saturday, September 22.
Tickets for the show cost between £12 and £27 and can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 871 7652 or www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes.