OTHELLO and The Wire star Dominic West may be stage and TV hot property right now but the Sheffield-raised actor is anticipating a spot of flak.
He earned a mixed reaction for his compelling portrayal of Fred West in Appropriate Adult last Sunday and many admirers in the tough US cop drama, but West – playing Iago alongside The Wire co-star Clarke Peters from Thursday -is expecting stick for comments he made about his hometown last year.
“I was honoured with a honorary doctorate at the Hallam University and made this comment, stupidly, as a joke, as an attempt to tie The Wire and Sheffield and how the two were linked for me and in many ways Baltimore is or was like Sheffield in that it was a post industrial city.
“I cracked this joke about it and this guy came up to me and went ‘you haven’t been to Sheffield recently, have you?’ You haven’t seen it much since the ’80s. “I was walking round yesterday and I have been back as I’ve still got three sisters here, but I’ve never known it as well as in my childhood so I expect to get a lot of stick for the remarks I made about the wastelands of Baltimore resembling those of Sheffield.”
In his defence, West’s admiring the redevelopment of one former eyesore as we speak. “I remember Park Hill flats. They look good now, but they were pretty grim in the ’80s.”
In Othello his Iago will have a Sheffield accent. “So I could get into a lot of trouble,” he grins.
“I was born here and went to school here. It’s perfect for the part because it works very well with him and generally Shakespeare works better with an accent, I think.
“But I was a bit hesitant because obviously my harshest critics will be in the audience, the Sheffield people themselves. Maybe I should have gone for Birmingham or something.”