Boardwalk Empire’s Richard Harrow

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Within this article is an interview with Jack Huston, who plays Richard Harrow in HBO’s hit series Boardwalk Empire. Richard, a veteran of World War I, experienced a traumatic injury in the war which left the left half of his face severely disfigured. In addition, his speech is affected and he develops a characteristic “tick.” Richard wears a tin half-mask to conceal his face. He is arguably the most complex character within the series.

Huston discusses various aspects of his role, notably the difficulty of playing a character with such an affliction. Huston explains, ” I imagined the pain and suffering that someone like that would go through… You sort of act like how people treat you, or you hide away…”

He continues, “All he wants is a normal life…He can’t connect with anyone, even his sister, because now, externally, he sees himself as a monster.”

I recall Longmore’s discussion regarding appropriate portrayals of disabled individuals in film. He provides us with Daniel Day-Lewis as an example, due in large part to his style as a character actor, one who encompasses himself in the character’s circumstance in order to provide an accurate portrayal. Huston, too, is a character actor of similar style. His portrayal of the sad, lonely, physically disfigured Harrow is truly a moving one.

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