BACKBEAT star Ian Hart has no problems playing a schizophrenic paparazzo in hit US TV series DIRT because schizophrenia runs in his family.
The British actor has won critical acclaim for his portrayal of a quirky snapper in Courteney Cox's gritty new drama, and he admits playing his character unhinged wasn't that difficult.
He says, "My uncle had two uncles who were schizophrenic. I have my wife's sister's brother's brother; he's schizophrenic. I hang out with schizophrenics on a regular basis. They're nice people.
"In terms of research, I did some reading and the BBC did a whole series of documentaries on radio, which you can download, where it was conversations with schizophrenics."
Researching the photographer side of his character proved more
difficult: "Schizophrenics are easier to talk to than paparazzi. They (the paparazzi) are always running away.
"I also met some guys in England, some paparazzi guys, and I hung out with those. I went to some premieres, went for dinner a few times just to kind of get a flavour, get them to tell stories, whatever. I couldn't get close to the paparazzi in LA."