Warning: This story may contain spoilers …
A new show streaming in New Zealand features one of the most unlikeable television characters in recent memory.
Flesh & Bone is the creation of Breaking Bad writer and director Moira Walley-Beckett and follows the adventures of Claire, a Pittsburgh dancer who moves to New York to escape her family and chase her ballerina dreams with the American Ballet Company.
But it’s the company’s bipolar, bisexual artistic director Paul Grayson, played by Ben Daniels, that steals the show and has earned Daniels a cult following.
Daniels says he tried to “create a character that had full range … and I would try and give free rein to that.
“I would do a lot of prep work, and so I would know the mood that he would be in and why he was in that mood,” he told reporters during a presentation in Los Angeles.
Grayson runs the American Ballet Company like a dictator, scaring dancers with terrifying outbursts, bullying them during practice sessions and firing them on the spot if they annoy him.
Among his worst moments are making a phone call to his secretary while having sex with his boyfriend in his office, attempting to push Clare into having sex with the man financing his latest production, dumping a male dancer for rejecting his advances, and cancelling Thanksgiving for dancers when they’d already been told to go home.
His nadir comes mid-way through the eight-episode season when he flings a nest full of baby birds from a window ledge because their chirping annoys him during a conversation with Claire.
Playing a character with so many emotions was tough admits Daniels, who has also starred in House of Cards.
“It’s quite daunting because you can fall flat on your face. And you can only do it if you have someone that you trust, which, in this case, it was Moira.
“I sat down … and really picked apart the background of this man.”
His snide comments have earned him legions of fans, with tumblr pages full of gifs and memes made of his remarks.