Bad Samaritan: David Tennant’s darkest roles to date
Last year, we caught up with Legion M founders Paul Scanlan and Jeff Annison about their venture and where it’s headed (which you can read here). Hailed as the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company, the all-in-one production house is fully funded by movie fans. The Legion partners with creators – from indie directors to major Hollywood players – to produce movies, TV shows, VR experiences, and more.
Since launching, the company’s slate has grown considerably. It’s seen the production of Mandy, one of the best-reviewed films at this year’s Sundance, and it also has movies like Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal under its belt.
One of Legion M’s most recent buzzworthy projects was Bad Samaritan, produced and directed by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, Stargate, The Librarians) and starring the one and only David Tennant as a maniacal villain. Described as “a terrifying cautionary tale”, Bad Samaritan follows two thieves who uncover more than they bargained for when they break into a house for an easy score. After making a shocking discovery, will they choose to run and hide or confront the killer whose dark secrets they have exposed?
Bad Samaritan is probably Tennant’s most sinister role yet. In celebration, let’s take a look at nine of the actor’s other dark roles (no Time Lords here).
Kilgrave: Jessica Jones (2015 – 18)
At first, you may be led to believe Jessica Jones’s Kilgrave is charming and seductive, but that impression won’t last long. His ability to control the minds of others at will leads to some frighteningly unpredictable and cruel situations (in a standout episode, he commands one woman to slice another with a knife 1,000 times).
Unfortunately for him, he’s made a powerful enemy out of Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). Most of the onenote baddies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are never afforded a level of depth like this (looking at you, Ronan). Tennant’s performance is a career highlight and extremely unnerving, due in part to his use of the same inflections he used for The Doctor.
D.I. Alec Hardy: Broadchurch (2013 – 17)
In a town filled with secrets, suspicion, and shame, David Tennant’s grim-faced detective Alec Hardy partners up with Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) to catch the killer of a young boy named Danny Latimer. The show was remade in the US, with Tennant playing the same character and sporting a shiny new American accent.
Peter Vincent: Fright Night (2011)
Peter Vincent is a hard-drinking, fast-living magician with more than a keen interest in vampires and the occult. Tennant has a blast with his introductory scene, lounging topless around his Vegas penthouse, swigging from a bottle and making ever-so-droll comments about everything from Shirley Temples to “big, garlic-y omelettes”.
Richard II: Richard II (2013)
Another Shakespeare production and another regal role for David Tennant. This time, he plays the extravagant monarch who falls from grace at the end of the 14th century. Eventually, as Richard is deserted by all of his former allies and imprisoned in the castle, the playfulness of Tennant’s performance crumbles into total despair.
Brendan Block: Secret Smile (2005)
Brendan Block is all charisma when he meets and beds architect Miranda (Kate Ashfield) after a chance encounter at a party. Things go sour and they split, but soon Miranda is astonished to find Brendan back in her life (only this time he proposes to her sister). She begins to suspect he’s a psychopath, using the marriage as a form of revenge against her. There’s a real menace lurking behind Brendan’s charms, one that Tennant hints towards with his cooing voice and quick, darting eyes.
Barty Crouch Jr.: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Undoubtedly the most competent (and dangerous) of the Death Eaters, Barty Crouch Jr. was able to infiltrate Hogwarts in the guise of Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody and rig the entire Triwizard Tournament in Voldemort’s favor, resulting in the death of Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson).
That’s right – this is where the Potter universe started to get serious. Tennant doesn’t have a huge role to play in the film (he spends most of it as Mad Eye), but he makes it memorable with a repulsive flickering-tongue tic, making the dark wizard look truly unhinged.
Will Burton: The Escape Artist (2013)
In this miniseries, lawyer Will Burton is tasked with defending Liam Foyle – an obvious psychopath who’s been accused of a gruesome murder. Foyle’s behaviour and mannerisms all point to a guilty verdict, except for one thing: he defiantly insists he’s innocent. Burton becomes obsessed with his contradictory case and his discoveries soon lead him to anguish and despair.
Aiden Hoynes: The Politician’s Husband (2013)
In this BBC miniseries, ambitious cabinet minister Aiden Hoynes (Tennant) makes an ill-advised play for the party leadership only to see his wife (Emily Watson) step into the ensuing void. Hoyne’s frustration is brilliantly executed by Tennant as he tries to manage the increasingly difficult personal and professional relationships in his life.
Hamlet: Hamlet (2009)
In his role as one of Shakespeare’s most tortured heroes, Tennant swaps the formal suit of mourning for a t-shirt and jeans in this updated version of the Elizabethan tragedy. Tennant’s witty, energetic performance perfectly captures the inner turmoil of the vengeful Danish prince.