This Is What It's Like To Play A Rapist On TV

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Part of an actor's job is to find the humanity in the character he's playing — no matter how awful that person is. For James McMenamin, playing prison guard Charlie Coates on Orange Is the New Black is a taxing and confusing role. Coates seemed like a pretty decent guy when we met him in season 3 of the women's prison drama, but that quickly changed when he raped Tiffany Doggett, a.k.a. Pennsatucky, played by Taryn Manning. (Coates returns for season 4, but we won't spoil his storyline.)
McMenamin talked to BuzzFeed about how he grapples with portraying a predator. "It’s tough to even talk about this sometimes," he admitted. "I portray a man who committed an assault." The actor tries not to view his character as a one-dimensional villain, though. “It’s certainly easy to judge Charlie Coates based on this one facet." Instead, McMenamin tries to find depth in him. "If I judge the character as being [entirely] evil or wrong, there’s nothing for me as an actor there to explore."
Advertisement
He went on to say that "[on] some levels, I bet Charlie Coates is a nice guy... That’s as far as I’m willing to go." Of course, he's not denying that his character “made a horrible, horrible mistake that may be unforgivable." When trying to empathize with a correctional officer who raped an inmate is part of a day's work, you know you've got a tough job.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Advertisement

More from TV

A new Anne of Green Gables movie is on the way! Those of you who have been fearing the inevitable tense political debate with a long-lost relative that ...
There are two kinds of TV-watchers out there. The first are normal, well-balanced people who are dying from the very beginning to know how a series ends...
The Pfeffermans are back! To quickly get up to speed, check out our Binge Club for season 2. Already set? Let's get this started. Episode 1: "Elizah" ...
The 2016 Emmy Awards were off to a great start when a surprising announcement came over the loudspeaker. A voiceover announced the next presenter: none ...
It's been over 12 years since Friends ended. And we still miss the shit out of that show. Luckily, every once in a while we're blessed with a nostalgic ...
Wait, what? American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy just dropped a bomb on viewers — who are currently caught up in AHS season six, My Roanoke ...
Glee's cast sounds as dramatic as the characters they played. Ryan Murphy recently told Entertainment Weekly that all the fights and relationships ...
Kimmy Schmidt lives in her own world. It's a cross between middle school, the year 1999, and present-day New York. Mix in the fact that she was held ...
In a move that made Big Brother history, female contestant Nicole Franzel beat Paul Abrahamian in Wednesday night's finale, Buzzfeed reports. While this ...
It's no secret that Eleven on Stranger Things was the little-less-conversation-little-bit-more-action sort — minus the sexual Ariana Grande overtones. We...
There’s a certain feeling that wells up when you’ve just entered a room you were never supposed to be in. These rooms never have an overt warning sign; ...
Grey's Anatomy is back, and Alex is maybe a felon! The hospital's most lovable hothead finally snapped in a criminal way, beating the hell out of DeLuca ...
Amazing news, TV lovers of the world: Since we first published this story in 2013, there have been leaps and bounds in the number of streaming platforms ...
Awkward school photos, we've taken a few. That's why we can't help but sympathize with the doozy Kristen Bell pulled out on The Late Late Show Wednesday ...