His latest role is in Netflix’s upcoming crime thriller Pieces of Her, a TV adaptation of the 2018 novel by Karin Slaughter which will premiere on March 4. The show chronicles the story of Andy (Bella Heathcote), who must learn—and come to terms with—her mother Laura’s (Toni Collette) past. Dempsie plays Nick Harp, a complex character entangled in the lives of the two—and part of the puzzle Andy must solve.
How would you describe your character, Nick Harp, in Pieces of Her?
Nick Harp is a very complex character and is probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve played. In order to portray him, I tried to create a backstory, especially about his childhood and upbringing.
He grew up in Detroit in the late 60s, which was a turbulent time. There were race riots there, so a lot of families fled to the suburbs. I took that as a starting point and decided that Nick was probably a bit of an outsider growing up. He’s incredibly bright, but because of where he lived and the neglect he faced, he wasn’t able to fulfil his academic potential which led to a lot of resentment.
Has it been challenging to portray a character that’s not straight-up good or bad?
I don’t think so. Characters in the grey area are what well-written characters should be. In recent years, viewers have become far too savvy that full simplistic depictions of good or bad or black and white doesn’t really cut it anymore, especially when you talk about people’s well-rounded interests. People are like that too in life. We all live in the grey area.