'Crown and Anchor' star Michael Rowe quit alcohol and 'withdrew socially' when he became James Downey
The Canadian actor, who has previously appeared as Deadshot in 'Arrow', opened up about the steps he took to prepare for the role of troubled cop James Downey
‘Crown and Anchor’ is the story of two cousins with troubled pasts who are forced to come together to take down a drug cartel.
The movie examines the long-term effects of domestic abuse and the problems of morality that one faces in everyday life.
The drama film stars Michael Rowe, who plays the anti-hero Deadshot on 'Arrow', in the role of a straightedge police officer with a history of violence.
In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, Rowe opened up about working with his brother Andrew Rowe, the moral questions raised by the movie, and the steps he took to prepare for the role.
James Downey, Rowe's character in 'Crown and Anchor', is a very damaged individual who fights to suppress his emotions, especially his anger.
Rowe revealed that he was a part of the script-writing process, which helped him have a better idea of the character and take steps to prepare himself for the role.
"This was a unique project in that I was a part of the script writing process from the beginning," Rowe said. "I got to spend almost 2 years with the character of James in my head. So I really felt like I knew him. As filming was getting closer I started to withdraw socially a little bit. I started living my life mostly at night. Working out a lot more. I stopped drinking alcohol. Things like that."
"Suppressing the emotions was difficult," he added.
"As an actor, I think you lean on those emotions to tell the story in a scene. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t doing anything interesting in some of the scenes in the film. Just sitting in a stew of internalized messy stuff. But that’s what the character needed to be and I’m happy with the final results."
'Crown and Anchor' shows cops and mobsters who justify their violent actions with the mantra "the ends justify the means."
While each of these groups sees the world in black and white, the movie's juxtaposition of the two groups brings out the morally grey nature of reality.
Rowe confirmed that this moral ambiguity is exactly what 'Crown and Anchor' is all about.
"I think that in life we tell ourselves a lot of little white lies and make certain questionable decisions to reach a desired outcome," he explained.
"The only gage is our conscience. Can you sleep at night? Can you look at yourself in the mirror and be ok with your truth? I’m more of a 'it’s how you play the game' type of guy, not a 'whether you win or lose' type guy. Life isn’t black and white. It’s mostly grey areas. That’s what we try to explore in 'Crown and Anchor'. We want the audience to think about what they would do in these situations."
'Crown and Anchor' was directed by Rowe's brother Andrew. The brothers have done quite some work together before, with Rowe crediting his brother with having gotten him into acting in the first place. The actor agreed that having a director he is completely comfortable with helped bring out the best in him.
"Having that trust in each other makes it easier to venture into the darkness and the unknown," Rowe said. "You become a light for each other. It allows you to go deeper into wherever you’re trying to go. It also helped in the writing process. My brother Andrew knows me so well. Some scenes were written for my strengths.... some were written for my weaknesses. That positioned the character and pushed the right buttons in me as an actor."
‘Crown and Anchor’ was nominated for the Canadian Screen Award for Achievement in Make-up and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
The movie was released in the US on September 12, 2018, and became available as a DVD and for Video-On-Demand starting on July 2, 2019.