He’s carved a niche for himself as a rough-round-the edges character actor, springboarding from the cobbles of Coronation Street to Guy Richie’s Snatch. Now Stephen Graham, 37, is poised for international stardom after turning in a series-stealing role in Martin Scorsese’s extraordinary new venture. The Scouse star, who started out as Lee Sankey in Coronation Street in 1999 and also had a role in The Lakes, plays gangster Al Capone in mega bucks television series Boardwalk Empire.
Set in prohibition-era Atlantic City, the show was an instant hit in the States where a second series was commissioned straight after the pilot.
It is believed to be the most expensive television show ever made at a rumoured cost of up to £33million for the first episode alone and premieres in Britain on Tuesday.
Located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Empire stars character actor Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Fargo) as a character moving in the shadows between good and evil.
But, first, you’ll be impressed by the production values.
On Sunday night Buscemi picked up the Golden Globe for best actor in a TV drama while Boardwalk Empire, based on a book by Nelson Johnson, won best series.
Graham is not the only Brit on the show either – Trainspotting star Kelly McDonald, 34, is getting another crack at worldwide fame with her main character of Margaret Schroeder. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television, plays an Irish widow who becomes Nucky’s mistress. Talking to the Guardian, Macdonald said of her involvement: ‘There wasn’t much weighing up. it was a case of ‘Martin Scorsese’s directing the pilot, oh f***, I’d love to do it.’
Plaudits have been flowing thick and fast, with the American Film Institute calling Boardwalk Empire one of the ‘best television programs of the year’, New York Daily News saying ‘it doesn’t get much better’ and the Chicago Sun Times dubbing it ‘an event not to be missed’.
‘Extravagantly produced, shockingly violent and as cold and hard as ice, Boardwalk Empire brings us back to the world’s former playground at the start of Prohibition – and brings HBO back to the forefront of the TV-series race.’
— USA Today
Boardwalk Empire premieres in the UK on Tuesday February 1 at 9pm on the new Sky Atlantic HD channel.
Read more and view excellent photos at Boardwalk Empire and the British actors Stephen Graham and Kelly Macdonald who are set to become global stars on the Mail Online website..