Himesh Patel: 'Good Grief' character always 'swept up in somebody else's tornado'

Left to right, Dan Levy, Ruth Negga and Himesh Patel star in "Good Grief." Photo courtesy of Netflix
1 of 4 | Left to right, Dan Levy, Ruth Negga and Himesh Patel star in "Good Grief." Photo courtesy of Netflix

NEW YORK, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- EastEnders, Tenet and Don't Look Up actor Himesh Patel says he signed on to star in the new dramedy, Good Grief, based on the strength of the script.

Premiering Friday on Netflix, the film is Dan Levy's debut as a feature-film writer and director.


Levy also plays Marc, a Canadian artist living in London and trying to recover from the sudden death of his charming and wealthy husband, Oliver (Luke Evans), with the help of his best friends -- grounded Thomas (Patel) and flaky, but fun Sophie (Ruth Negga).

"When I read the script, I was really blown away by it. I was aware of Dan's work. I loved Schitt's Creek and I didn't know what to expect from a feature script from him. I thought I knew where it was going and it didn't go there," Patel told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


"It went in very unpredictable and touching directions. I loved the characters. I loved the world and I was really excited to be a part of that."

Patel described his character, Thomas, as quiet, self-deprecating and sweet.

The fact that he and Marc are former lovers doesn't prevent Thomas from doing everything he can to help his heartbroken friend through the worst tragedy of his life.

"He's very, very loyal to them," Patel said of Thomas' relationships with Marc and Sophie.

"I'd say, they're his family. I don't know much about what else he might have outside of them," the actor added.

"He loves them, but it also means that he probably has been cleaning up a lot of their mess for a while, emotionally speaking, and probably physically speaking on some occasions."

These emotionally charged, tight-knit bonds offered interesting dynamics for Patel to explore.

"I really loved where that goes and how that unravels and how we peel back the layers of Thomas and who he really is and the pain at the core of him," the actor said.

Thomas is a man drawn to drama, even if he doesn't necessarily create it.


"He's happy to be swept up in somebody else's tornado and fun," Patel said.

"He probably thinks it is his fault that he keeps getting into these relationships with guys who just turn out to be odd or not loyal to him.

"But, also, I think he probably enjoys the chaos of someone like Sophie, for example. He probably loves that about her, as much as he also realizes eventually that is something that needs to shift."

When the film begins, Thomas and Marc are settled into a comfortable friendship in which Thomas respects his ex-boyfriend's marriage.

"His intentions are pure," Patel said, admitting Thomas also feels a glimmer of hope that Marc might want to be his romantic partner again after Oliver dies.

"Naturally, a door opens somewhere in the back of his mind that goes: 'Maybe there is something here still.'"

Adding to the drama is a bombshell revelation Marc must face when he opens a letter from Oliver on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Patel doesn't know if Thomas would have opened the letter sooner.

"It's a good question. I think he's probably also avoidant in the same way that Marc is," the actor said with a laugh.


"Maybe they've all been avoiding truth and conflict in some ways in their lives, and that that card really sums up a lot of that -- the way that Marc avoids it for a whole year. I imagine Thomas would probably do the same. He'd find some reason to deem it healthy that he do that."

Although he didn't know exactly what to expect going into the project with the first-time director, Patel found Levy to be warm and generous as a collaborator.

"He was also very clear in his vision, which is something you always want as a director," Patel said, noting the cast enjoyed a lengthy rehearsal period during which they became good friends.

"We were all on the same page. We all knew what we were aiming for and it also meant that our input was valued," he added. "It felt like we'd all gotten to know each other to a really decent level before we rolled on the movie and I think that energy is there [on screen]."

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