Reece Shearsmith: playing autistic detective was ‘awkward, but it's not Rain Man’ (VIDEO)

(Image credit: Patrick Redmond +353872600976)

Reece Shearsmith, star of ITV’s upcoming thriller Chasing Shadows, has admitted he loves to play intense characters because he can get more out of them.

Reece, who recently starred as a wife killer in ITV drama The Widower, plays autistic detective Sean Stone in the new crime drama, about the work of a missing persons unit.

“Sean was a hard character to play because I was robbed of all the usual devices when you act a scene - looking someone in the eyes, connecting,” says Reece. “One of the traits of autism is that they rarely look people in the eye. To never look anyone in the eye was really awkward. But this is not Rain Man. It's much subtler than that.

"Sean  can  be  rude  and  blunt.  There’s  no  reason  for  him  to  do  the  niceties.  He’s  only  

interested  in  the  data  so  it  doesn’t  matter  that  he  has  to  be  sensitive  to  the  parent  

whose  child  is  missing.However  uncomfortable  it  might  make  you  feel,  you  believe  in  his  passion.  You’d want  Sean  on  side  because  he’s  got  such  a  great,  quick  mind."

Reece stars alongside Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke in the four-part series.

Former ER star Alex plays senior analyst Ruth Hattersley, "a civil servant working in the detective world," says Alex.

"Ruth is more hands on dealing with the families of the missing people, which is something Sean has no capacity for."

Former Doctor Who star Noel plays detective Carl Prior, "a very sharp, smart young detective", says Noel.

"Carl does it by the book but can work close to the line. He's the glue that brings them together. Sean is the maverick, who acts on his instincts, while Ruth is the sympathetic, empathetic one."

Watch a preview clip of Chasing Shadows here.


Chasing Shadows begins on ITV, Thursday, September 4, 9.00pm.