On August 31, audiences will meet Special Agent Charlie Rakes, an eyebrow-less sadist of the highest order. Rakes is the villain in John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era shoot ‘em up, Lawless (formerly The Wettest County and co-starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Mia Wasikowska), and is embodied by Guy Pearce with ice-cold glee. It’s a terrifying performance, with the 44-year-old giving lifeblood to an instantly iconic screen villain.
Do you relish going off the rails the way you did in Lawless?
Yeah, to me, any character is off the rails. Strange, obscure characters like Charlie Rakes in Lawless are great to play. Also, because I’m working with John Hillcoat so the more unusual that you’re able to get away with, he loves that. And I think he likes what I bring to a character because when I work with John, I tend to bring lots of strange ideas with me.
What did you bring to that character?
There was a vanity that was written about him, and because of that vanity that existed on the page, I really wanted it to be unusual and spooky.
It was almost like he was from another world than the rest of the characters.
Yeah, and the interesting thing about that which John talks about, is the coming together of the Western and the gangster movie, and that period in American history where cities and country life are crossing over, particularly in the criminal world
Fear Will Find You