English film actor and director Tim Roth, known for his roles in Quentin Tarantino’s cult movies — Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) — has not seen Sanjay Gupta’s remake of the former film, Kaante. But now that he knows about it, he plans on catching it. "I wasn’t even aware that Bollywood had adapted the movie," he says, surprised. "But now that I know, I’d love to see it."
Roth, some of whose early work included the drama series, East End, based on a novel by Farukh Dhondy, says he has been trying to put a project together in India for quite some time now. "I’d love to go to India," he says. "Harold Pinter wrote an adaptation of King Lear for me, and I wanted to shoot it in remote areas of India. I couldn’t raise the money for that project, but it’s something I would like to pursue soon."
Until that happens, Roth will continue shooting for the hit American TV crime drama series, Lie To Me, that recently made its debut in India. In the series, Roth plays Dr Cal Lightman, a lie detector expert and psychologist, who helps investigations by reading criminals’ facial expressions and body language.
When asked whether he feels acting also depends on the ability of lying well, he says, "Actors do a lot of what the science of lying is based on instinctively. So many micro-expressions we use in the show are evidence of good performances."
But that isn’t the only reason he took on the show: “The science was interesting and when I looked into it, it seems fairly accurate. You can tell many different stories using this one idea.”
To prepare for his role, Roth met Dr Paul Ekman, the psychologist on whom the character is based. And he admits that he was “uncomfortable” being under the scanner. “I like the guy very much, but you just feel like you’re being studied, which, of course, is not the case at all,” he says. “In fact, in the beginning, it felt like having a critic on the set.”
Though Roth interacted with Ekman extensively, he never tried to learn about the science to use it to his own advantage. “I didn’t want to have any of that knowledge,” he says. “It’s a policy that I apply for everything — you don’t take your work home.”
The actor, who will next be seen on the big screen in Pete Smalls Is Dead, doesn’t reveal when he’s had to lie in his career, but does say: “I suppose most actors are pretty good at that. In my experience, you generally say anything to get a job. I think it’s something we all have in common. And that’s why this character’s crazy, interesting and engaging to watch.”
Catch Lie To Me on Star World every Monday to Thursday at 10 pm.