Charlie Cooper Interview: See How They Run

The whodunnit genre is getting a slightly meta twist with See How They Run. The film revolves around a group of actors in 1950s West End of London who find themselves targeted by an unknown killer in the lead-up to selling the rights to their play as a film.

Sam Rockwell leads the cast of See How They Run alongside Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, David Oyelowo, Charlie Cooper, Shirley Henderson, Pippa Bennett-Warner, and Pearl Chanda.


Ahead of the film’s arrival, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with star Charlie Cooper to discuss See How They Run, blending the serious tone of the whodunnit genre with the film’s comedic elements, keeping spoilers to himself, and more.

Charlie Cooper Talks See How They Run

Screen Rant: I’m excited to talk about See How They Run. I got to catch it yesterday, and it was quite a blast. What about it really caught your attention?

Charlie Cooper: Well, so much of it. I think if you strip it all back, it’s the fact it’s a murder mystery. I’ve grown up watching them on TV, and to be part of one is so exciting. The fact that it’s a comedy, which is obviously what I’ve sort of done before, and which I love doing. Combining both was a rare opportunity, and it just worked so well together. You see a lot of the straightforward, serious whodunnits, but coming at it from a funny angle is just so refreshing. And the script was brilliant, of course.

What is it like trying to find the right balance between the serious whodunnit tone and the more comedic elements of the script?

Charlie Cooper: For Mark, who is the writer, you have the certain beats you have to hit for it to be an effective, satisfying murder mystery. You have to hit those beats. And it’s got to be really well-plotted and structured, and you can’t give the game away too early. Not only are you doing that, but you have to make it funny—which is really, really tricky. But he does it so well where it’s pitched in. A murder mystery is a great vehicle to meet various interesting characters that come and go and an array of characters as well. So, it sort of works perfectly for comedy, especially character comedy. Yeah, it was a lot of fun to do.

Your character specifically, without diving into spoilers, is quite interesting throughout the story. What was it like getting to the heart of him as he went through this really turbulent time?

Charlie Cooper: Yeah, the character I play is a bumbling theater usher from the west country who’s sort of an avid theater fan, but his way in is being the usher. He’s not a character you really see center stage, but he’s often lurking in the wings and stuff, which is quite nice. It was a character that I didn’t feel was a million miles away from myself, but you definitely go on a journey with him; a lot is revealed. It’s sort of what’s lovely about the film, which is another added layer of the heartfelt stuff. There’s a lot of that, it’s a really well-rounded film to watch.

As a fan of murder mysteries, when you were reading the script, what was your initial reaction to figuring out who did it? Did you see it coming while you were reading it, or were you surprised when you got there?

Charlie Cooper: Well, do you know what? I knew who’d done it before I read the script, which is a shame. So, I didn’t have that feeling. But it was also nice sort of working backwards and seeing how you got to that moment, so that was interesting, nonetheless.

Who was your favorite performer to work alongside throughout this amazing ensemble that you had in this film?

Charlie Cooper: It’s an incredible cast. I’m a huge fan of Adrien Brody, so to do a scene with him was quite something, and seeing how he works and his methods. Because you’re just so used to seeing him through a screen, but when you’re there in a room, and he’s looking you in the eyes, it’s just the most surreal experience. He’s a phenomenal actor and brought so much to that part.

And that’s the thing, I think that’s what everyone did, because it’s quite easy for something like this to become an ensemble of caricatures that don’t have much depth. But everyone brought themselves to those roles, which is really lovely, and it definitely made it feel more real.

Promoting a murder mystery, how hard is it for you to hold in the spoilers from everyone, especially as Sam turns towards the camera at the end of the film and asks viewers not to?

Charlie Cooper: Oh, my God, it’s really hard. Even telling friends and family, you just want to be the one that spoils it. But, that’s the thing, I think people watching it—there’s some people that love to try and work out straight away who it is, but I think the best thing about this is just enjoying the ride and going with it. Because there’s lots of twists and turns and pleasant surprises. Sometimes you can get caught up and try to figure out who it is too soon, but yeah, I recommend you just enjoy the story and go with it.

See How They Run Synopsis

In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after the film’s Hollywood director is murdered. When world-weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and eager rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) take on the case, the two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril.

See How They Run hits theaters on September 16.

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