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‘Animal Kingdom’ Star Shawn Hatosy on Following in Ben Mendelsohn’s Footsteps (Video)

”We really tried to find a balance where an audience can almost be sympathetic towards Pope,“ TNT actor tells TheWrap’s Stuart Brazell

The cast of TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” had the unique challenge of interpreting characters that had recently been played — to great acclaim — by other actors.

The series is based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, but the very natures of the different mediums necessitated some changes.

“That’s the trick with [my character] Pope, who in the movie was beautifully played by Ben Mendelsohn,” Shawn Hatosy told TheWrap’s Stuart Brazell. “He was much darker throughout. But it was only a two-hour movie. For 10 hours, we really tried to find a balance where an audience can almost be sympathetic towards Pope. Put that with the danger and unpredictability, that’s the trick.”

If Pope is dark, he probably has good reason, having grown up in a dysfunctional crime family with the tough and slightly inappropriate Janine “Smurf” Cody (Ellen Barkin) as the matriarch.

“His history is rich, with having Smurf as a mother, with trauma and a very odd sexual example, so he’s a product of that,” he said. “But the best approach is just finding what to latch in on, the emotional truth for each thing.”

“Animal Kingdom” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on TNT, and has already been renewed for a second season.