Interview with Ben Tavassoli (Prisoner Louis Costa)

Category: Press Pack Article

How was it to be back for season two of Screw?

I love it, because I made such good friends. I was looking forward to Louis’s storyline – when they told me what he’d be doing I fell in love with it, and the part is a lot bigger so it was about getting my head down and working hard.

What kind of state is Louis in at the start of the second series?

You see a completely different side to him in season two, he's very conflicted and complex. There's a lot going on in his head and it’s a battle between him and his morals throughout the season. When we first see him again, he’s receiving a text from someone outside, saying that Rose (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) is back. It plays out from there.

Would he prefer Rose to be out of the prison for both their sakes?

It would make his life a lot easier. Louis doesn't want to be a part of this anymore, but he’s caught up in gang life so it’s about whether he cooperates with Rose or abides by the gang rules. That's his conflict throughout the season.

Has there been a shift in the power dynamic between the two of them?

Yeah, it's constantly changing. You don't know if they're in it together or against each other, all the way through until the end. Even when I was in Louis's headspace, I couldn't figure it out because he doesn't know what to do. It’s a lot of fun to play.

How have you enjoyed working with Jamie-Lee over the two series?

I’ve loved it. We didn't spend much time together for season one because of Covid, but we became really good mates in season two, hanging out offset and becoming very close.

Which prisoners does he get involved with this series?

Louis works closely with a new prisoner who comes in from the outside called Tyler Reeks (Leo Gregory). He becomes a pivotal part of the storyline and offers a big twist in the first couple of episodes. Leo became a very good mate of mine and we shared a cell together, so that was great.

How does Louis respond to the rumours that there's an undercover cop in the prison?

He’s a bit alarmed that it might involve him. He must start thinking really fast, making decisions about who he’s going to team up with and what he's going to do.

Does he have a reason to get out, something to live for?

We know he’s got a boy on the outside and you see a very vulnerable, almost boyish side to him this series as he starts to divulge a bit more about his son and what he means to Louis. People are going to start feeling sorry for him and empathising with him. He doesn't want to be part of this anymore.

What is it like being banged up on the set?

It's crazy. Sometimes to get into character I would shut myself up in the cell and sit on my bunk bed. You feel the pressure starting to eat you up inside – it cuts deep to your core. It made me want to make no bad decisions in my life, put it that way! But there is a funny side to it: I'll be walking through the prison and walk into a cell and there’s one of the lighting department, playing Candy Crush or something…

How has working on Screw impacted your views on prison and the penal system?

It has opened my eyes a lot, maybe more to the light-hearted or comical stuff, because Rob Williams has seen or can relate to everything he’s writing about. The weirdly joyful side took me by surprise.

What was the most challenging aspect of making this second series?

Going through all the emotions with Louis because he goes through such a whirlwind. He’s constantly changing, so trying to keep up with that was a big challenge. I had to work my arse off, but I loved it.

Can you pick out a personal highlight?

The last scene of the series, and you'll see why. It was the most challenging but rewarding scene I've ever filmed in my career. The audience should be excited about this one.