Mad To Be Normal – A Chat With Jerome Holder, Adam Paul Harvey and Tom Richards

  Mad To Be Normal set, East Yorkshire, February 2016

As David Tennant fans wait to see his latest movie Mad To Be Normal, I had a chat with some of his co stars. 

Jerome Holder

How did you get the role?

I met Bob (Mullan), our director, in Philadelphia, in November (2015). He mentioned he was doing this project and he mentioned the cast, and that was it for me. I was sold. I said ‘I’ll do anything in it; whatever you want me to do.’ I was down for it, whatever it was.

Who do you play?

My character’s name is John Holding. In the film it’s classified as him having catatonic schizophrenia, but noone ever really knows why he’s going through what he’s going through.

He goes through electro convulsive therapy, so that sort of renders his personality void. He doesn’t really say much but he breaks through at the end, eventually.

What’s been the most interesting day of filming?

The first day on set we did the ECT scene, and watching it back, it was awful, it was horrible. It brought to light everything we were doing in this film, but that was the best day, definitely.

Jerome Holder, left, with Adam Paul Harvey (third left) and Tom Richards (second right). 

Adam Paul Harvey 

Who do you play?

I play a guy called Dr Paul Zemmell, and Paul is the right hand man to RD Laing. He’s the guy actually running the show while Laing’s going off being drunk and famous and having a really good time, and is actually the one putting in the work and face to face with all the patients, taking all the stress, without any of the fame. He’s essentially one of the only sane people there, including Laing.

Tom Richards


Tom Richards with Michael Gambon

Who do you play?

I’m Tom Richards, playing Raymond, who is suffering from drug induced psychosis, but I think he probably had kind of incipient schizophrenic tendencies anyway which have been triggered by that more than anything. He has grandiose delusions; he thinks he’s Jesus.

He’s ultimately a very gentle man who’s just very frightened basically but can as a result be intimidating; (he) acts pretty strangely in a lot of ways which people can understandably be threatened by.

What sort of research do you do for a film like this?

Well I went and spoke to a friend of mine who’s a psychiatrist about what kind of conditions result in grandiose delusions and what symptoms tend to go along with that. 

I’ve actually had some family connection with paranoid schizophrenia as well which was useful to draw on, and where various things come up, Youtube videos and that kind of thing. I remember watching some videos from Kingsley Hall, which I think we probably all have.

To be continued


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