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Harry Melling reveals strange inspiration for his Edgar Allan Poe

Harry Melling has revealed he spent a lot of time watching the work of silent cinema legend Buster Keaton before taking on the role of Edgar Allan Poe in Netflix thriller The Pale Blue Eye.

The 33-year-old said he's not sure this research had a direct and obvious impact on his performance, but it definitely informed aspects of the character.

Melling plays a fictionalised young version of Poe in the movie, teaming up with Christian Bale's veteran detective Landor to investigate a murder at his secluded military academy.

The Pale Blue Eye is available to stream on Netflix UK from 6 January.

Video transcript

TOM BEASLEY: And operating in this unique sort of genre, what were the films you were watching to kind of get yourself into the mood for this?

CHRISTIAN BALE: That's interesting you ask that-- none. I didn't watch any films for it. I just read the book a lot, and talked with Scott, and, obviously, read and reread the script, and saw a number of different drafts. But yeah, that's a good question. I don't believe I ever watched any films in preparation.

HARRY MELLING: Mm-hmm. The only film that I kind of weirdly came back to-- and there was no-- I don't think it really impacted my performance whatsoever, to be honest, but I watched a lot of Buster Keaton, because I just thought maybe there's something in terms of his strangeness that might be useful. But that was it. I saw that, and I thought, you know what? Maybe just go back to the script. But there was something interesting in terms of how expressive he is.

CHRISTIAN BALE: That's really interesting you said. I didn't know you'd done that.

HARRY MELLING: Yeah, yeah.

CHRISTIAN BALE: But now that you're saying it, I'm going, ah, yes!

HARRY MELLING: OK. [LAUGHS] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

CHRISTIAN BALE: No, you nailed that. Yeah, well done.

HARRY MELLING: Yeah.

CHRISTIAN BALE: Nice, one mate.

HARRY MELLING: [LAUGHS]