'I Came By' cast say Netflix thriller is political 'mirror to society' (exclusive)

·Contributor
·4-min read

Watch: Hugh Bonneville and Percelle Ascott on political edge of I Came By

The new Netflix thriller I Came By serves as "a mirror to society" with a political message baked into its twists and turns, according to the cast and filmmaker behind the story.

In the film, directed by Under the Shadow filmmaker Babak Anvari, Ascott and George MacKay portray a pair of politically-motivated graffiti artists who break into the homes of wealthy Londoners and daub the titular phrase on their walls.

Read more: I Came By shows a dark side to Hugh Bonneville

Their commitment to direct activism leads to trouble when MacKay's character breaks into the home of a highly respected retired judge played by Hugh Bonneville and unwittingly uncovers a very dark secret.

"I think the politics in it, if indeed there are any, is for the audience to to take away," Bonneville told Yahoo Entertainment UK ahead of the film's release.

Hugh Bonneville hides a dark secret in Netflix thriller I Came By. (Netflix)
Hugh Bonneville hides a dark secret in Netflix thriller I Came By. (Netflix)

The Downton Abbey star said: "It's landing at a time when, certainly in Britain and arguably all around the world, there is this sense of crisis — of the haves and the have-nots and how do you express your dissatisfaction?

"Hopefully it should be through the ballot box — rather than by invading your neighbour — through the democratic process. But sometimes people feel so disenfranchised that they don't know what else to do.

Read more: Hugh Bonneville wouldn't want a film crew in his home

"I think Babak does ask those questions in this. The establishment wants to keep the status quo as it is. And, in our case, the, the young, disaffected lads want to express their dissatisfaction, but how do they change the dynamic?

"But then, as we say, Babak then takes you off on a completely unexpected journey."

Percelle Ascott says I Came By serves as a 'mirror to society'. (Netflix)
Percelle Ascott says I Came By serves as a 'mirror to society'. (Netflix)

Ascott said the political edges of Anvari's movie — which the filmmaker first conceived two decades ago — were a key factor in his decision to sign on and join the project.

"The film is a mirror to society, isn't it? There's themes I guess we're tackling, whether it's class and race and stuff like that, that it's important to talk about, you know," he said.

Read more: Arnold Schwarzenegger's kids hated him being a politician

Ascott added: "This film is an experience. It's a rollercoaster, you know, it's a thriller. But, at the same time, it's got this real substance and message at the heart of it, which is, for all of us making films, it's an important part."

For Anvari himself, it has been a long journey to the making of I Came By, which he initially believed would be his first feature when he came up with the idea 20 years ago.

Babak Anvari directs Hugh Bonneville on the London set of I Came By. (Netflix)
Babak Anvari directs Hugh Bonneville on the London set of I Came By. (Netflix)

He said: "I was in my early twenties at university when the original idea came to me, based around the conversations I had with my friends and that disillusionment at the time.

"But it's a weird thing that still, two decades later, we're dealing with similar issues. Certain things have got better and certain things got worse, so it's interesting. In some ways, it is a very timely film, even though the seed of it came to me 20 years ago."

Read more: Armando Iannucci on avoiding politics in David Copperfield

Anvari added that it's even more thrilling to be telling the story now, even given the spotlight such movies are afforded in an increasingly febrile and divisive political landscape.

He said: "It was actually exciting, especially because it's obviously nested within a entertaining thriller, hopefully.

Percelle Ascott and George MacKay both grew up in London and loved filming I Came By in neighbourhoods they alrady knew intimately. (Netflix)
Percelle Ascott and George MacKay both grew up in London and loved filming I Came By in neighbourhoods they alrady knew intimately. (Netflix)

"For me, it's really important to not only entertain and tell an engaging story, but to tackle certain serious themes.

"Having that central theme, which is how the institutions can fail us and then what are our responsibilities as individuals when they do, that was like the heartbeat of it. And like you said, it's even more relevant now. So that was part of the excitement."

Read more: New movies and TV on Netflix UK in August 2022

Alongside Bonneville, MacKay and Ascott, the cast of I Came By also includes Line of Duty star Kelly Macdonald as the mother of MacKay's character.

I Came By is in UK cinemas now and arrives on Netflix from 31 August.

Watch: Trailer for Netflix thriller I Came By