Nick Robinson (‘Maid’) on complexities of domestic violence: ‘There don’t have to be bruises for it to be abuse’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“The first thing that I was interested in exploring with Sean was just having the opportunity to play such a different character from roles that I’ve played in the past,” says Nick Robinson about what drew him to “Maid,” the Netflix limited series in which he plays an addict who emotionally abuses his partner Alex (Margaret Qualley) until she leaves with their daughter to try to make a better life. It’s a more sinister role than we’ve seen him play before in projects like “The Kings of Summer,” “Love, Simon,” and “A Teacher.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

When he read the script by creator Molly Smith Metzler, adapted from the memoir by Stephanie Land, he was struck by the “incredible writing” and how “her picture of Sean was very clear. It just made sense to me. I felt like I had known people sort of like this guy.” He’s a “multi-dimensional character and I think it was important right from the jump to make sure that he didn’t fall into any kind of stereotypes.” So while our sympathies are always with Alex as she tries to extricate herself from their relationship, we also develop an understanding of some of the traumas behind his toxic behavior.

Ultimately, Robinson hopes the relationship between Sean and Alex gives people “a better sense of domestic violence and all the shades of it, and the ways in which … there don’t have to be bruises in order for it to be abuse.” The role took the actor to some dark places, but it helped that he was reuniting with Qualley after previously working with her in the films “Native Son” and “Strange But True.” “It’s nice to be able to come into a show and feel like you already know people, and trust people, and feel kind of protected and supported in that way.”

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