The first season of the Netflix crime drama Ozark may be over, but the show’s villain, Jacob Snell, lives on in the minds of viewers everywhere. That’s because Peter Mullan, who plays Snell, was mesmerizing and terrifying in his role as the violent crime boss who wreaks havoc on protagonist Marty Byrde and his family. Ozark Star Peter Mullan on Playing Jacob Snell the Show’s Villain

Peter Mullan on Playing Jacob Snell, the Show’s Villain

Ozark’s Peter Mullan on Playing Jacob Snell, the Show’s Villain Posted on October 4, 2018 by Amy Glynn If you had to pick one person to represent each season of Ozark, Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde would most likely represent spring, Laura Linney’s Wendy Byrde would be summer, and Sofia Hublitz’s Charlotte Byrde would be fall. This leaves winter up for grabs (even though most seasons in Missouri are more like fall or spring), which leads me to Peter Mullan’s character Jacob Snell.

Who is Jacob Snell?

Jacob is a devious and manipulative man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He is a liar and a cheat who manipulates people into doing his bidding. His motivations are unclear but he seems to take pleasure in manipulating people and getting what he wants.

How did you prepare for the role?

In order to prepare for this role, I watched videos of real-life kidnappers to see how they speak and behaved. I also read up on a case that closely resembled my character. The most important thing I did was get into the mindset of a man who doesn’t care about anything or anyone except himself and his family.

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What was it like working with Jason Bateman?

It was great. We had a good time together and he played me off against his character in a lot of ways. I have to say that I owe him a lot because he made me look pretty good.

A lot of what we did was improvisation which is always fun for an actor, but it takes a long time to get all the different angles and get it down pat so that you can just look at each other and go for it.

What was the most challenging thing about playing Jacob Snell?

The most challenging thing about playing Jacob was to humanize him enough so you can understand why he did what he did. I find that a lot of bad guys in movies are just bad guys because they’re supposed to be bad guys. Whereas this guy was a really good man who had his world upended by forces out of his control and he kind of lost it.

The most challenging thing about playing Jacob was to humanize him enough so you can understand why he did what he did.

What do you think viewers will take away from your performance?

I think viewers will take away that there are two sides to every story and just because you think you know someone doesn’t mean you do. The show also reminds us that if we’re not careful, we can get caught up in our own biases and miss what’s going on right in front of us.

How does it feel to play a character like Jacob?

Jacob Snell is based on a real person, a gangster called Skeeter Malcolm who used to live in Arkansas in places like Branson. He was involved with one of America’s most famous crime families and carried out some of their executions. I think he died in prison or ended up there. We shot in Vancouver and then went to Utah to shoot it in all these beautiful locations — which were only beautiful because they weren’t anywhere near where we shot Boardwalk Empire!

You’ve played some brutal bad guys in your career. What makes Snell different?

I think he’s a very calm individual. He is patient. He is in control of his emotions and situations. I suppose that’s why he’s been so successful in what he does – his trade is something that isn’t about ranting and raving like a lot of other characters you get to play as an actor. It was great for me because I didn’t have to do all of that and yet still convey how dangerous and powerful he is as a character within these two seasons of Ozark. Plus, obviously working with some amazing actors helped too – Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner were all just incredible to work with over these last couple years making these 10 episodes.

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I see you’re a big fan of Breaking Bad. What were you watching for inspiration?

That’s actually a great question. I didn’t watch any TV for inspiration—I guess it was more just reading scripts. [Breaking Bad creator] Vince Gilligan has a specific voice in his writing that resonated with me from day one. When he emailed to say that he had a part for me in an upcoming show, I immediately knew I wanted to work with him and not even read anything else. But yes, watching Breaking Bad led to my love of Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan’s vision—and hopefully that comes across too in Ozark . Let’s talk about Jacob Snell.

Ozark Star Peter Mullan on Playing Jacob Snell the Shows Villain
Ozark Star Peter Mullan on Playing Jacob Snell the Show’s Villain

There are lots of similarities between Montana and Arkansas. Which part of filming most reminded you of home?

Obviously I have a lot of connections with Montana, but I love Arkansas too. I have family in Hot Springs and it has one of my favorite restaurants in America – Doe’s Eat Place. The Ozarks are very beautiful and a little bit different to what we get up there but having been to them a few times before and knowing something about that area of America made me feel comfortable. I was so glad they were letting me do more than just play another bad guy who is into drugs! [laughs] That’s such an old thing for actors like me. They don’t seem to trust us unless we’re playing drug dealers or something!

Is there a particularly memorable location you got to visit while filming in Atlanta?

I grew up in Glasgow. It’s a pretty gritty place but it has its own brand of charm and beauty. I miss that energy but I don’t miss my 20s there. So I was quite surprised by how much it felt like home when we were shooting Ozark in Atlanta. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly and there are plenty of things to do outside of work if you want to stay out of trouble. The crew even got me involved in a little golfing action down at Druid Hills Golf Club. As someone who can’t walk down to his local course back home without being recognized by half my neighbors, it was a refreshing change of pace! Not that anyone noticed me playing… until they did notice!

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Who is Jacob Snell in Ozark?

The Breaking Bad alum joined Ozark in season 2 as local crime boss Jacob Snell and appears to be having a blast playing such a dark character. In addition to hosting a creepy dinner party with his wife Darlene (Lisa Emery) and young son Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), he’s also running an interstate heroin business from his secluded cabin—or trying to, at least.

Are Darlene and Jacob Snell related?

There’s been a lot of talk about whether your character, Jacob Snell (aka The Swede), is related to Darlene Snell. What do you think?

Was Ash Jacob and Darlene’s son?

Series creator Chris Mundy tells Entertainment Weekly that there was a strong possibility of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s grandson appearing in season 2. Here’s what he had to say about it

What happens to Jacob Snell in Ozark?

TV Guide caught up with showrunner Chris Mundy to get all of your burning questions about season 2 answered. The explosive premiere episode concludes with a brutal murder and a poignant death scene for Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), and things are only going to get more intense in episode 2. So what happens next? Read on for scoop about Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), Lisa Longabaugh (Sissy Spacek) and much more.

Why did Darlene shoot Frank Jr?

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about her role in Ozark , actress Julia Garner said she believes Darlene is a victim of circumstance. Darlene grew up without a father, who abandoned her and her mother when she was young.

Who is Agent Petty in Ozark?

Agent Petty is an FBI investigator played by Jason Butler Harner. Agent Petty’s personality is deceptive and slippery – you never know if he’s friend or foe. He has a magnetic charisma that comes from being in play, never knowing whom he might be with next or for how long. The unpredictability of his movement makes him dangerous.

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