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From his true story a real-life charity was formed called To Write Love on Her Arms, which has a big following of depressed American teenagers," says Friend.
In order to research the role Friend got himself locked up in solitary confinement in a prison in Florida and attended NA and AA recovery meetings all over London.
Later in the same year he played Pfeiffer's lover in Stephen Frears' film, Chéri."I only met her the day before we started filming.
Again, it was equally daunting because the next day we were pretty much naked and in bed together. She can still do that thing with her tongue by the way." Since then he has The Kid and Lullaby for Pi – as well as 5 Days of War last year.
I'd come out of the shower in my towel, and there would be the cameraman in my kitchen, making coffee.
Rupert Friend asks to meet me at a farm café in Dalston, east London, near to where he lives.
There are chickens on the roof laying eggs, which are used in the sandwiches.
"I went to recovery meeting rooms in venues like church halls – I found the honesty very inspiring," he says.
"I phoned people in recovery who I knew before deciding to do this.
I think you can spot tired and jaded artists quite quickly."Brimstone and Treacle was written for television and banned by the BBC in 1976 for its provocative content, before Potter adapted it for the stage.