FanBolt had the fantastic opportunity to participate in a press call with the one and only David Tennant about his upcoming show on Fox. Gracepoint is the American remake of Tennant’s hit BBC show, Broadchurch. It sounds like the names have changed (Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver instead of DI Alec Hardy), but the heart of the show remains the same. Check out the interview highlights below!
For people who are completely new to the series, how would you describe it and what can you tease about what’s coming up?
It’s hard to describe it completely comprehensively, because it’s many things I think. On one level, it’s a whodunit and the spine of that is something that I think is familiar to us from many TV shows and movies of the past. There’s a very strong whodunit in there. There’s the procedural element of cops trying to solve a case.
I think what gives it an extra texture and really makes it something rather special is the way that the characters are drawn so beautifully. There’s so much texture going on, that we get to understand the lives of all the different characters that get drawn into this and the impact of the event; the death of Danny Solano, which starts the whole ball running, which is the inciting incident in the show. It’s not just another TV cop show death. We really understand the impact of that, and we really understand what that would mean to a small community such as Gracepoint.
The repercussions of that are followed through. I think it’s very hard to watch the first episode without your heart breaking for the family, actually. That’s helped by the fact that they’re played by Michael Pena and Virginia Kull, who both really take you on this harrowing, awful journey of two parents who lose a child. That, in itself, is about one of the worst things that human beings can imagine.
It doesn’t shy away from really showing you what the true repercussions of that will be. That really follows through the whole series. It’s very honest. It’s very candid, and yet at the same time, it’s a thriller as well. It just takes you on the journey. It kind of grabs you and takes you on this journey, which is a bewildering and thrilling and grueling and gruesome, and yet, at the same time, I think impossible to turn off. I think it’s a compelling story. I think it’s been brilliantly told. I’m just very pleased to be a part of it.
From your point of view, what makes Carver and Hardy so compelling?
To me, it’s because he’s a character that’s so intriguingly drawn, I think. He’s got lots of secrets. That’s always intriguing from an audience’s point of view and from an acting point of view. Certainly at the start of Gracepoint, we’ve got an awful lot to learn about who this man is, and why he is motivated in a way that he is motivated. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that throughout Gracepoint we don’t entirely learn the answers to all Carver’s particular questions. Maybe we will if we ever get a Season 2.
We’re certainly learning a few of Hardy’s secrets in Broadchurch, too, which I’m filming at the moment. Who knows what we’ll ultimately learn about Carver. Clearly, he’s troubled. He’s got some personal stuff going on, but he’s also hugely motivated to get justice and to find out the truth, and that’s something that I think we’re all motivated by, especially when something as grotesque as a child murder has taken place.
We may not identify with Hardy, but we can understand why he does what he does. Even though he can be quite unpleasant and quite difficult at times, I think ultimately we’re all rooting for him, because he’s got the interest of right on his side.
Could you talk about working with Anna Gunn, and the relationship that your two characters have, as compared to the relationship that Hardy and Miller had in the original?
The central relationship between Carver and Ellie so defines the show really, and defines the way the story is told. Essentially, the bones of it are the same as Broadchurch. I play the big city cop who gets dropped into this one horse town, as he sees it, and is given, as his deputy, this rather local cop, who is perfectly good at her job, but from Carver’s point of view is something of a hick, who doesn’t really understand how modern policing works, and gets far too emotionally involved with everyone, and really needs to develop a healthy streak of cynicism.
That relationship, as it was in Broadchurch, is very much one of the central structures to Gracepoint. A lot of that is defined by the relationship you can build up as actors. I was very nervous, especially having done this show before, and that relationship and worked very well with the wonderful Olivia Colman, who plays Miller in Broadchurch. I was nervous, of course, turning up on day one to meet Anna, because we had so much to do together, that that relationship was so important to get right.
Luckily, she just turned out to be a proper actress, someone who was committed to getting it right, who was open, who was easy to work with, who you could also have a laugh with, who you could throw anything at her and she would respond. That’s just the kind of relationship, the kind of professional relationship that you always hope for.
It was a huge relief and then a great joy to work with her throughout the ten episodes. Everyone who knows her work knows how talented she is. I was very chuffed to get to play alongside and also get to know her offset as well. She’s a lovely lady and someone that I feel greatly enriched to know.
Now, you’re filming the second series for Broadchurch. Is there a feeling that if Gracepoint does really well on Fox, that they’ll be another season of Gracepoint?
Yes, there’s always an eye for that, isn’t there, with almost everything on television. We have to wait and see how the audience responds to it. Broadchurch is going to a second season, so there’s no reason why Gracepoint shouldn’t. There’s a template there; although, a second season of Gracepoint might go off in a very different way. Who knows?
All these things are to be decided. We’re all very excited about Gracepoint premiering. I just want America to take to it in a way that the UK did, because it was an extraordinary thing to be a part of. Even as objective as I can be, I think it’s a fantastic story that people will be thrilled by.
Gracepoint premieres Thursday, October 2nd at 9/8c on Fox!
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