By A. Charles
LACMA, Miracle Mile, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/30/2014 – Last night, as part of the Film Independent Screening Series, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosted premiere screenings of GRACEPOINT, a new 10-episode mystery event series for Fox based on the BBC’s successful “Broadchurch.” Present were the series’ stars including: DAVID TENNANT (Broadchurch, Dr. Who), ANNA GUNN (Breaking Bad), MICHAEL PENA (End of Watch), and JACKI WEAVER (Animal Kingdom).
Here David Tennant resumes his role as the detective trying to defeat demons of his past failures by now finding the killer of a young boy, found dead on the beach of a small coastal town. Fans of the original “Broadchurch” will be treated to new characters, new suspects and a new killer – and hopefully forgive their favorite struggling anti-hero his newly acquired American accent.
Creator/ EP, CHRIS CHIBNALL, with roots in British theater, admits this may have informed the intensity of his characters and pace of the plot. “I think working in theater you’re always working from character… and you’re always writing for actors. You’re always looking for a great scene… to turn the characters one more way round. Certainly we have longer scenes and we let the scenes breathe.”
“Each character is very clearly and properly and thoroughly defined, that attracts actors,” said David Tennant who plays, Det. Emmett Carver, the surely man in charge of the investigation. He’s “a difficult character to love. I make no apology for that. He’s quite tricky, taciturn, unpleasant to be around I think…but what he’s got is integrity and a moral strength to be doing what he does and be fighting the way he fights for it. That ultimately redeems him…(laughing) I forgive him, but maybe I’ve got to.”
James Strong who directed the pilot and several other episodes of GRACEPOINT also directed Broadchurch episodes. “We found some fantastic people, Michael Slovis who had worked with Anna before on Breaking Bad,” said Executive Producer/Show runner Anya Epstein. But, she also spoke about her desire as a female showrunner to hire more women directors if the series gets picked up for a second season. “We tried to hire Michelle MacLaren who was busy and there are frustratingly so many fewer to choose from, but it’s very important to me, especially on a show like this with strong female leads,” like Anna.
We already know Anna Gunn as a strong mother from BREAKING BAD and here she reprises the role in a different way. “I have two girls…and I identified with [Ellie] trying to juggle it all, be really good at your job, a good friend, a good wife, a good mother. I was lucky enough to talk to a female police officer and a female FBI agent who was a mother and I really mined them for information…I don’t know how I would do it…they had to compartmentalize basically, in order to get through the day.” Which is something Anna’s character Ellie cannot do. The line between work and home is blurred, as Ellie’s son Tom becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of his best friend. “It’s just so close to home for [Ellie],” said Anna, “The imperative for her to find out who is responsible is something that burns in her soul.”
Jack Irvine who plays Ellie’s son Tom, says his favorite day on set was his first day because he got to meet everyone especially Anna, “Breaking Bad was my favorite show.” But it was also challenging because he had to jump right in with no real rehearsals “five minutes later I was doing a scene with her. It was hard, I was a little star struck at first, but I had to pull through and it worked pretty well.”
Sarah-Jane Potts plays Gemma Fisher, “the cheerful outsider who tries to get on with things…She’s quite funny and very feisty. There’s an interesting storyline she has on her own with Michael Pena’s character.” Gemma is an outsider and “they needed a foreigner… she doesn’t look like, talk like or act like them, so she’s an interesting dynamic.”
GRACEPOINT premieres this Thursday, Oct. 2 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX