(PCM) Words can’t even describe how excited I was to check out “Gracepoint”, the new 10 part mysterious mini-series set to debut on FOX this October. I sat down and binge-watched the first seven episodes and without a doubt I am hooked. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this will all play out and eventually reach it’s conclusion.
The series is heavily influenced by the U.K. television series “Broadchurch” and oddly enough both “Broadchurch” and “Gracepoint” star actor David Tennant. For his role in “Broadchurch” Tennant portrays detective Alex Hardy who teams up with local detective Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) and in “Gracepoint” Tennant takes on the role of detective Emmett Carver opposite local detective Ellie Miller played by actress Anna Gunn.
While both series have a type of murder mystery as the central plot line there are many other differences between the two that can certainly make “Gracepoint” have its’ own unique viewing experience for fans of “Broadchurch”.
I was recently able to catch up with David Tennant to discuss his role in “Gracepoint”, the similarities and difference between both “Gracepoint” and “Broadchurch” and so much more!
To start off, we were sure there had to be some differences between the roles of Detective Hardy (Broadchurch) and Detective Carver (Gracepoint), to which Tennant responded “I didn’t set out to change anything particularly, I just tried to tell the story as it came up and through the script, and be as truthful and loyal to that as possible.”
“I think Hardy and Carver are very different, actually. They certainly feel very different in my bones. Obviously, they look quite similar. They are following the trail of an investigation which has many similarities, but they feel different to me. It’s probably for others to make a list of quite how obvious those differences might be. That’s not really my principal concern. I just want to tell this fantastic story as truthfully and as honestly as I can, I suppose.”
Tennant went on to say, “We’re really out to tell this story to an audience who, broadly speaking, haven’t seen it yet.”
“Broadchurch was obviously a bit of the sensation back here in the UK, and I think that’s what brought it to the attention of Fox. It got a very loyal and very enthusiastic following on BBC America. There’s a huge populist audience who haven’t seen it yet, and that I think is what we’re principally aiming at.”
Tennant is very well-known for his roles on both television and film, as well as on the stage. When asked if he had a particular favorite out of any of the genres to which he replied, “I like the fact that I get to flip between them all. That’s something that I would sort of work quite hard to preserve my ability to do that, I suppose. There are advantages and frustrations with each, I guess. In theater, you get to tell a story many times, over a number of months, and you get to investigate every possible corner of what that story might be.”
“I guess if you’re filming something, whether it’s film or television, it’s all about chasing that one moment and getting it in the can to make it live just that one time. They’re both related but very different techniques. I enjoy trying to master both of them really. I think they are quite different jobs, but the experience of working the theater I think informs working on film and television and vice versa. I feel very fortunate that I get to dabble in all these different genres. Hopefully, that’s something I’ll be able to continue to do.”
Tennant is currently filming the second season of “Broadchurch” now and we were curious what he thought about a possible season two for “Gracepoint” depending upon season one’s success. He replied “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 in a couple of weeks. 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.”
One of the defining things about “Gracepoint” is the relationship between both Detective Carver and Detective Miller (Anna Gunn). When speaking about working with Gunn, Tennant reveals “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.”
In his words Tennant describes “Gracepoint” by saying “On one level, it’s a whodunit and the sort of 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.”
With a career that is as extensive as David Tennant’s we wanted to know if there was anything he was surprised to learn about himself as an actor, especially looking at the role of Emmett Carver in “Gracepoint”. Tennant told us “That’s hard to know when you’re in it, I think. I think you sort of realize these things years down the line, actually. I look back on things I did years ago, and go that’s when I started to do that, or that’s when I figured out that sometimes you can try too hard or sometimes you can worry too much. Many actors would recognize that journey through a career is learning how to let go of various personal hang-ups.”
“I’m sure that my continuing journey is absolutely part of that, and I think you can be a better actor the more relaxed you can be, the more honest you can be, the more candid you can be, the less self-conscious you can be. I think that’s something that keeps going and I’m sure my experience in Gracepoint will contribute to that when I look back on it, with the objectivity of a decade or so.”
We also wanted to know what makes the characters of both Hardy and Carver so compelling to play. Tennant reveals “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.”
“Gracepoint” will premiere on Thursday, October 2nd at 9pm only on FOX!
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