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Interview Extra: John Simm & Mira Sorvino discuss Intruders

TV Choice
Nick Flaca
21 October 2014

John Simm and Mira Sorvino star as Jack and Amy in Intruders

John Simm and Mira Sorvino star as Jack and Amy in Intruders

Former LA cop Jack Whelan’s world is rocked when his wife Amy goes missing from their Pacific Northwestern home shortly after displaying erratic behaviour. Meanwhile, an encounter with a stranger leaves nine-year-old Madison with nightmares, and an urge to head to Seattle. And then there’s the sinister Richard Shepherd who’s permanently silencing people to keep the secrets of Qui Reverti, a group using the bodies of others to seek immortality. But how are all these events linked?

TV Choice meets John Simm and Mira Sorvino, who play Jack and Amy Whelan, to discuss the dark and chilling eight-part series…

What themes are explored in Intruders?
Mira Sorvino There are so many important themes in the story and really it centres on what we care about most, which is love and death. Everyone is afraid of dying no matter how strong their religious faith may be. Nobody would rather die than live. The thing that matters the most is who we love and their interests, and what are our self interests involved with them, and what makes life worth living. But also how society works, and how people who have power are rather ruthless about the others that don’t concern them. Certainly this immortal group, or group seeking immortality, really don’t see ordinary people who are not in on the secret as being that meaningful. They are completely expendable.

What was it like working with Mira Sorvino, John?
John Simm When I heard she was doing it, I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ I was a huge fan. I was sat next to her at the read through and it was terrifying. She was fabulous and I met her dad [Goodfellas actor Paul Sorvino]. Wow!

And Mira what was it like working with John?
Mira Fantastic. He’s a wonderful guy and a terrific actor, and a great scene partner. I felt like we were always there for each other. We always gave a lot emotionally, we didn’t quit, and these were demanding, emotional scenes, sometimes at four in the morning.

What did you think of John’s American accent?
Mira I really liked it. In the US people are very often not born there, so there are all kind of accents that are still American. People come from all over and then they become American — so if there’s a little trace here and there of his British background, that’s fine — Jack could have a British mum. So I liked his accent a lot.

Intruders is about a secret society seeking immortality. Did it get you thinking about life and death and what happens afterwards?
John I just think you die. Who knows what happens? I may be completely wrong. I hope so, but I’m sort of a realist. I’m not religious in any way. Having said that, it was quite spooky over there. We filmed in an asylum and [co-star] Tory Kittles and I heard a ghost. We definitely did and I don’t believe in ghosts.

Mira I’m Christian so I have my religious upbringing and my religious views. In terms of the mechanism of heaven or an afterlife, I don’t really know. I don’t think anyone can actually say.

How does Amy Whelan rank among the roles that you’ve played?
Mira I don’t know that I rank my experiences. I would say that this is one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever had because of the duality of the role, and the emotional depths to which both sides of the character must go. And the concurrence of the two and keeping them separate, keeping them both strong and recognizable. As the show goes on things are far more Machiavellian and femme fatale than anything I’ve ever played. Usually I’m playing very nice. Even if I’m culturally inept or have a loud mouth, or use foul language, I’m usually a warm-hearted person. Not so much Amy. She’s not necessarily warm, but passionate, she still has a beating heart. I think it expanded my feeling of what I’m capable of doing. I didn’t know that I could play that kind of character. Honestly I wouldn’t have thought of myself for that kind of character.

So would you like to do a second series of Intruders then?
Mira I’d love it. That’s my dearest hope at this point because I think we really just started scratching the surface for where this story can take us. There are some really interesting places we could go with this, and you’ll start to see towards the end of the season how wild things can get. Next season, I can’t wait to see what’s in that noggin of Glen Morgan’s [Intruders’ writer and executive producer].

How did you enjoy filming in Vancouver?
John I loved it. It seems half empty compared to London. The bars and restaurants are sensational. The food, the people, the place itself and in 20 minutes you’re in a mountain full of snow. My family came over on the bank holiday weekend and we went to Vancouver Island to Tofino. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Mira We rented a house up there for five months and it was absolutely lovely. My children adapted beautifully — we found a terrific little local school and they all made friends. Their happiness is my number one concern. I’m always like, ‘Am I doing the right thing bringing them here?’ but I can’t be away from them for five months, nor do I think that they should be away from me for five months. I’m their mother and they are little. So they did really well and they developed all these friendships and hobbies. All the kids learnt to snowboard except for the two-year-old and they mastered it. They were amazing. They were much better than momma who was like, ‘Watch out, I’m coming down!’

John you were also filming The Village in England while making Intruders, so how did that work with family life too?
John It’s tough. They came out to Canada for two weeks in the middle and two weeks again at the end. And when I was doing The Village I got to go home at the weekend. It was fine.

What are you doing next?
John I’m filming Code Of A Killer with David Threlfall for ITV. It’s a really interesting story. I’m playing a real guy, Sir Alec Jeffereys who invented DNA finger printing by accident, and they used it to catch a serial killer in the early Eighties in Leicester. It’s an incredible story, and to play a real guy is fun. He’s on YouTube. I chose not to meet him because I’ve got loads of clips of him, and I don’t want to meet him now because he might have some different tics or something.

BBC2, Monday

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