Last night I went along to a special screening of episode five of The Missing (review coming later tonight), held at a posh hotel in the middle of London. It’s always a treat to see television dramas on the big screen, and to also see some of the talent connected to them talk about their work afterwards. In this case, Harry and Jack Williams and Tchéky Karyo were in attendance, so I’ve transcribed some of the things they said.
In the bar afterwards, I managed to have a long conversation with the Williams brothers, who were lovely and extremely friendly. They certainly weren’t dismissing the idea of a third series, and when I pleaded with them to give Julien Baptiste his own spin-off series – based in Europe, maybe a prequel – Jack smiled mischievously, raised an eyebrow and said: ‘tell us more!’ Make of that what you will.
The brothers also admitted that they were terrible control freaks and often read too much Twitter (and often wish they had included this or that depending on what people have been saying), but the main gist of the evening was that they were happy with the ending, which answers all the questions the series has posed.
Anyway, here’s some of the key quotes of the evening…
Tchéky Karyo on returning for a second series:
Yes. Yes, I was excited. I was so proud that they had so much confidence in this French actor and to give them this mission.
Tchéky Karyo on the audience:
I feel there’s a real interactivity with the audience. In this one all the reactions immediately on Twitter, there are theories here and theories there. I feel like they are becoming my colleagues and they are investigating as much as I am in the show! I hope there is still some skeletons in the closet for (one, two) three… four, five, six.
Jack Williams on whether it’s a whodunit, and writing:
It’s horrible. You spend 10 hours a day staring at each other, and you come up with: ‘maybe he’s got dementia’. We always try and think about expectation and what someone watching the show might expect or want to see. People speculate on who it will be and why, but it felt interesting to us to ask what if that’s not what it’s all about? What if it’s a bit bigger than that? Who it is is not always a question that’s particularly thrilling to answer.
Tchéky Karyo on working two in timelines:
I was discovering time after time. I was so much immersed in it and trying to capture the material. I was concerned by the changes and what the vibrations would be after I Julien had the tumor. I was just excited to meet all the new characters. It was demanding and demanding a lot, but it’s a gift to play a character like this. We had the supervisor give us a sheet with the whole chronology written down for us so we wouldn’t get lost!
Harry Williams on Abigail Hardingham’s performance:
She was so amazing. She was just haunting and weird and compelling. That hard thing when you’re doing all that spooky stuff is to make them interesting and real and three-dimensional. That’s something she really managed to do.
Harry Williams on working together as brothers:
We have different roles and we each bring something new to the table. But we are interchangeable and it’s ever-changing. We don’t really fight. We used to be in a band where we used to argue constantly, but we don’t really argue… we often say to each other: if you don’t like this idea come up with a better one. We can be quite brutal and horrible and shut each other down, but it’s just a process of asking questions and making sure it’s as good as it can be before we send it out to anyone. So far it’s worked ok.
Harry Williams on a possible third series:
I think with this second one we didn’t want to do it in a cynical way. We only did it when we had the story to tell. So it would have to be very different again and saying something new. Never say never. We haven’t had the idea yet, but it would have to be very different again.
Tchéky Karyo on whether he takes the tough storylines home with him:
I relate to this character because for me as an actor it’s fantastic to play somebody of my age, with the role that I went through. I feel I have more wisdom and learn to listen more to people: there are a lot of qualities I love there. There is also the fatigue and different kind of energies that make me question myself. I feel like I’m 30 but I’m 63. I look ahead at this road and ask what is left, even though anybody can die one day after the other. But to go through this kind of emotion, and to go through what he’s going through with this disease, I have to go back and sleep and eat well and do push-ups. It’s questioning me also. I have children. I have a four-year-old daughter and I have a little baby of seven months, so I am a young father and I am also a grandfather. So yes, it’s questioning. That’s why I love the character. In life, you have to question. It’s necessary to have a vision of what’s around you and society and ask what it means to be a man and a woman today. That’s why these stories are fantastic. You go home with more desire to be alive and be creative. And I’m sure there are lots of skeletons in this character’s closet still. There are so many things to say with Julien! There was Hercule Poirot, and now we have Julien Baptiste!
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