Toby Jones talks “Dad’s Army” and upcoming TV show “Wayward Pines”
Known in the Potter-verse for the voice of the beloved house-elf Dobby, Toby Jones has more than just a project or two on the horizon, two of which include the epic conclusion to Suzanne Collins’s well-loved book trilogy The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Alice in Wonderland sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. In recent interviews, Jones himself goes into detail about a couple of his other highly anticipated projects.
Talking with Digital Spy, Jones firstly describes his experience working on the movie remake of British TV sitcom Dad’s Army, which is a Potter reunion of sorts since it also stars fellow alumni Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore) and Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour).
It was fun. It was really nerve-wracking. It was one of those jobs where you go, ‘No, that’s a terrible idea, I don’t want anything to do with that, thank you very much’.
However, he soon warmed up to the idea of the remake:
They sent [Hamish McColl’s] script – it was really good. I thought it balanced honouring the old by putting them in a new situation.
And when I saw who else was cast in it, I thought, ‘That’s exactly the right kind of way to go’. It’s not comics[;] it’s more actors.
Jones will be playing Captain Mainwaring, a character previously played by Arthur Lowe. About Mainwaring and Nighy’s character Sergeant Wilson, he said,
Wilson and Mainwaring are there all the time. They’re big, big shoes to fill because like everyone else in the country, I grew up with those people. It’s very hard to separate the actors from the characters.
But at the end of the day, I went and had a chat with Bill Nighy, and the script was so good you wanted to be in those situation with those actors.
In another Digital Spy interview, Jones talks about his upcoming TV show Wayward Pines, a ten-episode supernatural series by M. Night Shyamalan, which sees a Secret Service agent go in search of two missing agents and in doing so, gets trapped in a bucolic town. Jones plays noticeably sinister character Dr. Jenkins but tries to convince the interviewer he’s anything but sinister.
When I was asked to do press for this, I said, ‘You really don’t want me to do press because anything I say about my character won’t be apparent from episode one!’ [Laughs]
I think that what you can see from character in episode one doesn’t obviously – as you would expect – tell you everything about the character.
But I think what is true about the character is that at heart, he’s a very, very kind man. And all of that stuff that seems a bit sinister about him [-] the lead character in distress and me pouring kindness on him [-] there’s something kind of sinister about that.[But] I would say – from my own point of view of the character – it’s not sinister… He’s got a lot of love to give to the world. And that’s all I can say!
When asked if he’s similar to his character in any sort of way, Jones adds,
I’ve got a lot of love to give! [Laughs] Dr Jenkins is really, really, really clever. I’m not sure I’m even a tiny bit as clever as he is. And again I can’t really say much more than that.
Because the show is one attached to filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, a plot twist would obviously be involved.
When I was told this story – it was so astonishing to me what happens, the twist in it.
Not so much the twists but the [biggest] twist… It takes the ground from under your feet, as a character, that it’s totally hidden for as long as it can be, and then you get a big reveal, and the show almost changes tack in the second half.
Before filming, M. Night Shyamalan apparently joked that some cast members didn’t want the plot twist revealed, for fear of spoilers – Jones was asked about his reaction when he found out:
I knew the twist before I took the job. And I found it totally astonishing because how to pull it off is astonishing. When the writer explained it to me, I questioned it immediately, and he had answers for everything.
When asked if he needed much persuading to take the role of Dr. Jenkins, Jones replied, saying,
Obviously it’s quite compelling when you see the actors you’re going to be working with[;] it’s fantastic. People you admire. But then this story, when it was explained to me the first time, I went, ‘That’s ridiculous’.
And then when I spoke to the writer and realised how well thought through the whole thing was, I was just astonished by it. I kind of just wanted to be part of it because I wanted to see if we could pull it off.
The show also stars big Hollywood names, such as Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, Melissa Leo, and Terrence Howard. About working with the cast, Jones said,
I’m the only British actor in the cast. I haven’t worked with any of these guys before[;] I have worked with American actors.
When I first went over there I was intimidated by it all, by the foreignness of it all, but I think that everyone[…] there’s a mutual – I mean, I’m nowhere near as experienced as any of those actors – I didn’t feel intimidated as I might have done a few years ago.
And in fact because you’ve got Night and the Fox money behind it, the production values were very similar to film[;] it’s just the pace [in production] – which is always the issue with television.
You can read more of this interview right here. You can also watch the trailer for the show just below!
Wayward Pines is due to premiere on both US and UK television on FOX at 9:00 p.m. (ET and BST), while Dad’s Army won’t be released until next year.
Are you excited for Jones’s upcoming projects? Which are you looking forward to the most? Let us know below with your comments.