Transcribed by Meg Scott
I particularly liked how the series brought out the differences between Robin and Strike’s lives, particularly Strike’s background. It helped humanize him. And I was wondering if that balance was important [in] making Strike appealing as a character [and] getting that balance right.
I don’t know, because it [was] often the first words you hear out of people’s mouths when things were in development. “Is this character sympathetic or not?” I’ve always felt hugely intrigued by characters that aren’t, so I wouldn’t say that was something I was so preoccupied with. I was interested in terms of it. It’s part of who he is.
I also really liked the parts where Strike talks to his prosthetic. I thought that was really interesting. I was wondering why you think he does that.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I do occasionally talk to myself. And it’s a funny thing because it’s part of him but it’s not. And it might be a completely theatrical convention to have him talking to it, but I can imagine you do form some kind of slightly unusual relationship with something that’s a part of you and not a part of you. I don’t know. It was one of those things; I thought, “I wonder if it will get cut,” after we’d shot it, but I was glad they kept it in. I always thought it was interesting.
And the coat. Like many great leads, Strike has his signature coat, and I was wondering what you thought of it and if you had any input on the costume.
Yeah, I did. I think probably 90% of the conversations we had about costume were about the coat, and the coat as I think the only thing we actually had made. I think one of the shirts might have been made at one point. But yeah, the coat was what we had made, and we tried an array of different things on. It was a sort of hybrid of several things we tried on that we liked different elements of and certain things that... I said definitely... It’s very hard to find a coat nowadays that doesn’t have a sort of slightly tailored waist. And I said, “It’s got to just be straight down. And also, the pockets have to be like that, not like that.” So yeah, I had a lot of input, and Suzanne [Cave] was very much wanting to have a dialog about that.
Well, thanks. It’s very interesting. And the books: When did you first read them? At what stage in the process?
I first read the first one... I was having to audition the next week and I read it incredibly hurriedly. I think I then read it again, slower. I think the same with the second book, and I read the third at a more leisurely pace. I think I had probably been cast by the point I read the third book, and I had a good few months to read it.
How does that change how you both read it and then approach the character, knowing that “I might play this character, and I will play this character in this book”?
It was really exciting, and a bit... You have to start pinching yourself a bit.