London Spy star Ben Whishaw was at Los Angeles Television Critics event via satellite from Sydney, Australia. This was, yesterday, Friday afternoon in LA but for Ben it was very early on a Saturday morning!
Ben Whishaw starred a few years back in BBC’s The Hour about a 1950s era television news show. Now he is perhaps best known as Q in the latest two James Bond movies including the recent Spectre.
London Spy was introduced by BBC America as a gorgeous new production from best-selling author Tom Rob Smith. It premieres on BBC America on January 21st 2016, part love story, part thriller.
As UK viewers already know, it tells the tale of a chance romance between Danny and Alex, two very different men. After Alex goes missing, he’s revealed as a spy, plunging Danny, an innocent, young hedonist, into a world he’s ill-equipped to deal with.
What attracted you to this role in London Spy?
I just loved the script, and what I loved about them was that they were very idiosyncratic. They didn’t feel like they’d been made by a committee. It felt like a very personal vision, and it was an incredibly exciting thing to read.
My agent said, “It’s like a, kind of, dark Alice in Wonderland.” Every episode, he’s – Danny – is meeting a new set of people who very rarely are exactly what they appear to be.
So, yeah, it was the quality of the writing that attracted me.
Is there any more pressure knowing something like this was written for you?
I didn’t feel any more pressure. Actually, it was lovely to be, to some extent, involved in seeing the story… the writing kind of grow.
Because episodes 4 and 5 I hadn’t read when I accepted the project, and they really did change and shift, and it was interesting to see that process.
How did you approach the role?
It was a very instinctive thing, I suppose, because you just had to put yourself in the situation that the character was in, and the situations are very extreme…
He’s trying to survive. He’s trying to find the truth. He is overwhelmed at times, but he doesn’t give up. I really felt for him and respected him and admired him. So that helped.
Can you talk about working with Jim Broadbent?
Oh, I love Jim. I’ve actually worked with him once before on a film, [Cloud Atlas]. So it was wonderful to be reunited with him.
I could just look at that face forever. It’s just the most magical thing, isn’t it?
London Spy Soundbyte
Ben Whishaw tells more on what it was like working with Jim Broadbent…