GRACEPOINT: David Tennant Talks Accents, Anna Gunn, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

GRACEPOINT: David Tennant Talks Accents, Anna Gunn, and More

September 26, 2014 by  


Intrigued by GRACEPOINT? The new Fox event series stars Scottish actor David Tennant, who also starred in the UK original BROADCHURCH, as the lead investigator of a murder that rips through a small town. Tennant recently spoke with reporters on a conference call, and we were there to get the scoop. Read on for the actor’s thoughts on the what makes GRACEPOINT different, doing an American accent, working with Anna Gunn, and, of course, snacks.

On how he would describe the series to new viewers:

“On one level,” said Tennant, “it’s a whodunit, and the spine of that is something that I think is familiar to us from many TV shows and movies of the past. There’s a very strong whodunit in there. There’s the procedural element of cops trying to solve a case. I think what gives it an extra texture and really makes it something rather special is the way that the characters are drawn so beautifully…I think it’s very hard to watch the first episode without your heart breaking for the family, actually. That’s helped by the fact that they’re played by Michael Peña (Mark) and Virginia Kull (Beth), who both really take you on this harrowing, awful journey of two parents who lose a child. That, in itself, is about one of the worst things that human beings can imagine. It doesn’t shy away from really showing you what the true repercussions of that will be. That really follows through the whole series. It’s very honest. It’s very candid, and yet at the same time, it’s a thriller as well. It kind of grabs you and takes you on this journey, which is bewildering and thrilling and grueling and gruesome, and yet at the same time, I think, impossible to turn off. I think it’s a compelling story. I think it’s been brilliantly told. I’m just very pleased to be a part of it.”

On what makes his character, Detective Emmett Carver, so compelling:

“That’s the good writing,” according to Tennant. “It’s because he’s a character that’s so intriguingly drawn, I think. He’s got lots of secrets. That’s always intriguing from an audience’s point of view and from an acting point of view…Clearly, he’s troubled. He’s got some personal stuff going on, but he’s also hugely motivated to get justice and to find out the truth, and that’s something that I think we’re all motivated by, especially when something as grotesque as a child murder has taken place. We may not identify with [Carver], but we can understand why he does what he does. Even though he can be quite unpleasant and quite difficult at times, I think ultimately we’re all rooting for him, because he’s got the interest of right on his side.”

On the differences between Carver and his BROADCHURCH equivalent, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy:

“I didn’t set out to change anything particularly,” said Tennant, noting that most Americans haven’t seen BROADCHURCH, so he “just tried to tell the story as it came up and through the script, and be as truthful and loyal to that as possible.” Despite that, Tennant said, “I think Hardy and Carver are very different, actually. They certainly feel very different in my bones. Obviously they look quite similar. They are following the trail of an investigation which has many similarities, but they feel different to me.”

On doing an American accent:

Tennant said that he enjoys the challenge of working in other accents, adding, “I always like seeing people transforming themselves in whatever way that might be, and a different accent is part of that…Somehow it informs everything about you, I think. If you speak in a different accent, you begin to move in a slightly different way. You think in a slightly different way. I think it’s part of trying to find what makes a character, and because I’ve done a character very similar to this [on BROADCHURCH], the accent is one of the things that helps define what’s different about this incarnation of this particular character.”

On the relationship between Carver and his partner, Detective Ellie Miller (played by Anna Gunn):

“The central relationship between Carver and Ellie so defines the show really, and defines the way the story is told,” said Tennant. “I play the big city cop who gets dropped into this one-horse town, as he sees it, and is given as his deputy this local cop, who is perfectly good at her job, but from Carver’s point of view is something of a hick, who doesn’t really understand how modern policing works, and gets far too emotionally involved with everyone, and really needs to develop a healthy streak of cynicism.”

On working with Anna Gunn:

“I was very nervous,” Tennant said. “Especially having done this show before, and that relationship had worked very well with the wonderful Olivia Colman, who plays Miller in BROADCHURCH. I was nervous, of course, turning up on day one to meet Anna, because we had so much to do together that that relationship was so important to get right. Luckily, she just turned out to be a proper actress, someone who was committed to getting it right, who was open, who was easy to work with, who you could also have a laugh with, who you could throw anything at her and she would respond. That’s just the kind of professional relationship that you always hope for. It was a huge relief and then a great joy to work with her throughout the ten episodes. Everyone who knows her work knows how talented she is. I was very chuffed to get to play alongside her, and also get to know her offset as well. She’s a lovely lady and someone that I feel greatly enriched to know.”

On the possibility of a second season of GRACEPOINT:

“There’s a template there,” said Tennant, who is currently filming season two of BROADCHURCH. “Although a second season of GRACEPOINT might go off in a very different way…I just want America to take to it in a way that the UK did, because it was an extraordinary thing to be a part of. Even as objective as I can be, I think it’s a fantastic story that people will be thrilled by.”

On the process of making an American TV series compared to a British one:

“Craft service, that’s a difference,” Tennant joked. “We don’t have that in Britain. There’s more snacks on a US TV show. That, I would say, is the biggest difference. At the end of the day, everyone’s really just trying to tell the best story they possibly can, in the most elegant and compelling way. I would say that’s more similar than I would have expected before I did it.”

Will you tune in when GRACEPOINT premieres Thursday, October 2nd on Fox? What are your hopes for the show?

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