We recently had the pleasant opportunity to sit down and chat with Gary Carr (21 Bridges, The Deuce) and Charlotte Riley (In The Heart of the Sea, Edge of Tomorrow), both starring in Prime Video’s new science fiction hit, ‘The Peripheral‘.
Catch the entire first season which is available to stream only on Prime Video.
You can listen to the interview in the video below or read it in its entirety further down. Enjoy!
Hong Le (GNN): Hi, I’m Hong. I’m with Geek News Network. It’s pleasure chatting with you both. I’ve enjoyed the show immensely so far, and I am really looking forward to the season finale. With that being said, I think this question is on the minds of a lot of fans of the novel by William Gibson and knowing that adapting any kind of literary work to the big and small screen will have its challenges, do you think the series does the novel justice in delivering on its like core themes?
Gary Carr: I think so. Yes, I think so. I know a lot of people get very attached. The thing people have to remember is that an adaptation isn’t adaptation. So, you know, we have a lot of freedom when it comes to things we want to change or introduce. And also it’s a completely different medium, you know, it’s TV versus literary. One thing I was happy about as a big fan of the novel when I read it, and I was really happy that a lot of things did remain in the series. There were a lot of things that we shot that actually didn’t make the final cut, which, at the end of the novel, I think is, is a shame. But it’s okay because hopefully we have more series to explore those things but I think, yeah, I think the creators have done a great job bringing a lot of those themes forward and having them onto the series.
Charlotte Riley: It’s really interesting. I didn’t read the book. And I often don’t read the books of things that I am, where I’m portraying somebody where the book has been adapted. Because often, it is really hard to let go of it for that reason, because it is an adaptation and you aren’t, you know, you have to be able to let go of the world of the book. And it depends because some things that I’ve done, I have read the book, and some things I haven’t, and this was something that I chose not to, mainly because I was warned that the trajectory for Aelita [Charlotte’s character] was completely different in the book than that in the TV series. But, you know, it’s interesting because I didn’t read it so I don’t know. But it’s only for the reason of for you know, maybe the point you’re trying to make is sometimes quite difficult to let go of the book when you’re watching something. Certainly I found that as an audience member, sometimes watching other things, but I think they’ve done such an amazing job to create a really immersive world. That I mean, as I only watched three episodes, I’m watching it each week with everybody else. And I just, it’s great. I have not seen the last episode so. Have you seen the last episode, Gary?
GC: No, I haven’t.
CR: I’m really proposed to watching it with everyone else tomorrow to find out what happens. Because like Gary said, We shoot things and we don’t know what you know, it’s not down. You know, that’s a whole different ballgame about how the film, they say don’t know, it’s written, or films made once when it’s written once when it’s shot, and then once when it’s edited. So it’ll be really interesting to see what it’s like where it goes, finally.
GNN: Well, yeah, I’m sure there are expectations from reading the book that would probably be placed on you when you try to portray the character. So I can definitely see your point of view on that. In that regard, did you guys have a lot of say in how your characters were told in the show? Any input?
GC: Yeah, I mean, I think, like creators, as always, like, open this, if you have any ideas, or especially when it comes to speech and dialogue. You know, if anything that you think doesn’t feel, natural or grounded, like do let us know. But I have a great deal of respect for the writing of the series, and also our execs and our directors, and I think I really trusted in their vision and I really connected with what I read with the character. And so I didn’t really feel like I had to add anything. There were things that I was saying in the previous interview that were things that were written that didn’t make the final cut, and I feel like, personally, but it’s a shame because I think it showed a different side of my character and added even more humanity, but I think they did a great job. So I think the producers were open for us to, like contribute, but I didn’t have to. I didn’t feel like I had to.
CR: I think so much of that, I mean, I don’t mean to do down what actors do but so much a lot of the hard work is in the casting. So you know if the director, the casting director, or the producers get the casting, right, I mean, they cast you because you’re already in a ballpark of what they want. That’s the whole I guess the whole point of that process. So I think then from that starting point, they were really trustworthy with us in terms of allowing us to swing for the fences. And like, try it. Like, I certainly felt like I was given freedom to try lots of different things and to find the right ballpark for where they wanted it to go. And certainly working with our incredible costume designer, she allowed, particularly for me, I was allowed to really just go bring lots of creativity to how I wanted her to look and feel, and all of those great things. But we had, yeah, we had a huge amount of freedom. I think that’s why the characters feel personally watching other people’s work. Because obviously, you as one actor, I only get certain scenes with other people. But watching everyone else in it, I think that’s why it marries so well together. Because people have been, you know, allowed to do what they needed to do. And we’ve been able to give the directors what they wanted.
GNN: That’s good. That’s good to hear. So I know that the series was filmed kind of like in the midst of the pandemic, how was that experience like filming such a big series with kind of a global pandemic, looming in the background?
GC: Well, aesthetically, strange to say, but it’s kind of perfect, because, as you know, in the series the population, is like, a lot less people in the world are in future London anyway. And so to be in central London, shooting the scenes on where it’s supposed to be empty and it actually was empty, worked really well for the series. In terms of just dynamics, with costs, and relationships and stuff like that, that was difficult, because there’s so much distance between us and the crew, so much like protocols and everything like that. And usually, on a set, I don’t know what it’s like, in other places, but in the UK, it’s usually college, like, once we wrapped. We worked so hard, and everyone just wants to like get to know each other and hang out. And, yeah, you should go for it. But we didn’t have the opportunity on this project. It’s probably a good thing. But yeah…
CR: It was challenging acting-wise, wasn’t it Gary? Because we weren’t allowed to rehearse without our masks on. Really quite weird because it makes you realize how much you need the other half of your face to like, kind of assess what the people are doing in terms of their performance. So then you actually got to shooting and you’re like, Oh, alright, okay, so I better dial that down or dial that up because you’re doing something completely different to what I thought you were doing when you had your mask on. So I found personally found that really challenging. But, you know, we love a challenge!
GNN: Of course!
GC: Yeah, that’s pretty much what all of acting is. [laughs]
GNN: Yeah, that’s true. So one of the things I did enjoy about the series beyond the sci-fi themes is that I enjoyed the action sequences, they were very well choreographed. And I was wondering, how was your experience doing those things? You know, going back to the last question with the pandemic, and how involved were you in the process?
GC: Well, me, I mean, Wilf [Gary’s character] just stands around like…[laughs]
GNN: That’s true. I think you got beat up more so than gotta do anything else.
CR: You had a lot of action sequences! Are you about to tell me you didn’t have action sequences?
GC: No, no… Wilf observed a lot of action sequences, but he doesn’t actually he didn’t actually take part or he gets beaten up. I mean, I had like one little thing. It was cool. I would love to do… I think the character could definitely, there’s room for him to do way more. But I think we had the same amount of stuff to do Charlotte in terms of action sequences.
CR: I had like one fight. I really enjoyed it. I mean, I really enjoyed it. I’m always like, “Oh, I don’t get to do the… What do you mean, it’s not safe? But I really want to do the bit work.”
GC: Yeah, yeah. I was like, I remember one woman jump up and then…
CR: And then the professionals come in at night. “But no I’m a professional, I could do that.” And they’re like “No, no, you haven’t had like 10 years of training.” And I’m like, basically, like a three-year-old wanting to do my own stunts. [laughs]
GNN: One last quick thing. If you had an opportunity to be in any sim or a peripheral of your choosing, what or who would that be?
CR: Oh, no, hang on a minute. Let’s hang on. We need to like retrace how this works. Oh my god, how does the technology work again? So I would be me but I would look like somebody else.
GNN: Exactly. Yeah.
CR: Oh my god.
GNN: Or if you don’t want to, you know, pretend to be someone else even though it is your job. If you want to be in a sim like a simulation of any sort, what would it be? What is your ideal one?
GC: Oh, for me it’s easy like I’m a massive fan of… So it doesn’t have to be the show right? It could be any game…
GNN: It could be anything you want.
GC: Yeah, I love Tekken.
GNN: Oh awesome!
GC: The Tekken series to me is like so awesome. Like the gameplay, the story is fantastic. I’d probably be Jin. That’s probably like a cop-out but I mean they’re all awesome. They’ve introduced some new characters which are freaking awesome… Katarina is like… that’s my girl.
GNN: I’m looking forward to the next Tekken, I feel ya.
GC: Oh, I should play you. What’s your… oh we can’t use names…
CR: You guys are just geeking out over here. [laughs]
GNN: I’ll have my people talk to your people.
GC: Yeah, yeah exactly okay cool cool. I’m serious I’ll just get your name, and then we’ll play.
GNN: Alright man sounds good. How about you Charlotte?
CR: I can’t even… Gary, did you have to go and like give such a cool answer I’m just going… I don’t know, like…
GC: It could be Roblox… it could be anything!
CR: Roblox?! Roblox??? Seriously Gary…
GC: Well I know you got young boys.
CR: I know, by that reckoning I’ve been plumbing Minecraft.
GC: Yeah exactly!
GNN: Yeah there you go.
CR: Actually, you know what I’m gonna be… what are they called? A golem in Minecraft. There we go. I’ll make my choice now.
GNN: There you go.
GC: Alright, there you go.
CR: There we go!
GNN: Final answer, I like it. Alright, thank you so much, guys. I appreciate your time.
GC: Excellent. Thank you. You’re the best man.