GRAND MATERIALS With His Dark Materials returning for season two, the cast reveals this instalment is Equally epic
English actress Ruth Wilson says she felt like a schoolgirl on the set of her fantasy show His Dark Materials, ?lmed mostly at Wolf Studios Wales in Cardiff.
“They are huge, epic sound phases and whole cities were built on the rear,” marvels the Golden Globe-winning talent (envisioned ). “It’s a giant playground for us to perform all our scenes in and every day I would go on set and think,’What have they built to us today? ”’
Based on Philip Pullman’s bestselling trilogy of novels, the creation is put in a multi-world reality that comprises a realm where humans have animal companions called dæmons, which are signals of the human spirit. In their separate quests to get a mysterious substance called Dust, Asriel murdered Roger and Coulter has killed other children.
“Lyra was an outgoing person who reliable easily when we ?rst fulfilled her,” explains Keen. “But now she’s shut off in her shell and yells no-one, until she meets Will and he brings her back into the world.”
Weeks before COVID-19 interrupted ?lming and producers were forced to abandon the stand-alone eighth episode, which would have showcased period two’s only appearance of McAvoy’s Asriel, Foxtel magazine paid a trip to the Cardiff studios, linking manufacturing designer and executive producer Joel Collins to a tour of what remained of the initial 200-plus sets.
Some are easy, for instance, full-size hot-air balloon sitting at the corner of a single sound stage, piloted again this year by aeronaut Lee Scoresby, performed with Lin-Manuel Miranda — the founder and star of famous Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton.
But easily the most stunning of those elaborate surroundings — an entire town of homes, stores and cobblestoned streets named Cittàgazze — stands on a hilltop, surrounded by green display so that CGI can afterwards be used to bring the sea on one side along with the jungle on the other.
As we eat lunch in the Mediterranean-style town square, some of the puppeteers arrive to show off the dæmons they’re tasked with controlling, all of which are substituted via visual effects in the ?nal product.
“I’d never done fantasy before and the 1 thing I was really fearful about was admits Ruth. “At that stage, we introduced in puppeteers and that I was so grateful as it’s a living, breathing thing you’re working together and Brian [Fisher], who puppeteers my gold fighter, helped me work out the psychology, since Coulter’s poisonous relationship with her fighter is your key to that she is.
“It was happy working with him because, every scene, I’d be like,’What are you going to do? Where are you going to be?’ And we would map out how we would move around a room together and sometimes he’d be right next to me, crawling about on the ?oor! They have written more of the interaction to the next season due to the relationship we’d already developed.”
CONNECTION IS Essential
While we chat to Fleabag celebrity Scott, he shows the person who has been picked to voice his character’s osprey dæmon, Sayan Kötör:”The relationship all the characters have on their dæmons is about companionship, friendship and loyalty,
So that it’s wonderful that I could have this happen with [Fleabag creator and star] Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a person I think like that about in my real life.”
The show’s youthful star Keen — that the daughter of British actor Will Keen and Spanish actress, theatre director and writer María Fernández Ache — made her acting debut at age nine together with her dad in British-Spanish show
The Refugees. And while her 2017 breakthrough watched her play mutant clone Laura opposite Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine at Logan, the now-15-year- old Teen Vogue cover girl admits being the hero of this story is fresh for her.
“For centuries, all the stories and each the plays and each one the books that were written, all of them focus on the man as the protagonist and the person needing rescuing is obviously a woman,” Keen laments.
“Then Philip wrote these amazing books where the hero isn’t just female, but a young woman and, for me, what’s more interesting than that is that typically all the heroines we get today, their electricity is all sexual. But because Lyra is a child, her power is actually only her own inner strength and nothing to do with her sexuality, so that was actually enjoyable to play.”
Keen, who resides in Spain when she is not working, is filled with excitement as she shows us around the set and explains her co-stars and family have kept her grounded.
“My mom is my acting coach and together with me on place 24/7, and she gives me notes and assists me, and I learn so much just seeing the way Ruth and James along with the other adults operate and handle the recognition side,” she admits.
“Fame-wise, I’m also helped by the fact people simply don’t expect to see me in Spain, so every day I hear people say,’Oh my god, she looks like the girl from His Dark Materials!’ The other dayI was in a Spanish cafe and I had to pretend when someone came up and asked, and was like,’No, my name is Isabel. Goodbye! ”’
RIVALS IN THEIR SIGHTS
As for whether Lyra and co workers have what it takes to defeat their formidable enemies when the new instalment will get underway, Ruth is remaining tight-lipped.
“We investigate a great deal of themes about the origins of why Mrs Coulter might be who she is and the compromises which she is made to get where she’s as a female in a man’s world,” she moans. “In the ?rst season, Lyra enters her world and that is the huge turning point and type of screws up her hands. Now we see Coulter continue into a real summit of devastation and exactly what she does by the end of year two, all I can say is that it is fairly horri?c.”