Hugh Dancy promotes mini-series Deadline Gallipoli and talks about life as an actor, husband and father
ACTOR Hugh Dancy, the 39-year-old Brit, receives a lesson on the Gallipoli legacy and the ins and outs of Aussie Rules.
You play British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett in the new mini-series Deadline Gallipoli, which marks the centenary of the campaign. Did it feel like you were working on something quite meaningful?
My feeling is that you have to put aside any sense that a story you’re telling is important, because as soon as you think that’s going to carry you along in some way, you’re doomed.
It doesn’t matter if it’s comedy or horror, you just have to get down to the nitty-gritty.
I’ve worked on projects before that dealt with significant moments in history, but it was certainly a learning curve when I arrived in Australia [for filming] to fully understand the significance Gallipoli has here.
I hear you attended your first AFL game while you were here?
Yes, I went to a few of them, actually.
I went with Joel [Jackson], who plays Charles Bean in the film.
He is West Australian and steeped in Aussie Rules, so we went for a pint and he drew a beer picture, dipping his finger in, to explain the rules.
I reckon, by the end of the game, I had a good grasp of it.
I don’t know if I could play it, but I was pretty good at watching it.
You’re filming Season 3 of Hannibal – of which YouTube has some fabulous blooper reels. It’s a weird sight to see people laughing next to a gruesomely murdered body. Have you become desensitised to seeing gore?
Well, the thing is, you’ve got this gruesome, bleeding corpse in front of you, but behind it are people lounging around, having a sandwich, waiting for you to finish your acting so they can get on with their job.
You wouldn’t want to be queasy at the sight of blood in your job right now…
The funny thing is, my introduction to Deadline Gallipoli came through [Australian director] Michael Rymer, who worked on Hannibal.
He told me to look at the script and said it would be a “nice palate cleanser”.
I thought he was right – it was a breezy character – then I got 20 pages in and thought, “Hmm… it’s not really light comedy, is it?”
Going back a little, I read that acting was forced on you as punishment at school – is that right?
That is true.
I was only 13, so we’re not talking about getting into a lot of trouble, but I was sent to theatre while at boarding school to keep me busy.
All I was meant to do was nail this, paint that… and then the more time I spent there, the more I liked it, and I never left.
Your parents are academics. How did they react when you told them you were sticking with acting?
I know my parents love me and have a healthy appreciation for my intellect, but I’m not under any illusions they thought I’d be an academic, put it that way!
They were supportive, but I think when they saw my work to begin with, they were horrified and thought it wouldn’t last.
Frankly, from what I remember of that work, they were justified [laughs].
Your wife, Claire Danes, stars in Homeland – how many times a day are you asked for spoilers?
Maybe people are asking me all the time and I don’t notice it.
Maybe you’re asking me right now? I always say I know nothing… it’s not true.
Claire has said she drinks a lot more tea and booze since marrying an Englishman. Have you picked up any American habits?
I wasn’t really into them until I married an American.
Booze-drinking covers all the bases; I don’t think it’s only the English, especially after spending time in Australia.
No nation holds a monopoly on that kind of habit.
I might have to have a word with my wife.
What’s next for you?
The way our lives work is that, shortly after I finish here, we’ll have a few weeks’ break and then Claire is back on Homeland.
So everything flips.
And you’re on dad duty with two-year-old Cyrus?
Exactly. That’s the idea.
I guess that works out well – having different filming schedules?
For the two of us as a couple, it’s incredibly balanced.
For us both to be working on things we love still, several years in, is remarkable.
* Deadline Gallipoli airs Sunday April 19 and Monday April 20, at 8.30pm on Showcase.
Download the Sunday Style iPad app from iTunes for Hugh’s thoughts on his dad’s accidental 15 minutes of fame
I have added an additional high quality still of Hugh Dancy in Deadline Gallipoli to our photo archive.
Screen Captures from the videos will be up very soon in our photo archive.
Foxtel’s powerful new Australian mini-series Deadline Gallipoli will have its world premiere over two nights next month – Sunday April 19 and Monday April 20, at 8.30pm EST, on showcase.
Think you’ve seen it all when it comes to Gallipoli? Think again.
In almost every other depiction of the Anzac legend, including the Nine Network’s recent Gallipoli, we see it through the eyes of the soldiers.
But in Foxtel’s amazing two-part miniseries, Deadline Gallipoli, we view war through the eyes of journalists.
That doesn’t mean long stretches of TV spent watching guys tap away on typewriters. Rather, in Deadline, we witness the horror of the campaign front the point of view of dudes without guns.
Like Nine’s Gallipoli, Deadline starts with the landing at Anzac Cove. But then this one flips back to Cairo, where a bunch of obnoxious Aussies (who knew they existed?) push and shove locals outside a burning brothel.
Journo, Charles Bean (Joel Jackson) is instructed to write an article about unruly Aussies which, as you might think, doesn’t make him very popular with the soldiers.
We also meet British journalist, Ellis Ashmead Bartlett (Hugh Dancy, above), an aristocrat who views war as an adventure.
And then there is photographer Philip Schuler (Sam Worthington), an Australian photojournalist who, like Ellis, seems to have friends in high places. But unlike the other two journos, he’s not given the green light to join them on the ships heading to Gallipoli.
Instead, he jumps on a fishing boat and finds himself at the island of Lemnos, away from the action.
Sam Worthington, also a producer on Deadline, has never acted better, especially when his character finally comes face to face with carnage. NIDA graduate, Joel’s performance is one of restraint. Bean is the socially awkward stickler for detail, but his quiet determination is fascinating to watch.
While Hugh, who some may know from the excellent drama, Hannibal, is simply incredible to watch.
In one scene, there is a confrontation between Bartlett and Bean, in which Bartlett derides Bean as a mere “diarist”.
Both are frustrated their stories are being censored by the military. And this is the story of them standing up to the might and power of the Brits.
Yes, Deadline is epic, cinematic even, but at its heart, this is a story about the little guy standing up to the bigger one. And there’s something very Australian about that.
Deadline Gallipoli airs April 19 and 20, 8.30pm on Foxtel’s showcase channel.
I have replaced three photo session images in our photo archive with higher quality versions.
I have added a new theme to the main site and one to the photo gallery. They feature images from Hugh’s issue of Essential Homme magazine. They should work well on mobile devices. If you have any issues, please let us know via our social outlets or through email. Thank you for visiting!
The latest adaptation of Hannibal is undoubtedly one of the most gruesome shows on television. Bryan Fuller manages to successfully marry stylistically beautiful sequences with brutally macabre murder scenes, and it somehow rivals the body count and blood volume of a slasher flick, but within the confines of network television.
Each episode presents a new and truly disgusting crime scene, then enables the viewer to actually witness the carnage by using Will Graham’s unique ability to recreate the killer’s actions. It’s jarring, it’s emphatic and it’s irresistibly watchable.
The killers in the Hannibal universe are not only oddly creative with their methods, they also make sure that they never miss an opportunity to demonstrate all of the various ways that the human body can bleed. Hannibal bathes the audience in blood and entrails on a weekly basis, while constantly walking a fine line between being viscerally disgusting and psychologically unbalancing.
Of course, Hannibal wouldn’t be complete without serving up some tasty, human-filled treats cunningly disguised to look delectable. And that feeling of conflict you feel when you see it is exactly what draws you back to the show.
That balance – of beauty and entertainment and the grotesque – is precisely why Hannibal is great. But sometimes, it does push the boundaries a little far…
NBC has laid out premiere dates for its tentpole summer programming, which includes a pair of reality staples and scripted dramas “Aquarius” and “Hannibal.”
The Peacock kicks off summer on Memorial Day night (May 25) with the two-hour premiere of “American Ninja Warrior,” followed the next night by the two-hour return of summer’s most popular program for the last nine years, “America’s Got Talent.” Both shows will air from 8 to 10.
“Aquarius,” which explores the cat-and-mouse game between Charles Manson and the police in the years leading up to the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders in the late 1960s, will bow on Thursday, May 28, with a special two-hour opener. It will regularly air at 9 p.m.
“Aquarius” stars David Duchovny as LAPD Sgt. Sam Hodiak, Grey Damon as young undercover cop Brian Shafe, and Gethin Anthony as Manson.
“Hannibal” returns Thursday, June 4, and will air in the 10 o’clock hour, where its scripted competition will include CBS’ “Under the Dome” starting June 25. In its second season last spring, “Hannibal” averaged a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.7 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen’s “live plus-7″ estimates.
The Thursday timeslot marks a return to the night “Hannibal” aired on during its first season. It played on Fridays in 2014.
NBC is expected to announce additional summer programming at a later time.