Paul: Does he have his lines memorized?
Hiddleston: Hugh Laurie is the most diligent, most serious, most professional actor you could possibly work with. Woe betide the actor who is not ready to work with Hugh. He’s a true pro. Hugh has his lines memorized, sometimes lines that he’s written himself.
Paul: That’s like Hugh (Dancy) on “The Path.” I’ve never seen him with the set of sides. Which, for me, I mean I come prepared, but it’s nice to have that as a security blanket.
Paul: But I look at Hugh… I really look up to him. I mean, he’s such a phenomenal actor, but he’s never once looked at a page of sides.
Hiddleston: It’s interesting. I always find there are some actors who come with the script completely internalized and never have to look at it, and they come very ready with ideas to pitch about staging. And other actors who are more fluid. And there’s no one way that’s better. I think some people like to feel their way through it and be spontaneous, and other people like to have thought about it before.
Paul: Right. This is a big difference that I see with TV and film. Film, the script tends to, at least in my experience, tends to somewhat stay the same, in terms of the dialogue and the story. And with TV, I’m getting pages the night before, with the scenes being completely changed. I like having my little security blanket.
Variety Emmy Studio – Drama Contenders
TV thesps share insights about their characters and themselves inside Variety’s Emmy Studio.
Hugh Dancy – “The Path”
“The trick was letting the lines sink in and then sink in again, deeper and deeper, so you’re speaking from a place of real conviction. So when he talks about transparency or overcoming the challenges you face, that comes from a really specific, personal place for him. And that means I can deliver those lines with something behind them.” – Source
To celebrate the success of The Path season one on Hulu, we are excited to present this very special edition of ARTICLE Issue Six, with lots of additional bonus material for followers of the British actor.
This Limited Edition contains the newsstand edition of our Winter 2015 issue, which features a dramatic black-and-white cover shot of Hugh Dancy, and includes Stuart Husband’s original feature-length interview. The magazine is accompanied by a separate, brand new 8-page poster booklet, with exclusive unreleased images from our shoot at Tempelhof in Berlin, Germany.
This Deluxe Edition comes in a brand new book jacket, and also contains an A2-size full colour, double-sided fold-out poster of Dancy.
The price for this special edition is £11.00 GBP, with freepostage for UK orders and greatly reduced international shipping rates: £3.00 GBP for European orders and £5.00 GBP for all other destinations worldwide. Order now, and you will receive this Deluxe Edition delivered straight to your door when it becomes available mid-July.
How excited are you for this DELUXE edition! We’re jumping for joy at the opportunity to add it to our collection, what about you? This is a must have for all Fannibals and followers of “The Light”, all of you Hughvians out there.
Side note: Look at that cover! And remember our review? It really is amazing quality and you do not want to miss out on this one!
Illustration by Tom Bachtell Article by Tad Friend For the April 18, 2016 Issue.
As he shed his tweed jacket, Hugh Dancy looked around Sushi Azabu, a basement nook in Tribeca, and said, “It feels like a railway car—if you can imagine Humphrey Bogart eating sushi, it’d be here.” He laughed. “I actually can’t imagine him eating sushi, though. Maybe he’d use some for a black eye: ‘If there’s no steak available, give me the halibut.’ ”
Dancy, the lithe and elfin forty-year-old English actor, is particularly keen on uni, the sea urchin’s gonads. Dabbing chopsticks into a pink curl of them, Dancy said, “My three-year-old son”—from his marriage to Claire Danes—“has a fascination with germs, because, he says, ‘they’re disgusting and beautiful.’ I suppose the same is true of me and uni.” He held up a morsel of the unctuous goo. “They look like the tongues of dehydrated infants. So eating them is a faith-based decision.”
In “The Path,” a drama that débuted on Hulu last month, Dancy plays Cal Roberts, the leader of a cult called the Meyerist Movement. Its devotees are vegetarians who drive blue Priuses, use ayahuasca, and plan to live on as pure light after the coming apocalypse. “Cal is someone you side with against your better judgment,” Dancy explained. “An alcoholic who’s probably been essentially celibate for a decade, someone with serious control issues, an awful black hole of a person. He is not ‘Netflix and chill’—or, I should say, ‘Hulu and chill.’ ” Seething, lustful, and lonely, Cal lies and schemes to foster the movement, because, since he was five, it’s fostered him.
Meyerists reprogram themselves using electrical devices and advance through increasingly secretive levels of initiation. They shun apostates, even their own children. Cal’s global ambitions for Meyerism, which he took over from its founder, Steven Meyer, make it further reminiscent of Scientology, which David Miscavige transformed after he inherited it from L. Ron Hubbard. Dancy resists the comparison, saying, “One person’s cult is another person’s religion.” He observed that “every religion that expanded from a niche movement grew because its founder was followed by a leader who was pragmatic and understood how to spread the word. In Christianity, it was St. Paul; in Mormonism, it was Brigham Young.”
After the actor had polished off an assembly line of mackerel, tuna, and shad, praising their various mouthfeels, the waiter suggested a few exotic specialties, including conger eel. “Conger eel!” Dancy cried. “My granddad once caught a conger eel in a lobster pot, and we ate it. It was disgusting.”
“You have to boil it, because the blood is actually poisonous.”
“That would explain it.” When the eel appeared, the actor admired its presentation: “We just had great wagon-wheel chunks of it, which we gave to the cat.” He nimbly whisked wasabi into his soy sauce. “Who lived.”
Dancy had recently returned from the show’s première, in Los Angeles, where he was treated rather like a cult leader. “People seemed to expect me to be commanding, but I distrust certainty, and I don’t particularly want anyone to follow me,” he said. “It was challenging that the very first line I had to speak on camera was”—his voice thrummed with assurance—“ ‘Ma’am, we’re going to take care of your baby.’ ” When he read the pilot script and saw that Cal was “written as quote-unquote charismatic, that made the flags go up,” he went on. “Because it’s one of the ways writers signal executives that the leading man will fit their definition of a star. With a woman, it’s ‘She’s this and this and that—and she’s really rockin’ that dress.’ With a man, it’s charisma. Or he has ‘a wry grin’—he can’t be too open, he can’t have a wide grin, but he’s seen it all—or there’s a squint involved, which evokes a heroic cynicism. The idea is actually to blunt reactions, to say, ‘Don’t worry, this guy will be fairly comatose—a blank canvas that people can project their ideas of cool onto.’ ”
Dancy ordered more nigiri. “But,” he continued, “it was clear that Cal actually thinks about what it means to be a charismatic leader—he listens to self-help tapes, he’s taking Charisma 101—and that, because he has internalized Meyerism, he speaks with natural conviction. Jessica Goldberg, the show’s creator, wrote me a letter making it plain that she wanted to do the good version of the show. For her, more important than all the television meshugaas that’s in there—the F.B.I. investigation, the power struggle, the love triangle—is the fascinating question of faith. So you can go with that, rather than feeling you have to lather on a layer of personal charisma you’ve had in reserve.”
The baby yellowtail arrived, and Dancy raised his chopsticks in delight: “Carrying on the theme of eating children! Source
Goldberg said her series about conflicted couple (Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan) who get swept up in a cult led by an ambitious leader (Hugh Dancy) “was not based on Scientology. They’re not the only movement, there are over 4,000 in the world.” Goldberg spawned the series after going through a divorce and suffering the loss of a parent. “I was interested in how people deal with these types of crisis,” said the creator.
“Those who are in a cult take their beliefs very seriously, no one cynically lures you in,” said Dancy. Paul mentioned that Goldberg literally created a bible for the show’s cult, down to “incredible details” which were laid out in pamphlets on the set. Paul quipped how it’s often under a pop guise that a cult will spring up; that anyone could take the show’s cult, the Meyerist Movement, seriously if they wanted. Paul came to the show soon after Breaking Bad. “There were two scripts on my desk, Michelle was attached to one of them. I breezed through the first two episodes on my cell phone.”
The three-time Emmy-winning actor added, “I grew up in a very religious household. By father was a southern Baptist minister. I was always fascinated by religious movements and how they provide answers.” – Source
After three intense seasons battling Mads Mikkelsen’s grand guignol gourmand on Hannibal, Hugh Dancy could have been forgiven for choosing something bright and breezy for his next project.
However, while the 40-year old Brit did pick something closer to the New York home he shares with fellow actor Claire Danes, the subject matter isn’t exactly “light”.
The Path is a 10-part tale focusing on the Meyerist Movement, a religious cult with a distinct set of principals and beliefs. Stoke-on-Trent born Dancy plays Cal, the group’s unofficial leader, but a man whose ambition is at odds with the existing leadership.
Dancy says that apart from the talent already signed up to the show (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, True Detective’s Michelle Monaghan) and the creative minds behind it (Parenthood’s Jessica Goldberg and Jason Katims), what attracted him to the project was its ambiguity.
“That’s what keeps an actor interested. What I loved about this was that while it’s about a cult and has some machiavellian characters, they took the character’s belief system totally seriously and looked at what is like to have your beliefs crumble.”
Helping Dancy get into a character was “an introduction to Meyerism” the showrunners had created and the physical setting – a compound in upstate New York.
“Before we started shooting, we spent a day up there just getting to know one another and while you were sitting there on the grass in the sun it became immediately apparent why somebody might want to be a part of something like this.”
However, he admits that after Hannibal, he wasn’t exactly looking at jumping into just anything.
“If I was going to do another TV show I had to be certain about it. Hannibal was sometimes a tough day at work, but I went home delighted. What I was doing felt real and fun and serious. While I think it was about the relationship between two guys (Dancy’s Will Graham and Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter), it was also about death.
“Although The Path is also dark, it’s not really about death. That might be a fine distinction, but it made me think it was different water enough to throw myself into. Plus, it certainly didn’t hurt that the job was close to home and fitted around the family’s schedule.”
And so is Cal an easy character to leave behind after a long day’s shoot then? “I certainly hope so.”
Dancy says he also enjoyed being drip-fed information about the plot and where his character was headed.
“You have to expect not to know to a certain degree, because it is television, but I had a general sense of where they wanted to go with things. We had all 10 episodes by the time we started shooting episode six and I had some really helpful conversations with Jessica in particular.
“And what I found occasionally when speaking with other actors was that they had been speaking to her and had information about where their character was going. Slowly but surely, by digging around, we all managed to get a picture of where we were going.”
When asked if Cal and The Path is something Dancy would like to return to, he doesn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Obviously everybody hopes we get to do more of this. Cal could end up being like the pope, or in prison, and I’m cool with either of those things.”
The Path is now screening on Lightbox – stuff.co.nz
posted on april 08, 2016 over at nytimes.com
by Hugh Dancy
For his bookshop and website One Grand Books, the editor Aaron Hicklin asked people to name the 10 books they’d take with them if they were marooned on a desert island. The next in the series is the actor Hugh Dancy, who shares his list exclusively with T.
“The Pickwick Papers,” Charles Dickens
When I need to read something that I know will fill my imagination, lift my spirits and also be effortless, I go to Dickens, and this is the most preposterously, comically overflowing of them all.
“Women in Love,” D.H. Lawrence
Nobody has ever written like Lawrence (except bad imitators, and nothing’s more embarrassing than knockoff Lawrence. Sometimes he’s pretty embarrassing, too). This novel transports you.
“Sabbath’s Theater,” Philip Roth
The most anarchic, provocative, lewd and brilliant Roth novel. It feels like it’s on fire.
“Lucky Jim,” Kingsley Amis
I was recommended this when I was a teenager trying to figure out how to start reading “serious” books. Great recommendation, because on the surface it’s nothing of the sort, but it is brilliant.
“My Struggle,” Karl Ove Knausgaard
In part because reading the first two gave me the unsettling sensation of knowing what it’s like to be someone else better than I know what it’s like to be me, and in part because including it might force me to read the remaining four.
“Tristram Shandy,” Laurence Sterne
You could spend years on the first chapter alone, in fact people have. But in a good way. There’s so much going on and so much reinvention it’s bewildering.
“The Big Sleep,” Raymond Chandler
Raymond Chandler is one of life’s great pleasures, ideally in a bath with a drink to hand.
“The Left Hand of Darkness,” Ursula K. Le Guin
Forced to pick a single sci-fi novel, I’ll go with this because, in ways even beyond most sci-fi, it is so far ahead of its time. You’re left believing entirely in the worlds she’s imagined, including a better version of this one.
“The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology,” P.G. Wodehouse
I know that on and off I’ll be reading this until I die.
“The Tremor of Forgery,” Patricia Highsmith
I could pick almost any of her novels — “Deep Water” would be another. This one is typically masterful in the way it measures out information and suggestion, laced with a growing sense of dread. And a great title.
Cal Robertson comes more fully into view in “A Homecoming,” the first new episode of The Path following last week’s double-decker premiere. If you thought being in a cult warped Cal’s brain, here’s another fact for your diagnosis: His mother is a sad, charmless, drunk hermit played by Kathleen Turner. We sat down with actor Hugh Dancy, who plays Increasingly Complicated Cal, to talk about the episode.
“It’s a show about intimacy to a degree. The people on the show are seeking connection and truth and openness, though they’re not always succeeding.”
You are from the U.K., but I’ve only seen you in shows like Hannibal and The Path where you use an American accent. How did you work out your American accent?
Doing it for a living, I’ve gotten increasingly comfortable with it. I grew up in England, and we were heavily exposed to American culture as you can imagine, so it wasn’t such a huge leap.
And you’re married to an American [Claire Danes].
Yes. I think I was playing an American when we met.
The Path has a much more naturalistic sensibility than Hannibal. Does The Path use a smaller crew?
It’s not necessarily a smaller crew, but the shows operate much differently with the lighting and camera setups. On The Path, we’re using three cameras almost all the time with fairly minimal lighting. On Hannibal, the lighting — or, in some cases, lack of lighting — was much more stylized.
The Path feels like a much more intimate, personal show.
It’s a show about intimacy to a degree. The people on the show are seeking connection and truth and openness, though they’re not always succeeding.
And it’s a show about a family in the way that Parenthood and Friday Night Lights — Jason Katims’ two previous shows — were oriented around families.
That was noticeably absent in Hannibal. [Laughs.]
You are in Peru at the beginning of this episode, so you know that Dr. Stephen Meyer [Keir Dullea] is in a coma, and you tell a few fibs about that. Do you see that as Cal papering over some doubts or being an opportunist?
Cal knew as the season started that Stephen was potentially on his deathbed, so he’s convening at the beginning of this episode there with some of the 10R elders. They have gathered to hear the doctor say that we’ve run out of hope, but that’s not news to them. Cal is not somebody who ever had ambitions of leading the group and he is still a believer, but his original beliefs had Steve leading this group forever. The movement has saved his life, and he needs to bridge to a second generation. To do that he has to keep a lot of secrets, and he sees that as a selfless thing. As the season goes on, that will increasingly dovetail with his own drive and ambition.
The movement is not based on thinking Dr. Meyer is divine, right?
Not exactly. Steve told us that he would provide the 13 rungs that would be The Ladder to progress up until we get to The Garden, and the whole movement is predicated on that. The idea that he’s going to die from mundane causes before he finishes that is a major fault line. It undercuts everything we’ve understood.
“You need a fierce and vulnerable actress to play [Brenda Roberts], and [Kathleen Turner] has both of those things in spades. There’s no vanity about it.”
What is so disturbing to Eddie [Aaron Paul] about seeing Dr. Meyer in that condition?
Sarah [Michelle Monaghan] is talking to Mary [Emma Greenwell] in the first episode and says that Steve is off in Peru completing the final rungs and that he “lives in the light.” That is the line that has been propagated — that he’s reached this level of purity where he’s bathed in light and completing the rungs for their spiritual salvation.
So Eddie feels like he’s been sold some BS about that?
I don’t think he knows what he feels. When you live inside a belief system like that, just seeing Steve like that is not enough for him. He doesn’t think everything he’s been told is bullshit. It takes a while to process that.
Kathleen Turner plays your mother in this episode. Is this the first time you’ve worked with her?
I had not worked with her, but I had shared a train ride with her once. [Laughs.]
So did you see her on set before she was dressed out as the drunk mom?
We shot all of those scenes over a couple of days, so we didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time. You need a fierce and vulnerable actress to play that kind of part, and she has both of those things in spades. There’s no vanity about it.
Does she want you to take that drink because she wants you to give her something — to do something you don’t want to do — or was it more about getting you to admit something about yourself?
She knows that I have the same weakness that she does, and she’s using that, but mostly she’s trying to pull me back into her life. It infuriates her that I’ve chosen this other parent and this other life over her, and she knows that I’m just a drunk like her.
She explains some of your backstory that you went into the movement fairly young and not of her doing.
That’s right. The backstory is that my father was — like her — an alcoholic, but he extricated himself from that and took me to join this nascent movement. After a certain point, he got out and I was old enough to stick around.
So Steve Meyer then becomes your father figure.
Yes, he was very much my father figure.
“The real thing [Cal is] committing to is loneliness.”
There’s more discussion in this episode than in the first two about the various rankings in the movement. Cal is a 10R. Who are the other 10Rs?
Steve has written 10 of the 13 rungs, so 10R — 10 rungs — is as high as you can progress. Cal is 10R, the two elders who are with Cal at the beginning are 10R, and Silas is 10R.
Do we have enough evidence at this point to know why you would be a 10R and be so much younger than the others?
Cal grew up in the movement and essentially became Steve’s adoptive son. Cal and Sarah and Eddie were young stars in the movement, but Cal dropped away everything in his life that wasn’t related to the movement.
What are Sarah and Eddie’s rank?
Sarah is an 8R. When we see Eddie at the beginning of the series — when he’s on hallucinogens, by the way — he’s in the process of obtaining 6R. We talk more as the season goes on about achieving the rungs. There’s a book for each rung, and there are tasks for each rung. The writers’ room has a clear idea about that underlying structure, but you don’t necessarily see a lot of that.
You’re coming from Hannibal, which had a deep mythology, to another show with a deep mythology. Have you thought much about that?
In the case of Hannibal, the mythology was more the richness of the source material — the Thomas Harris novels — where here the mythology is the underpinnings. I think you could say the same of any good piece of writing. If you’re in a good family drama you’re only going to see the surface, but the actors need to know much more detail about the intricacies and dynamics of the family. I think that’s a quality of good storytelling.
You seem to downplay Cal’s messianic ambitions a bit. Do you think there’s not much evidence of that ambition?
When we shot the scene toward the end of this episode when I come back from Peru and break the news to her in a not-completely-honest way that Steve is working on the final rungs and invite her to recognize that I’ll be a leader, my reading of that was that he was acting out of the shock of the experience of his mother and coming back to where he began and fully committing to that.
The commitment that he’s making is ambitious on paper — he’s committing to the idea of being a leader, and that ambition will grow — but the real thing he’s committing to is loneliness. He’s signing off on never being able to share the truth of what is happening with Steve and everything that means to him, including the fact that he must have some greater doubts about the whole belief system.
Is that the source of the mixed signals he sends Mary?
I think the source of that is that he’s really drawn to her.
Is the implication that he should be alone?
He knows that the nature of his attraction to Mary is not a very elevated one. [Laughs.] Since his teens, Cal has basically been celibate. He’s got big self-control issues, and he has probably been very self-denying. He has also put Sarah on a pedestal and made her a symbol of purity and effortless virtue within the movement. He’s fighting the other side of his nature with Mary. – Source