Tup­pence Mid­dle­ton

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - BY COLIN VICK­ERY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

The Im­i­ta­tion Jupiter As­cend­ing The Lady Van­ishes Sense8.

War She’s of­ten por­trayed as a vil­lain but to me she is some­one that has a lot of fun. She is clever and knows how to get what she wants. She hurts a lot of peo­ple along the way and can be very ma­nip­u­la­tive, but I felt there had to be some­thing charm­ing about her that so­ci­ety fell in love with.

The scene of He­lene bed­ding her brother Ana­tole (Cal­lum Turner) has caused a storm of con­tro­versy in the UK. I al­ways knew that (con­tro­versy) was go­ing to arise. I think peo­ple are maybe too shocked by it. It is def­i­nitely hinted at in the book.

War and Peace has been filmed a num­ber of times. How, as an ac­tor, did you go about cre­at­ing your own ver­sion of He­lene? I made sure I didn’t watch any of the pre­vi­ous ver­sions. An­drew’s writ­ing is so bril­liant that half the work was done for me. A lot of it was just play­ing on the day. The di­rec­tor, Tom Harper ( Peaky Blin­ders), was very free in let­ting peo­ple do what they wanted to do.

War and Peace has a mighty im­pres­sive cast in­clud­ing Gil­lian An­der­son ( The XFiles), Paul Dano ( 12 Years a Slave) and Jim Broad­bent ( Harry Pot­ter). Was that daunting? When you’re work­ing with such a tal­ented cast it re­ally makes you up your game. A lot of my scenes are with Paul, who has been in the busi­ness a long time and has his own (act­ing) method.

A lot of peo­ple will reckon there is no way War and Peace can be trimmed to six hour-long episodes. There is a rea­son peo­ple haven’t read War and Peace. There are a lot of char­ac­ters and sto­ry­lines and fam­i­lies to get your head around. What An­drew is very good at is adapt­ing it so that it is di­gestible but still keep­ing very nu­anced char­ac­ters and the main sto­ry­lines.

WAR AND PEACE, BBC FIRST, SUN­DAY, 8.30PM

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