FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… BBC America’s adaptation of Michael Marshall Smith’s supernatural thriller
IT CONCERNS IMMORTALITY
Based on Michael Marshall Smith’s 2007 novel The Intruders, this BBC America original roots itself in the slow- burning intrigue of an ancient mystery; a secret society that, for thousands of years, have possessed the bodies of others in the pursuit of immortality. “There’s this idea of a larger story that’s lasted thousands of years,” director Eduardo Sanchez tells Red Alert, “but it’s really about this group of characters that are losing loved ones, but in an unconventional way – they’re being taken over by other people. That’s the basis of the drama: of losing someone mentally, not physically. It’s fascinating.”
JOHN SIMM IS A COP OUT OF HIS DEPTH
Caught up in the cogs of this grand conspiracy is Jack Whelan, ( John Simm) a haunted ex- LAPD officer whose wife Amy ( Mira Sorvino) goes missing while on a business trip in Seattle – setting him on a dangerous investigation. After playing a time- travelling cop in a coma on Life On Mars, Simm was keen to take on another “dark soul”. “He’s a real complex character,” he says. “A very dark soul, but on the surface an everyday guy. In a way, the stuff that’s happening to him is sort of reminiscent of Sam Tyler on Life On Mars: a normal guy finds himself in an extraordinary situation. There’s all sorts of things to find out about him later on which is incredibly interesting for me to play. He’s got something about him...”
AND THIS COULD BE HIS BIG american BREAK
On British screens, John Simm is a household name with the likes of The Lakes, State Of Play and Doctor Who on his CV. Intruders, however, is the first time Simm has been the lead in a US show. “Filming this side of the pond is a new thing full stop,” he admitted. “I’ve never been here. The whole thing is a new, exciting adventure for me. I always thought I’d go over [ to America] when I was invited over there. I did a film with Tim Roth, who said to me, ‘ Wait until you’re invited, because they know who you are then.’ So I did!”
IT HAS X- APPEAL
If it sounds vaguely reminiscent of The X- Files, then that could be because it’s adapted by the show’s producer Glenn Morgan, while its creepy credentials are bolstered further by the first four episodes being directed by The Blair Witch Project’s Sánchez. Intruders marks Sánchez’s first major foray into TV, allowing the director to go even deeper with his storytelling. “There’s a different kind of process with TV,” he explains. “You really do have to rely more on your principles and it’s very collaborative. With Blair Witch Project we couldn’t even see our actors most of the time – that movie taught me a lot about just letting the talent get on with it. ”
BUT IT’S NOT STRAIGHT HORROR
Despite directorial duties being shared between Sanchez and The Last Exorcism’s Daniel Stamm, those working on the show insist that Intruders is not just horror. “It has horror elements, but it’s not a straight horror show at all,” explains Sanchez. “It’s a great mix of an esoteric mystery and old- fashioned thriller. And it’s a fun show, but is also grounded in human emotions and tragedy. It has a little bit of everything. If you come to it with an open mind, you’ll really dig it.”
Intruders comes to BBC Two in October.
John Simm stars as Jack Whelan, and his wife Amy is played by Mira Sorvino.
Richard Shepherd ( James Frain): dressed to the nines.