Live For­ever

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… BBC Amer­ica’s adap­ta­tion of Michael Mar­shall Smith’s su­per­nat­u­ral thriller

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

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.

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