& Mr nor­rell Ed­die Marsan

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Jonathan strange & mr norrell -

Can only tele­vi­sion do jus­tice to a book like this?

You can’t tell this story in two hours. I can un­der­stand why New Line tried to do it [ as a film] and couldn’t. My wife was a make- up artist on The Golden Compass, and I’d have loved to have seen that done like this. TV’s changed in the last five years. TV now has courage and balls, it can cre­ate mas­sive sto­ries. We’re talk­ing about com­plex char­ac­ters and am­bi­tion, be­cause we’ve all been sit­ting watch­ing box sets. The char­ac­ter of Nor­rell is sim­i­lar to Wal­ter White in Break­ing Bad be­cause it’s a man who’s try­ing to put it all back in the bot­tle. He’s try­ing to con­trol the world through be­ing an an­a­lyt­i­cal chemist, and Nor­rell’s an an­a­lyt­i­cal ma­gi­cian. What do you think is the main theme?

It’s about hu­man cre­ativ­ity and the sub­con­scious and how peo­ple deal with it. Nor­rell is very anal and cere­bral, and Strange is very vis­ceral. The anal­ogy we use is it’s like the two char­ac­ters in Amadeus [ Salieri and Mozart]. One has to strain like crazy to find a drop of knowl­edge, and one can just wake up one morn­ing and can do it. And it’s about lone­li­ness; it’s about be­long­ing. Nor­rell is a pow­er­ful man, but he has no in­ti­macy with any­one. He’s a very, very lonely man who tries to con­trol the world.

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