& Mr norrell Eddie Marsan
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.