Tyler made for telly
Liv Tyler moves into the next stage of her glittering career with Theleftovers, writes TIFFANY BAKKER
IF NOT for her role in the new creepy television drama, The Leftovers, Liv Tyler says she was just about ready to throw in the acting towel. The actress, best known for roles in films such as Stealing Beauty and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, admits she was “feeling frustrated” by the lack of decent roles coming her way.
“I wasn’t finding the parts that I wanted, and I wasn’t the ingénue anymore,” says Tyler, sipping hot water and lemon in a downtown New York hotel.
“I was in this new moment and I didn’t know how I was going to navigate my way through all of that – whether I was meant to keep acting or if I was meant to pursue other passions. I was looking for a sign to push me in a direction.”
Tyler says that sign came in the form of The Leftovers, HBO’s latest drama (which also stars Justin Theroux and Amy Brenemann). Tyler, who’d never done television before, had been blown away by the quality of shows such as True Detective (“the best of the best”), and was looking to break into the medium. She says when she heard about the show, she wanted in.
“Liv came to us,” says the show’s co-creator, Damon Lindeloff (of Lost fame). “And when you get someone like that interested in your show, it’s very exciting. She came in and read for the part and she seemed to understand the despair and sadness in the character.”
Based on the acclaimed novel by Tom Perrotta (who co-created the show along with Lindeloff ), The Leftovers is bleak and it’s depressing (bad things happen to animals and children) but, much like Lost did, it hooks you in immediately, and you can’t look away, no matter how much you might try.
“It was weird and I love weird things,” says Tyler.
The story is set in the fictionalised New York town of Mapleton, three years after two per cent of the world’s population has suddenly disappeared without explanation. Was it The Rapture? Was it something else?
“There was something a little Twin Peaks- y and Twilight Zone about it to me, and those were things, as a young girl, I loved watching – the creep shows and horror movies,” recalls Tyler. “I liked the mysterious elements of it.”
Tyler plays Meg, a depressed woman who is suffering from something akin to posttraumatic stress. She leaves her fiancé to join the ‘Guilty Remnant’, a cult-like group who dress in white, chainsmoke constantly and refuse to speak.
“My character’s a bit of a loose cannon,” says Tyler. “She has a bit of a temper, and she gets mad a lot.”
Adds Lindeloff: “We said to Liv, are you sure you want to sign up for this? You want to put on white, you want to wear no make-up, you want to not speak? And she was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes, and yes’. She wasn’t vain in that way at all, and that’s a rare thing.”
For her part, Tyler says the experience has reinvigorated her. “I haven’t felt so creatively fulfilled for many years,” she says.
“Now I feel grateful for the years that I didn’t feel it because I do now. It shows that it’s important to be patient.” THE LEFTOVERS TUESDAY, 7.35, SHOWCASE
Guilty remnant: Liv Tyler and Amy Brenemann in TheLeftovers.
Cast mates: Ben Lawson (second from left) on the set of ModernFamily.