Elis­a­beth Moss on the re­turn of Top of the Lake

TV Times - - My Tv Week - Re­becca Ma­honey

NEW DRAMA Top of the Lake THURS­DAY / BBC2 / 9.00Pm

It’s a grey and gloomy morn­ing on Sydney’s Bondi Beach, where Elis­a­beth Moss is study­ing the grisly con­tents of a large, bat­tered suit­case that has been dumped in the sand.

TV Times has joined the crowd of surfers and sun-seek­ers watch­ing the ac­tress as she shoots a scene for haunt­ing crime drama Top of the Lake, which re­turns to BBC2 this week for a sec­ond, six-part run.

Cre­ated by writer-di­rec­tor Jane Cam­pion, it picks up four years af­ter the first, New Zealand-set se­ries, and finds Elis­a­beth’s tor­tured de­tec­tive, Robin Grif­fin, liv­ing in Sydney and hop­ing to re­con­nect with the child she gave up for adop­tion, Mary, who is played by Jane’s daugh­ter Alice En­glert. How­ever, when the body of an uniden­ti­fied Asian woman is found in a suit­case on Bondi, Robin soon be­comes wrapped up in the city’s un­der­belly of sex traf­fick­ing and pros­ti­tu­tion as she tries to un­ravel the mur­der-mys­tery of ‘China Girl’.

We caught up with Elis­a­beth, 34 – also cur­rently on our screens in C4’s The Hand­maid’s Tale – at the Bondi Pavil­ion club to chat about repris­ing her award-win­ning role and work­ing with Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ter Ni­cole Kid­man and Game of Thrones’



How was it play­ing Robin again af­ter four years? You’d think it would be easy, but it’s been so much more emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing for me this time. How­ever, I did tell Jane and her co-writer, Ger­ard Lee, that I wanted Robin’s story to go in a much darker, deeper, and more dis­turb­ing di­rec­tion, oth­er­wise what’s the point in go­ing back? Mother­hood is a big theme this se­ries, so how does Robin get on with her daugh­ter?

A lot of Robin’s char­ac­ter stems from her giv­ing her daugh­ter away 17 years ago, so it’s been a real gift to ex­plore what hap­pens when they meet. I think we’ve han­dled it sen­si­tively, be­cause Robin doesn’t feel like a par­ent, and has to find her own way of be­ing a mother.

What was it like act­ing op­po­site Ni­cole Kid­man, who plays

Mary’s adop­tive mother, Ju­lia? Ni­cole was lovely. She just wanted to do a great job and when you have a big movie star who wants to chal­lenge them­selves, you’re very grate­ful. I def­i­nitely had a mo­ment, though, when I had to re­mind my­self to be pro­fes­sional and not shout, ‘Oh, my God, I’m act­ing with Ni­cole Kid­man!’ Mi­randa [Gwen­do­line Christie], Robin’s new po­lice part­ner, brings some hu­mour to the show…

Top of the Lake is dark and creepy, but it’s also hi­lar­i­ous at times, and Jane wrote the role of Mi­randa specif­i­cally for Gwen. I knew she would bring some­thing unique, but she blew it out of the wa­ter.

Robin, Mad Men’s Peggy Ol­son and Of­fred in The Hand­maid’s Tale are all very dif­fer­ent – how do you choose the roles you play? The best writ­ing cre­ates com­pli­cated, in­ter­est­ing, strong fe­male char­ac­ters, and that’s what I grav­i­tate to­wards. But Jane and Ger­ard’s writ­ing is also a clas­sic ex­am­ple of ex­pect­ing the au­di­ence to be in­tel­li­gent; they don’t dumb down any­thing. As a re­sult, I think Top of the Lake has a tone and a mood that is un­like any­thing else.

All six episodes will be avail­able to watch on iplayer straight af­ter the first episode airs.


ON PAGES 76-77

TV Times heads to Aus­tralia as Elis­a­beth Moss is joined by Ni­cole Kid­man for the sec­ond se­ries of

BBC2’S eerie thriller… I had to re­mind

my­self to be pro­fes­sional and not shout, ‘I’m

act­ing with Ni­cole Kid­man!’

Body on Bondi: Robin in­ves­ti­gates a woman’s mur­der Star turn: Ni­cole Kid­man plays an adop­tive mum

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