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Interview with David Tennant of "Gracepoint" on
FOX (and "Broadchurch" on BBC) 9/22/14
FBC PUBLICITY: Gracepoint
September 22, 2014/9:00 a.m. PDT
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by
and welcome to the FBC Publicity Gracepoint conference call.
At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode.
Later, we will conduct a question and answer session, and
instructions will be given at that time. (Operator
instructions.) As a reminder, today's conference is being
I would now like to turn the conference over to our first
speaker, Ms. Hayley Hindinger. Please go ahead.
Hayley: Thank you. Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining the Fox
conference call with David Tennant of Gracepoint, a ten part
mystery event series that will premiere Thursday, October
2nd at 9 p.m. David is joining us from London today, so I'm
going to start and open it up for questions now.
Moderator: (Operator instructions.) Our first question today
comes from the line of Meredith Jacobs with the examiner.com.
Please go ahead.
Meredith: Hello, thanks for doing the call today.
David: It's a pleasure. Thanks, Meredith.
Meredith: For those who watch Broadchurch, what will we see
with Carver that we didn't see with Hardy?
David: That's probably not for me to say. It's probably for
someone who can be more objective to really know. I didn't
set out to reinvent something particularly. I think there's
a sense, with the whole show, that if it's not broke, you're
not really out to fix it. We're really out to tell this
story to an audience who, broadly speaking, haven't seen it
Broadchurch was obviously a bit of the sensation back here
in the UK, and I think that's what brought it to the
attention of Fox. It got a very loyal and very enthusiastic
following on BBC America. There's a huge populist audience
who haven't seen it yet, and that I think is what we're
principally aiming at.
I didn't set out to change anything particularly, I just
tried to tell the story as it came up and through the
script, and be as truthful and loyal to that as possible.
I think Hardy and Carver are very different, actually. They
certainly feel very different in my bones. Obviously, they
look quite similar. They are following the trail of an
investigation which has many similarities, but they feel
different to me. It's probably for others to make a list of
quite how obvious those differences might be. That's not
really my principal concern. I just want to tell this
fantastic story as truthfully and as honestly as I can, I
Meredith: Alright, great. Thanks.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Lynn Veam
[ph] with TwoCentsTV.com. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Lynn.
Lynn: Hello. I know that you have worked in film and stage
and TV. Do you have a favorite genre that you prefer to work
David: I don't really. I'm quite greedy for the variety, I
suppose. I like the fact that I get to flip between them
all. That's something that I would sort of work quite hard
to preserve my ability to do that, I suppose. There are
advantages and frustrations with each, I guess. In theater,
you get to tell a story many times, over a number of months,
and you get to investigate every possible corner of what
that story might be.
I guess if you're filming something, whether itís film or
television, it's all about chasing that one moment and
getting it in the can to make it live just that one time.
They're both related but very different techniques. I enjoy
trying to master both of them really. I think they are quite
different jobs, but the experience of working the theater I
think informs working on film and television and vice versa.
I feel very fortunate that I get to dabble in all these
different genres. Hopefully, that's something I'll be able
to continue to do.
Lynn: Thank you very much.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Kirsten
Acuna with Business Insider. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Kirsten.
David: How are you doing?
Kirsten: Good. How are you?
Kirsten: You're doing an American accent on this version of
Kirsten: Executive producer Carolyn Bernstein praised as
impeccable. I know that some critics have been more
critical, saying you sort of sound like Batman at times, so
David: I sort of sound like who?
Kirsten: Like Batman.
David: Well, there's nothing wrong with that, is there?
Kirsten: No, there's certainly not. I'm wondering, my
question is, how you perfected your American accent for the
show, and are you worried that American fans of Doctor Who,
who recognize you for your Scottish accent, but they may not
be as receptive to your character?
David: Well if they're fans of Doctor Who, I didn't use a
Scottish accent in that, either. I used an English accent in
that. I don't imagine that's an issue. I think doing
different accents is part of the job of acting really. It's
something else that I quite enjoy the challenge of, to be
Preparing for an American accent, I think just about in
every corner of the globe, we're brought up watching
American movies, so it's something that we all have some
kind of ear for, I guess. Obviously, it's something that you
take seriously, and you work with dialect coaches and
experts to help you, and then you just practice until it's
kind of in your bones, really, so that it's not something
you're thinking about when you're on set every day. You do
your homework and then you wind it up and let it go, I
It's part of what actors do. I always like seeing people
transforming themselves in whatever way that might be, and a
different accent is part of that. An accent, obviously, it's
to do with the way your mouth works and the sounds that come
out of your head, but somehow it informs everything about
you, I think. If you speak in a different accent, you begin
to move in a slightly different way. You think in a slightly
different way. I think it's part of trying to find what
makes a character and it's probably one of the things that,
because I've done a character very similar to this in the
British show that preceded Gracepoint, I guess this is, the
accent, is one of the things that helps define what's
different about this incarnation of this particular
character I guess.
Kirsten: Thank you.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Suzanne
Lanoue from the TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Suzanne.
Suzanne Good morning.
Suzanne It's an honor to speak to you. You're my favorite
Doctor and one of my favorite actors.
David: You can come again. Thank you.
Suzanne: I'm sure you hear that all the time.
David: Not nearly enough.
Suzanne: I watched the seven episodes that Fox let us watch
David: That's more than I've seen, so I hope it's still good.
Suzanne: Oh really? I can't wait to see the last three
episodes. I want to know what happens.
David: Great. Yes, great. Me, too.
Suzanne: I deliberately did not watch Broadchurch for Season
1. I have it on DVD. I didnít want it to influence me.
David: Great, great.
Suzanne: Now, you're filming the second series for
David: I am, I am, yes.
Suzanne: Is there a feeling that if Gracepoint does really
well on Fox, that they'll be another series or what we call
another season of Gracepoint?
David: Yes, there's always an eye for that, isn't there, with
almost everything on television. We have to wait and see how
the audience responds to it. Broadchurch is going to a
second season, so there's no reason why Gracepoint
shouldn't. Thereís a template there; although, a second
season of Gracepoint might go off in a very different way.
All these things are to be decided. Weíre all very excited
about Gracepoint premiering in a couple of weeks. I just
want America to take to it in a way that the UK did, because
it was an extraordinary thing to be a part of. Even as
objective as I can be, I think it's a fantastic story that
people will be thrilled by. I'm delighted to hear that
youíre desperate to watch the last three. That's exactly the
reaction weíre after.
Suzanne: Good, yes. I'm hooked. Alright, thank you very much.
David: Good. Thanks.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Andrea
Dresdale from ABC News Radio. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Andrea.
Andrea: Hello. I wonder if you could talk about working with
Anna Gunn, and talk about the relationship that your two
characters have, as compared to the relationship that Hardy
and Miller had in the original. They, of course, had a very
combative, prickly relationship. Does it get off on the same
foot, and just in general working with Anna Gunn?
David: Yes. The central relationship between Carver and Ellie
so defines the show really, and defines the way the story is
told. Essentially, the bones of it are the same as
Broadchurch is. I play the big city cop who gets dropped
into this one horse town, as he sees it, and is given, as
his deputy, this rather local cop, who is perfectly good at
her job, but from Carver's point of view is something of a
hick, who doesn't really understand how modern policing
works, and gets far too emotionally involved with everyone,
and really needs to develop a healthy streak of cynicism.
That relationship, as it was in Broadchurch, is very much
one of the central structures to Gracepoint. A lot of that
is defined by the relationship you can build up as actors. I
was very nervous, especially having done this show before,
and that relationship and worked very well with the
wonderful Olivia Colman, who plays Miller in Broadchurch. I
was nervous, of course, turning up on day one to meet Anna,
because we had so much to do together, that that
relationship was so important to get right.
Luckily, she just turned out to be a proper actress, someone
who was committed to getting it right, who was open, who was
easy to work with, who you could also have a laugh with, who
you could throw anything at her and she would respond.
That's just the kind of relationship, the kind of
professional relationship that you always hope for.
It was a huge relief and then a great joy to work with her
throughout the ten episodes. Everyone who knows her work
knows how talented she is. I was very chuffed to get to play
alongside and also get to know her offset as well. She's a
lovely lady and someone that I feel greatly enriched to
Andrea: Thank you.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Tim
Clodfelter with Winston-Salem Journal. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Tim.
Tim: Hello, Tim Clodfelter. Do you feel your theater
background helped you with the show, since you're used to
doing different interpretations of the same basic story?
David: Well, maybe. It's hard for me to really know, isn't
it? I keep being asked, ďWas it odd to tell the same story
again?Ē Of course, from a theater background it's not at
all, it's what you do eight times a week. In fact, I was
doing it in a whole new set of circumstances, surrounded by
completely different actors, at times telling completely
different parts of the story.
There are bits of plot; there are some characters in
Gracepoint that no equivalent existed for in Broadchurch. It
didn't really feel like a repetition, it just felt like you
were telling a story that was familiar, but there were
enough differences. Yes, as you say, acting is always about
repeating things, to a greater or lesser extent. It's very
rare you do one take of something, even on a TV show, so
you're used to repeating things more than once. It just was
an extension of that principle, I suppose, to go back and
tell a similar story again from the start.
Maybe theater background does help with that; it's difficult
for me to entirely know, as that's the training that I've
had. Because I started in the theater, that still sort of
feels like the day job to me, and any kind of filming, it
still fills like a bit of a sabbatical, even though I
probably do a lot more of that now then I do on stage. I
guess that's in my bones, that's how I sort of approach
things. Maybe it did help.
Tim: Alright. Thank you very much
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Kara
Howland with TV Goodness. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Kara.
Kara: Hello, David. How are you?
David: Yes, good. Thank you. Yes, great.
Kara: I really, really enjoyed Broadchurch, and I'm super
excited about Gracepoint.
David: Thank you.
Kara: For people who are completely new to the series, how
would you describe it and what can you tease about what's
David: It's hard to describe it completely comprehensively,
because it's many things I think. On one level, it's a
whodunit and the sort of spine of that is something that I
think is familiar to us from many TV shows and movies of the
past. There's a very strong whodunit in there. There's the
procedural element of cops trying to solve a case.
I think what gives it an extra texture and really makes it
something rather special is the way that the characters are
drawn so beautifully. There's so much texture going on, that
we get to understand the lives of all the different
characters that get drawn into this and the impact of the
event; the death of Danny Solano, which starts the whole
ball running, which is the inciting incident in the show.
It's not just another TV cop show death. We really
understand the impact of that, and we really understand what
that would mean to a small community such as Gracepoint.
The repercussions of that are followed through. I think it's
very hard to watch the first episode without your heart
breaking for the family, actually. Thatís helped by the fact
that they're played by Michael Pena and Virginia Kull, who
both really take you on this harrowing, awful journey of two
parents who lose a child. That, in itself, is about one of
the worst things that human beings can imagine.
It doesn't shy away from really showing you what the true
repercussions of that will be. That really follows through
the whole series. It's very honest. It's very candid, and
yet at the same time, it's a thriller as well. It just takes
you on the journey. It kind of grabs you and takes you on
this journey, which is a bewildering and thrilling and
grueling and gruesome, and yet, at the same time, I think
impossible to turn off. I think it's a compelling story. I
think it's been brilliantly told. I'm just very pleased to
be a part of it.
Kara: Great. Thank you so much.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Courtney
Henley with BroadwayWorld.com. Please go ahead
David: Hello, Courtney.
Courtney: Hello, forgive me if my question is a little bit
repetitive. With the characters in Gracepoint and
Broadchurch being so similar, was your approach to playing
each of them different at all or was the goal more along the
lines of just bringing the character from Broadchurch to a
wider audience in America?
David: I just tried to play each scene as it came. I didn't
want to be self-consciously quirky about it. I didn't want
to re-create something for the sake of or reinvent something
for the sake of reinventing it. I didn't think he's got to
be different, I'll give him a limp or a funny hat or a lisp.
I just wanted to tell the story. I just approached each
scene as openly as I could, and tried to tell that story as
honestly and as well as I could. I think that's all you can
ever really do.
It would be sort of self-conscious, and just a bit odd for
me to be setting out to do something that the script didn't
support. Inevitably things then do become different, because
you're playing even scenes that are very similar with very
different actors, so you're reacting to what they are giving
you, youíre responding to the different environment that
I think at times there are some scenes that are very similar
to Broadchurch. There are others where even though the words
can be very similar at times, they play very differently.
That was continually surprising for me being part of it. I
don't suppose it would have ever been any other way really.
I think the thing is weíre very fortunate. I think this is a
tribute to the quality of the script, because good actors,
in my experience, respond to good scripts and want to do
them. Because it's such a well written piece, I think both
times, in the UK and in America, we attracted Rolls-Royce of
casts, and therefore whenever you go to play a scene with
people that are that good, something exciting is going to
happen. That, I think, happened in every episode and every
scene. That's the sort of thing you dream of when you leave
drama school. These are the kind of jobs you fantasize
Courtney: Thank you very much.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of, I believe
itís Kristyn Clarke with PopCultureMadness.com. Please go
Kristyn: Thank you so much for speaking with us today.
David: Hello, Kristyn. Hello, it's a pleasure. Thank you.
Kristyn: No problem. I'm curious to know, are you ever
surprised to learn anything about yourself as an actor? With
such an extensive career in taking on these roles,
specifically with role of Emmett Carver, is there anything
that you were surprised to learn about yourself as an actor?
David: Thatís hard to know when youíre in it, I think. I
think you sort of realize these things years down the line,
actually. I look back on things I did years ago, and go
thatís when I started to do that, or thatís when I figured
out that sometimes you can try too hard or sometimes you can
worry too much. Many actors would recognize that journey
through a career is learning how to let go of various
I'm sure that my continuing journey is absolutely part of
that, and I think you can be a better actor the more relaxed
you can be, the more honest you can be, the more candid you
can be, the less self-conscious you can be. I think that's
something that keeps going and I'm sure my experience in
Gracepoint will contribute to that when I look back on it,
with the objectivity of a decade or so.
Kristyn: Great, thank you.
David: Thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Sabienna
Bowman with TV Equals. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, good morning.
Sabienna: Hello, David. Itís so nice to speak with you.
David: Hello, itís lovely to hear from you.
Sabienna: My question for you is between Broadchurch series
one and series two and now Gracepoint, you've lived with
this character for a while now.
Sabienna: From your point of view what makes Carver/Hardy so
David: [Indiscernible] to me, itís because heís a character
thatís so intriguingly drawn, I think. Heís got lots of
secrets. Thatís always intriguing from an audience's point
of view and from an acting point of view. Certainly at the
start of Gracepoint, we've got an awful lot to learn about
who this man is, and why he is motivated in a way that he is
motivated. In fact, I think it's fair to say that throughout
Gracepoint we don't entirely learn the answers to all
Carver's particular questions. Maybe we will if we ever get
a Season 2.
We're certainly learning a few of Hardyís secrets in
Broadchurch, too, which I'm filming at the moment. Who knows
what weíll ultimately learn about Carver. Clearly, he's
troubled. He's got some personal stuff going on, but he's
also hugely motivated to get justice and to find out the
truth, and that's something that I think weíre all motivated
by, especially when something as grotesque as a child murder
has taken place.
We may not identify with Hardy, but we can understand why he
does what he does. Even though he can be quite unpleasant
and quite difficult at times, I think ultimately weíre all
rooting for him, because he's got the interest of right on
Sabienna: Awesome. I think youíve done an amazing job on both
parts. Thank you so much, David.
David: Thank you so much. That's very kind, thank you.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Joel Murphy
from HoboTrashcan.com. Please go ahead.
David: Hello, Joel.
Joel: Hello, thanks so much for doing this.
David: It's a pleasure.
Joel: I just wanted to ask you, in a general sense, you
talked about the different shows, but just the process
itself of doing an American television show versus a British
television show. Is the process and the making of them
pretty different or were they pretty similar?
David: It's kind of the same job all over the world really;
it kind of works in the same way. The way that it's shot
obviously depends on how the director does it. It's
basically the same; makeup people, and props guys, and the
electricians. They're kind of the same the world over, the
same sort of people. Actors are a very similar breed,
whichever country you go to. There are differences. There
are practical differences to the way the days are structured
and to the amount thatís expected to be shot in each day.
That's grace notes, really.
Craft service, that's a difference. We don't have that in
Britain. There's more snacks on a US TV show. That, I would
say, is the biggest difference. At the end of the day,
everyone's really just trying to tell the best story they
possibly can, in the most elegant and compelling way. I
would say that's more similar than I would have expected
before I did it.
It's the sort of industry that people are quite pleased to
be part of. There's far too many of us all wanting to do
these wonderful jobs. I think most people, who are lucky
enough to get these jobs, are thrilled to be there and
really are highly motivated and very excited about what
we're doing. I think that, I would say, is true the world
over, so it's a great pleasure for me to be part of that.
Joel: It was great talking to you, and since it was brought
up earlier, you would make a fantastic Batman, just so you
David: Joel, I appreciate that. I believe the partís taken,
but I'll keep that in mind and I'll say that we've got your
recommendation for the future.
Moderator: We do have a question from the line of Jamie Ruby
with SciFiVision.com. Please go ahead.
David: I'm being told this is the last one, I'm being given
furious hand signals. It's nice to talk to you, hello.
Jamie: Okay, but at least I get to go. I'm a big fan. Thank
you so much for talking to us and staying long enough to
talk to me. I've also seen the first seven episodes, and I
was really upset where they ended it and excited to see
David: Well, yes. Great, I've only seen the first two, so
you're way ahead of me.
Jamie: Obviously, like you said, there's some differences.
When you're playing Carver, does it tend to at all though
bleed into Hardy? Do you ever get confused or do they get
mixed up? I think it would be kind of hard to keep straight
in your head sometimes.
David: Not really because, like I was saying, as we've been
talking earlier, you're just sort of playing each scene as
it comes up. You only shoot one scene at a time, so you try
to stay as in the moment as possible. Maybe, if I was day
about, going between the two shows, but because I went to
Vancouver Island where we shot the show, and I lived
surrounded by all the people who were involved with it.
That's what we were there to do. That's what you're
concentrating on while you're there. I don't think it did
I was worried that might be the case. There'd been quite a
long gap between Broadchurch Season 1 and then shooting
Gracepoint. There'd been about 18 months. Then I came
straight off the end of Gracepoint into the start of
shooting Broadchurch two, which is what I'm doing right now.
That was literally a 24-hour turnaround, and I headed into
the read through lousy with jetlag. I thought this could be
tricky. I don't want to be slipping into the wrong accent. I
think, bar calling one of the families by the wrong name
once, I don't think there's been any other time where I've
got confused between the two.
Jamie: Great, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
David: Thank you. Thank you, everyone. I think I have to go.
I'm so sorry, but thank you all for being there. I'm sorry I
can't stay longer, but it's lovely to speak to you all in
this slightly unusual way. Thank you all for being there.
Hayley: Thank you, David. That does conclude our conference
for today. Thank you for your participation and for using
the AT&T Executive TeleConference service. You may now
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