By Mr. Will Wong
Based on the popular Mystery Novel of the same name by Agatha Christie, BritBox series WHY DIDN’T THEY ASK EVANS? is set for release tomorrow on the popular streaming service. The Series centers on Bobby Jones (Will Poulter), whom after hearing a dying man’s last words, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?”, is left to solve the crime and brings in his childhood socialite friend Frankie (Lucy Boynton) to help. Starring, directed and written by SAG and Golden Globe Award winner Hugh Laurie, the Series takes us along Bobby and Frankie‘s journey in finding themselves, while they find answers to the mystery.
We had the opportunity to sit-in on a junket with Poulter, Boynton and Laurie as they discussed their characters and involvement with the Series.
Hugh Laurie talks about adapting Agatha Christie and his recollection of the source material.
Laurie: “I first read it when I was quite young…and I remembered very particularly the meaning of the question, ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’. And when the meaning is revealed, it’s a stroke of absolute genius. I think she was unique in the way she constructed this and the way she has a perfect sense of timing so that at that exact moment you could just flip-over the card and go, “Oh my God! That’s been in front of me all this time and I never saw it!’. And I remember that so clearly. I feel like I knew it well enough not to be thrown by anything.”.
“The Actors were very intuitive. All of them had done their homework. They all came to the set knowing what it was, what the scene required and the rhythm of it, how to play it essentially. I feel very lucky that a lot of my work was done for me. They did it. it wasn’t me playing all the parts. Not me.”.
We ask Boynton and Poulter about the chemistry that Frankie and Bobby share. While we don’t see a lot of their history on-screen, the way they interact gives us lots of insight into their past. They tell us about their preparation.
Boynton: “It was pretty much all on-screen as we didn’t get to meet before.”.
Laurie: “Explain that you didn’t refuse to meet.”.
Boynton: “But we did. (jokingly) COVID obviously prevented us from having an in-person read-through and I was out of the country and such, so I was late to filming. I think we both individually fell in love with our characters and you can’t fall in love with Frankie without falling in love with them together as a duo. And it’s really beautiful seeing them as childhood friends and now they’re reunited for the first time as adults, and seeing how both of them really want to short-cut back to that initial repartee and dynamic they had. They still have to go through this process of re-learning each other and seeing these two characters try to wrangle that with such beautiful intentions and that foundation of knowing each other in such a formative part of their lives. And as you can see, the colloquial dynamic they have, was just incredibly endearing. And the wit they share, the sense of humour, it offers that short-cut. But yeah, trying to wrangle that was a really beautiful experience.”.
Poulter: “Hugh would often remind us of that. I can recall a note Hugh gave that this was that occasion when you were kids that was really, really funny and you were trying not to laugh, and then you look at each other and you were gonna laugh. So channel that kind of energy and it was cool two see these two adults who are kinda falling in love, but there are moments that are punctuated by them kinda being silly kids. Like when he’s in front of the house in uniform and Lucy makes a funny remark. And what rehearsal time we didn’t have, we were able to compensate with some kind of proverbial table time. On Zoom, Hugh, Lucy and I had a lot of discussions. It was really informative understanding the kind of journeys our characters have been on individually and together that we have as young people – how friendly we had been, and the amount of time that had passed between the last time they met and the time you meet them. All of that was really helpful revealing the history.”.
Emma Thompson and Jim Broadbent even make a spirited appearance in the Series. They talk about the experience of working with these greats.
Boynton: “Just getting a front row seat to their dynamic, they all go way back and Patrick Barlow on-set as well. So their comedic timing is so in-sync and allows them a greater freedom to really bounce off each other. This is my external opinion. I think it allows them to bounce off each other much more succinctly, be really free with the text but within the realms of that scene. And it was just really beautiful to watch. I tried to exit that scene as soon as possible and everyone was six inches from the monitors just grinning.”.
Poulter: “Such a cool to see such experienced Actors you’re such a fan of, have so much fun and watching them enjoy it as much as I feel they did. It was so cool and inspiring to see.”.
Laurie: “May I add that it’s incredibly impressive? Because Jim and Emma showed-up with their clanking Oscars – they actually bring them to the set – so everyone knows what’s what. Lesser Actors might easily have been intimidated or thrown by this sort of history and status. But for me, it was absolutely joyous to see all five of you in that scene immediately dispensing of that. It’s just sorta relaxed, fearless and easy-going way. Lots of people would not do that in that position.”.
WHY DID’T THEY ASK EVANS? streams April 12, 2022 on BritBox.
(Photo/video credit: BritBox)
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