With television widely considered more cinematic than cinema itself, the evidence is overwhelming in what we view today. The standards have been set by shows such as Westworld and Game of Thrones to name but a few with TV now a major player in the industry.
Even old Auntie Beeb is in on the act, so to speak, with Doctor Who leading the charge but more recently in drama Hard Sun – a joint venture between the BBC and American streaming service Hulu.
With the release of Hard Sun on Hulu, we caught up with Jim Sturgess for a chat about the show and more.
HEYUGUYS: You play a cop in Hard Sun in a “pre-apocalyptic criminal world” – what excited you the most about this project?
JIM STURGESS: Well, I am in Los Angeles right now launching the show – it’s been really exciting. Honestly it is the character of Charlie Hicks that I found exciting especially with how he is introduced.
The two lead characters are introduced to us like a slap in the face with Renko in this fight scene in a kitchen getting all slashed up.
It is a pretty intense way to bring your characters to the forefront of the story.
That scene introducing your co-star Agyness Deyn’s character is Jason Bourne-esq…
Yeah, it is just straight in with a 100mph action sequence. It is the same with Hicks who is introduced holding up a rich guy in his house and taking all his money.
You then see him the next morning at home as a devoted family man and then you see him at work as a police officer.
You want to know who that person is and that is even before the end of the world stuff is introduced.
And was it challenging playing a character like this?
Yeah but that is what’s exciting about him – he wears all these different hats. What was interesting is I was never quite sure how I felt about Hicks because the guy does questionable things throughout the show.
You are not quite sure if you are on his side. Is he the hero or villain of this piece?
I really enjoyed playing someone that you are not quite sure about. You sort of like him enough and support him enough. He is a man out there challenging evil in the world but he is doing some questionable things himself.
What was it like on set?
It was great but hard work. I’d never done TV like this because in what I’ve done before I would have read all the scripts before going in to start the project. So I sort of knew the beginning, middle and end of it.
But with this I’d only read the first few scripts. We were filming in London, which was very exciting for me because I was back home.
It was winter so it was cold and getting up at 5.00am in February was a tough day at work. Me and Agyness got on so well, we have become really good mates. We sort of held onto each other for dear life because we were the only two who knew what we were going through.
You really needed that support system to get through it.
You must be relieved to now be in L.A and enjoying some sunshine…
Yeah [laughs]. If only people knew how cold it actually was during filming. No one really knows how fucking freezing it is!
A lot of the social commentary in Hard Sun is particularly relevant right now, so what’s your take on current affairs and the likes of Trump, Putin and Kim Jong-un?
I find it genuinely very sad. The show highlights the idea we are all living on this planet, on this rock floating in space and that anything can happen.
Life is very delicate, we are so blessed and fortunate and we should just sort of respect that.
Without getting too philosophical about it, it is hugely depressing when you see certain people talking about blowing each other up.
Are they all as mad as they seem or just playing up to the cameras?
Even if they were just playing up to the cameras that in of itself is a pretty mad thing to do!
One of them in particular is totally off his rocker. When you are in America it is fascinating how depending on what news channel you watch you get a very different picture on what is going on in the world.
It is like two different universes happening at the same time. You get a different picture on how people perceive Trump depending on what channel you are on which is a bit of a worry.
Moving away from the doom and gloom, in a few of your projects you’ve got an impressive American accent. Is that something that comes naturally to you?
It sort of gets easier as you do it more and more.
The first time I had to do it was for the movie, 21, where I had two weeks to prepare an American accent and was working with a dialect coach. That was quite stressful because you think you know how to do an American accent but realise you can’t!
Which accents can you just not do?
South-African accent, it drives me fucking mad. My girlfriend can do a really good South-African accent and I consider myself to be quite good with this stuff but just can’t get it.
You were considered for Spider-Man on Broadway – what is the story behind that?
They wanted me to play Spider-Man in a musical by Julie Taymor. It got sort of twisted because it was being reported that I was being considered for the film but that wasn’t the case and obviously I’d be too old.
And was it a similar story for the role of Star-Lord in Galaxy of the Guardian…?
The Guardians of the Galaxy thing happened.
I got asked to audition and was slightly hesitant in all honesty about going because it is a different approach to life when you are involved in a film like that.
I went along to see what would happen because if you don’t go for it you will regret it. So I went along and got passed the first bit with the director then did a full-on screen test.
Then went back to the UK, got asked back to L.A for another screen test but then get put in the full costume with full set and the other characters like a proper scene. I got called back again and asked to do a fight scene.
I was aware I was down to the last two or three for the part.
Chris Pratt’s version of the character could not have been any different to mine – his was much more comedic and light whereas mines was darker.
It was an interesting experience going into the Marvel Studios, dressing up as a superhero [laughs].
One of your other projects, JT LeRoy, sees you working with the likes of Laura Dern. What was that like?
She is awesome, just a firecracker man and insanely brilliant. Just a really easy person to get on with and work with – she is exactly how you would imagine her to be.
I had just finished doing Hard Sun and imagined I’d be taking a break after six months in a row of pretty intense work.
But I got asked if I wanted to get involved in the film with Laura Dern, Diane Kruger and Kristin Stewart. It was actually the best thing I could have done because it would have been too big a jump from being so busy to just sitting on my couch.
I play a sort of stoned musician and one of my scenes I was just sitting on a couch, strumming a guitar and smoking weed [laughs]!
All six episodes of Hard Sun Season 1 can be viewed on Hulu in the US as well as BBC iPlayer in the UK.
This interview appears on HeyUGuys by kind permission of Thomas Alexander