With Britbox newest adaptation of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, based on Agatha Christie’s novel, published in 1934, the British novelist proved once again to be an incomparable murder mystery writer.
You can watch our full interview with Maeve Dermody below:
FandomWire attended the press conference with the cast, Lucy Boynton, Will Poulter, and Hugh Laurie, who as the writer and director of this miniseries, explained the fascination people still have for Agatha Christie and her stories:
“There is something about the time in which they are set that is lastingly appealing. It’s a sort of golden age that’s in between the wars (…) There is something about that golden age, a sort of innocence, or a desire to recreate an innocence, after the trauma of the first war, (…) and in that sort of beautiful world, nonetheless, terrible things can still happen, and for some reason, we seem to be endlessly fascinated by what that means.”
In Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Bobby and Frankie’s relationship is defined by their constant humor and by their hilarious, witty comebacks. During the press conference, we asked Will Poulter and Lucy Boynton if they felt like they had the creative space to play around with the script, or if they made sure to get it right on the first take:
“I think the dialogue have this kind of really wonderful, natural cadence and pep to it, that we definitely wanted to engage in, without kind of, betraying any authenticity. But I think Hugh natural wrote it in this (…) lovely, organic, rhythm (….)” said Poulter.
“I think, if Lucy and I had one note, it was for Lucy to slow down and me to speed up. And we had to try and synchronize our rhythm. So that was one of the big challenges. The amount of times Hugh would just jump in and go ‘ Will, speed up. Lucy, slow down!’”
To which Laurie added jokingly:
“Sounds like a very cruel note!”
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is an absolute success, from the wonderful writing of Hugh Laurie to the delightful, charming and hilarious relationship Bobby and Frankie share together.
While the enigmatic question Why didn’t they ask Evans? leads our two heroes (who have next to zero experience in solving crimes) from one danger to another, Moira Nicholson (Maeve Dermody) adds even more mystery and question marks to the story:
“I liked this sort of mysterious Moira, I felt very drawn to her. And I just like thinking about women in different points of history as well, and I really felt that being a woman in the 1930s and being in the position she was in, she had made for herself, was really a significant power. I respected her in that way.”
We also had the opportunity to ask Amy Nuttal (Sylvia Bassington-ffrench) if she felt some kind of pressure when she found out that she got the part:
“I felt ALL the pressure! As I do every time I do a job, to be honest. Particularly with this one though yes, like you say Agatha Christie is incredibly popular and well known, and added to that we had the one and only Hugh Laurie at the helm, so obviously I wanted to do it justice. Hugh’s writing reads so fluidly and naturally though which made our job a lot easier.”
But the pressure didn’t stop her from beautifully portraying Sylvia Bassington-ffrench and from enjoying every moment of it:
“Sylvia Bassington-ffrench was a dream to play. She’s someone who was trying to hold it all together, running the house, being a good mother to her son, being a supportive wife, and then looking after Frankie. All whilst behind the scenes, everything was falling apart (…) Sylvia is very strong, yet vulnerable. She’s very good at keeping the peace and making everything seem normal.”
As to working with the powerhouse that is Hugh Laurie, the cast was pretty unanimous Amy Nuttall said the following:
“Working with Hugh Laurie was just the most fantastic experience. I count myself extremely lucky to be able to say I’ve worked with him. He is so modest and humble which makes him all the more likable. I remember on my first day saying to him, “Hugh, please don’t be polite and just correct me if you ever notice my accent slip” to which he very modestly said ‘your accent is brilliant.. and what would I know anyway??’. For someone of his standing to say that, after everything he’s achieved in his career, I was bowled over by just how modest and kind and humble he was. All the rumors of him being an absolute dream to work with I can confirm are certainly true.”
Maeve Dermody even declared that Hugh Laurie would even write to his cast at the end of a shooting day, to congratulate them for their work.