New Delhi: British star Tobias Menzies believes that the short form anthology format of Amazon series “Modern Love” gives actors an opportunity to deliver nuanced performances.
Menzies stars in “Modern Love” after a two season stint in “The Crown” in which he delivered a critically-lauded performance as Prince Philip, the late UK royal and husband of UK monarch Queen Elizabeth.
The 47-year-old actor is also popular for playing Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall in “Outlander”, while in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, he appeared as Edmure Tully.
In the second season of “Modern Love”, Menzies stars opposite actor Sophie Okonedo in the eighth episode, titled “A Second Embrace, with Hearts and Eyes Open”.
“I really liked the format because it’s unusual in that it’s short, half-hour and they’re vignettes. So you just get a burst of atmosphere, almost. The stories are not that long. I also think it’s a really nice opportunity for good actors to do really good acting.
“I saw some performances in (the first season) which I just really enjoyed. The atmosphere is a really nice, relaxed, collaborative experience. So, I suppose the mixture of those things are just slightly different than a lot of other stuff out there,” Menzies said in a roundtable interview with global journalists, including PTI.
“A Second Embrace, with Hearts and Eyes Open” features Menzies as Van, who casually rekindles his relationship with his ex-wife Elizabeth (Okonedo).
But their complicated life gets a messy further when one of them is diagnosed with an illness.
At the core of the episode’s story is the theme of second chances and healing, something that Menzies believes is definitely possible in real life.
“I think second chances are definitely possible. That’s why I think it’s quite a romantic episode actually. The idea of second chances, of being able to go back and maybe heal something, maybe the mistakes you’ve made, it’s hard not to be moved by that idea because I’m sure everyone has stuff in their lives that you probably regret.
“I guess that’s what the episode is digging into, that kind of area. I certainly hope I’ll get some second chances,” he said.
The actor said his attempt with every character is to make it relatable for the viewers and therefore he sometimes draws from his own experiences as a human being.
“I work in a way to make it as real as possible. Sometimes, you draw from your own experiences of those kinds of events in your own life. They don’t have to be actual, the same thing – but everything is in that same area.
“This episode is around relationships that have fallen apart, but you still have feelings for that person. Are there opportunities to rebuild things? It’s hard not to look back at certain relationships and wonder if there was still life in them,” Menzies added.
The actor believes that vulnerability and tenderness have the power to bring two individuals closer to each other, and this is what the episode tries to show to the viewers.
“I’m definitely not a superhuman. One of the ways that you get to know someone and you get close to someone is through seeing their vulnerabilities and them trusting you and showing you that. In a way, that’s probably one of the fundamental things about how to get closer and love someone.
“Hopefully the vulnerability and tenderness that’s in the episode, that felt like a really necessary ingredient to tell that story – obviously because of what his character goes through, but you get a sense that he has had to go through a journey in order for her to meet a slightly different person than she remembered in a way. Part of that journey is him becoming a little more porous and a little more,” he added.
Menzies said that in a world so miserably impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, John Carney-created “Modern Love” comes across as an uplifting show.
“I think we’re all in need of a bit of encouragement, aren’t we? For so many reasons, the last year-and-a-half has been difficult.
“The show that John (Carney) makes is a celebration of different relationships in all the different shapes, but generally looking at it from an angle of love and hopefulness. I hope our episode is a nice contribution to that,” he said.
“Modern Love” season two also features Kit Harington, Minnie Driver, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Lucy Boynton, Tom Burke, Zoe Chao, Grace Edwards, Dominique Fishback, Garrett Hedlund, Zane Pais, Anna Paquin, Isaac Powell, Marquis Rodriguez, and Lulu Wilson.
The show currently streams on Amazon Prime Video.