Eye Of Newt
Gaiman’s TV adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is coming to UK terrestrial TV this January and here’s one of its stars Jack Whitehall, who plays Newton Pulsifer, talking about it…
How does Newt develop during the series?
It’s a rites-of-passage story. At the beginning, he is a grounded, but tentative person surrounded by bigger, more confident figures. He is a rudderless man who doesn’t know what he is doing with his life who suddenly finds purpose, confidence and an ability to talk to people, especially women.
What has it been like working with Adria?
It’s been wonderful. She has done loads of great stuff in the past. She’s a brilliant actress and is very, very nice. I think we are doing very well creating the chemistry that is so vital to the relationship between Newt and Anathema.
How have you found it collaborating with David and Michael?
They’re both incredible. They’re such good actors, you could see them in either role. But this is perfect casting. Even at the read through, they were both already singing. The heart of what will make this work is their dynamic. That is the core of this piece. The great thing about working with people like that is that you soak up so much from them. You can learn a great deal from them. They’re so smart and so brilliant. You have to up your game with them.
Has it been beneficial to have Neil on set?
Absolutely. It has helped a lot. The huge fear with an adaptation is that you’ll mess it up and won’t do right by the writer. I was in an adaptation of Decline And Fall, and I was delighted that the Evelyn Waugh Society and his grandson were very pleased with it. You need to be very careful that you don’t cock it up for them. So to have the writer here helps make sure the drama is faithful to the book.
Did you feel under pressure approaching this project?
Yes. There was huge pressure because it was Terry Pratchett’s wish for this to be made. Before the read through, we were shown a picture of Terry and told in uncertain terms not to mess it up. I’ve never felt more pressure!
Have you enjoyed working with the rest of this cast?
Definitely. Michael McKean, who plays Mr Shadwell, is an absolute hero of mine. He’s a real legend in films like This Is Spinal Tap and Best In Show. I’ve admired him for a very long time. I’m very excited to be working with him. He’s very generous as a performer. He is really collaborative – his sort of comedy wouldn’t work otherwise. I’m also delighted to be working with Miranda Richardson. You’d be hard-pressed not to be a fan of hers. It’s really an incredible cast they’ve assembled.
Would you like to take on more of these dramatic roles?
Yes. I really enjoy playing parts like this. I like taking on characters who go on a journey, which is what Newt does. He has an emotional journey and is not just comic filler. You end up rooting for him. You can get pigeonholed and typecast in this business. So you have to do different things like this. This is a departure for me. It’s intimidating and you have to raise your game when you’re working with people of this calibre. But hopefully I won’t get found out!