Thirst For Adventure
BBC’s adaptation of Man Booker winner The Luminaries started yesterday and here’s one of its stars Eva Green talking about it…
How did you first become involved in The Luminaries?
Simply, my agent sent me the first episode and I fell in love with the universe and the characters. The script was very well written and I was excited to explore the 1860s New Zealand gold rush on screen, as I don’t think it’s something we’ve seen before.
How would you describe The Luminaries?
The Luminaries is an epic story of love, murder, and revenge in New Zealand during the gold rush in the 1860s. The story follows Anna Wetherell who has come to New Zealand to begin a new life. There, she falls in love and the two lovers are constantly driven apart. And, they must find one another.
Who is Lydia Wells?
Lydia Wells is an American who runs a fortune parlour in New Zealand during the gold rush, and she’s a survivor. She’s a natural entrepreneur. She’s very strong, very sharp, and she’s figured out that the only way to make money in those days was to make money in town.
She is a feminist and she’s very sure of herself, very smart. The men look up to her because she’s created this establishment, The House Of Many Wishes, where they come and escape the grit and grime of digging for gold. It’s like an oasis, and she’s this mysterious, inaccessible creature that the men admire from afar.
Lydia is fun to play because she’s always game. She’s a gambler, she’s adventurous but she’s also a survivor. Like many survivors, there are no rules – she feels she’s above the law. She can have whatever she desires no matter the cost, so she’s quite naughty and she’s completely blinded by greed. She is a baddie. I think most interesting baddies have weakness, are wounded, or have cracks. Lydia’s Achilles heel is Francis Carver, and her love for him brings her lots of humanity and redeems her, in some way.
What is Lydia Wells’ relationship with Francis Carver?
Francis Carver is Lydia’s lover. He is a passionate, brooding man. He’s the love of her life. She would do absolutely anything for him and they become partners in crime. Their relationship reminds me a bit of the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth dynamic. It is Lydia who plants the seeds of revenge and she’s the driving force behind all he does.
Where does Anna Wetherell fit into Lydia’s story?
Lydia is Anna’s protector. She takes her under her wing and makes her her apprentice. At the beginning, Lydia uses Anna but they are actually quite similar, those two women. Much more alike than Lydia would like to admit. When Lydia thinks Anna has betrayed her, she vows revenge, and her protege will become her enemy.
Would you describe The Luminaries as a period drama?
We’ve never seen a period drama about the gold rush in New Zealand but I think people just want to be swept away by the story. It’s the story that really matters. They want to have love in the story and have an adventure. I think if it’s a period or not it has to speak to us – it has to be human.
How’s your American accent?
I hope it’s credible! I worked on it for about a month before we started shooting. That really helps me, I like to find a different voice for every character and I think the American really helped me to find naughty Lydia.
What do you hope audiences will take from this series?
Truly you never know! But I truly hope that the audience will be swept away by this epic adventure and that they are going to really feel as if they are living in the 1860s. They are going to identify with those characters and live this wild adventure.