Author Topic: London Spy: Ben Whishaw, dreamy lover/genius Ed Holcroft and sage Jim Broadbent  (Read 184021 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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I must say that Edward looks mighty fine in whiskers.

I agree.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 07:20:00 am by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://dujour.com/culture/edward-holcroft-london-spy/


Q&A:
Edward Holcroft

The London Spy star on how acting can be like--espionage
Written by Adam Rathe




London Spy is less Spectre than it is unexpected. In the new drama—imported from the U.K. by BBC America and premiering January 21—it’s more so the private life of the titular secret agent Alex (played by Wolf Hall’s Edward Holcroft) and not his on-the-clock adventures that drives the drama. Indeed, it’s a chance meeting with Danny (Ben Whishaw’s somewhat reformed party boy) that seems, more than injury or intrigue, to throw him for a loop. Of course, with a career like Alex’s there’s really no such thing as a dull day at the office.

Here, Holcroft—on a break from rehearsals of Les Liaisons Dangereuse at London’s Donmar Warehouse—explains how the series drew him in and why he’d make an excellent spy… if he isn’t one already.





 
The first episode of London Spy calls to mind some real-life events, like when the body of a British spy was found in 2010 in a bag at his apartment. What kind of real-life research did you do to play this complicated, guarded character?
I didn’t talk to anyone who had been a spy. I didn’t try only because I assumed that anyone who would have been worth talking to wouldn’t talk to me! Otherwise they wouldn’t be very good at their job. For me, Alex’s story isn’t really about being a spy, but is about finding a relationship with some truth in it.  As far as what was going on in his life as a spy and what that consists of, I did a little bit of research—as much as anyone can do, I guess—and used my imagination.





Well, part of him being a spy is that he’s a tough character to get to know. What about that appealed to you as an actor?
He is very strange! There was a certain air of mystery to him that I found absolutely intriguing. I think the less you know about someone, the more intriguing they are. Also, I found his loneliness and his real desire to have friends to be something that I was very drawn to. I’m not sure why, probably because it’s not like me at all. He’s very different than me, so there were a lot of things that I wanted to know about.





Right, he doesn’t have an exciting, James Bond-style life.
Exactly. I think the glitch of spy stories that we know, like the James Bonds and the Jason Bournes can be that they’re all so glamorous when actually I don’t think that sort of exists in contemporary espionage. The majority of spies, real spies, are people who don’t share much information with anyone really in their life, they’re on their own. I think the realness of that that I saw in the script, the sort of rawness of what actually goes on, was refreshing. It was original. It was something that I hadn’t seen in stories before.





Knowing that Alex’s personal life is more difficult at times than his professional life, what does the first season hold for him?
The real driver of the story is the relationship between him and Ben Whishaw’s character, Danny. It begins with the chance meeting of these two men, who are both looking for a way out of their own worlds and they fall in love. It’s through this relationship that Alex is motivated to make a discovery that puts him and Danny both in terrible danger. I think that probably is the most I can say.





Are you yourself at all spy-like? Would it be a viable option for a second career?
I’d like to think I could keep a secret. I think actors would make great spies, because there’s a certain element of loneliness in being an actor; it kind of can be a lonely occupation. You can be very isolated. Would I be a very good spy? I don’t know. Maybe I am one. Maybe I’m just not telling you.
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Writer Tom Rob Smith says Danny doesn’t just lose his lover, he loses their love story: “Their love story is attacked by various prejudices and stereotypes, and Danny has to fight those."




https://www.yahoo.com/tv/london-spy-edward-holcroft-ben-whishaw-bbc-america-143336553.html

INTERVIEWS
'London Spy' Star Edward Holcroft
Previews BBC America’s New Thriller


By Mandi Bierly
Deputy Editor, Yahoo TV
January 20, 2016





London Spy, the new five-part miniseries premiering Jan. 21 on BBC America, wrapped its run on BBC2 last month just in time to make multiple Best of 2015 lists in the UK. But don’t Google those, or the fan art inspired by the love story turned spy thriller from bestselling author Tom Rob Smith (Child 44). This is one ending you don’t want spoiled. We can, however, set up the beginning.

The story starts when Danny (Ben Whishaw), a romantic who’s survived a promiscuous, drug-fueled youth, meets Alex (Edward Holcroft), a man as stiff and separate as the white button-down shirts in his closet. “He is living in a very closed world, a very lonely world,” Holcroft tells Yahoo TV, “and he is desperately fighting to find some form of connection with someone — a connection that he’s never had, a connection he has constantly stifled because he’s gay and he has put his work first.“

As you see in the exclusive clip above from early in their relationship, Danny also feels he’s found something that’s eluded him. But too soon, it’s taken away: Alex is discovered dead under suspicious circumstances. After Danny learns that the man he thought was an investment banker actually worked for MI6, he sets out to uncover the truth about Alex’s past and his murder (if he was murdered).

At the Television Critics Association’s recent press tour, Whishaw said his agent likened the tale to a kind of dark Alice in Wonderland. “Every episode, Danny is meeting a new set of people who very rarely are exactly what they appear to be,” Whishaw said. (The cast includes Oscar winner Jim Broadbent as Danny’s most trusted confidante, and Charlotte Rampling as the hardest nut to crack.)

As Smith said at TCA, Danny doesn’t just lose his lover, he loses their love story: “Their love story is attacked by various prejudices and stereotypes, and Danny has to fight those.”

It’s essential then that viewers invest in the relationship, and quickly, which meant casting was key. By the time Smith was penning episode 3, he realized he was writing Danny with Whishaw in mind and reached out to the actor (who he’d seen as Richard II in 2012′s Hollow Crown miniseries). Whishaw, seen most recently as In the Heart of the Sea’s Herman Melville and Spectre’s Q, helped further shape the emotionally-bare character and where the story was headed.

Holcroft — who’s currently playing Le Chevalier Danceny in a sold-out West End production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses that will be broadcast live into select theaters on Jan. 28 — recalls being sent a script on a Friday, and going in for the first of three or four auditions on Monday. “The first meeting, they were very spy-like themselves,” he says of producers. “They didn’t tell me anything, and I was definitely trying to guess where the story was going. I think what they were looking for was to find some truth to the relationship between Danny and Alex. On my second meeting, Ben was there, and we did some scenes together, and I think the main aim was to find that chemistry.”

It came easier than Holcroft, whose credits also include the 2014 film Kingsman: The Secret Service and the 2015 miniseries Wolf Hall, expected. “It was almost like our real-life friendship was developing as we were shooting the scenes, because we got on so well,” he says. What was challenging was making sure the audience had a window to connect with the inscrutable Alex. “To try and make people empathize with someone, but at the same time, show as little as possible,” he says. “That’s how Tom had written it and how they wanted it to be: They wanted him to be a mystery and to give off very little in his face and the way he expresses emotion. It was something that I had never done before.”

How did he do it? “I’m sure everyone’s different, but for me, when I first met Alex on the page, you find a sort of rhythm within yourself that fits the character and everything kind of pulls in around that,” he says. “You can’t force it. Some characters, it clicks very fast, and others, you have to be a bit more patient with. But they usually come.”

Patience is something U.S. viewers will have to exercise now. Asked if he had friends and family begging for spoilers after the miniseries’ UK run, he just laughs. “Of course. God, I mean, after the first episode, I had a hundred people texting me going, ‘Are you dead?’ I had to keep strong,” he says.

His response hasn’t changed: "Keep watching.”

London Spy premieres Thursday, Jan. 21 at 10 p.m. on BBC America.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 09:17:46 am by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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The Crucible on Broadway. First night of previews. Modern dress. (Well, not Puritan drag shown in the poster, that's for sure.) All members of the mixed cast (Brits/Irish/Americans) all use 'American' accents credibly well. There are issues--bit choppy beginning, and Philip Glass score a bit intrusive.

But--Ben as farmer John Proctor was amazing. When he first walked on--woah. Sexy as hell. No 'bedraggled fragile alien' vibe at all. Small, yes, but contained, compact, lithe, powerful. Lowering, bushy brows. Hot boots. Manly. The American accent was a revelation. It changes his voice--a young, clear tone that travels through the entire theater, cuts through the clutter of the Philip Glass murmuring and the much less distinctive voices of some of the other actors. Towards the end, when he is stripped and barefoot, nearly broken, torn and bloodied, the old Whishaw fragility has definitely reemerged, but as always, he is brave and truthful and believable.

Some standouts: Ciarán Hinds as the evil Deputy Governor Danforth, Bill Camp as Reverend Hale who discovers his own bravery and integrity, Brenda Wehle wonderful as Rebecca Nurse, Sophie Okonedo solid and affecting as Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor's wife. Tavi Gevinson (once a well-known precocious pre-teen fashion blogger) was extremely good as Mary Warren, the young girl who, for a time, stands against the other 'witches'.

Soairse Ronan has top billing (pictographically speaking, see posters, marquee and website) as Abigail Williams, but, like the other young 'ensorceled' girls, I didn't feel anything. True, because my seat at far far left in the Mezzanine meant she was invisible to me at certain points at the very beginning of the play. Perspective may have been lacking--don't know. But I'm going to try and go back for a second time, and change my seat. We shall see. But--oh dear, probably awful to say it--when I go back, it will really be to see Ben again, not Soairse. (Definitely awful to say it!)

All in all, I'm so glad I went--despite all the little sobs and soft sighs and burbles as I walked home. ::)





« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 10:10:53 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Mikaela

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Thank you for the Crucible review and the pictures!

I wasn't in any doubt that Ben's performance would be great, but it's good to have confirmation.  :)

I wish I could have seen the play, even though I dislike the story it tells - it makes me so depressed - just for the star power of the cast.

Getting to read about it is a decent consolation prize though!

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Thank you for the Crucible review and the pictures!

I wasn't in any doubt that Ben's performance would be great, but it's good to have confirmation.  :)

I wish I could have seen the play, even though I dislike the story it tells - it makes me so depressed - just for the star power of the cast.

Getting to read about it is a decent consolation prize though!


Thanks, Mikaela!

You may also wouldn't have been in doubt that I'm going back this coming Monday evening (front row mezzanine DEAD CENTER) simply because I'm an idiot. Oh Well!  ::)  I'm especially an idiot because, this time, I don't have a clue where I'm going to put my long, clot-prone legs in that 3 inch wide aisle in front. Last night I was at the far left, on an open landing on the left and two empty seats to my right--I was totally comfortable and the three hours flew by. Will Ben ever appreciate what I do for him?   :laugh:

Interesting side note re last night--when the lights came up during the intermission, I took out my phone to immediately see a text from the New York Times letting me know that Ted Cruz had handily won the Texas Primary, and all I could think of was:





I wish I could have seen the play, even though I dislike the story it tells - it makes me so depressed -


Yes. Ugh.




"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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LONDONSPYTHEMATH!


 :o :o :o

Woah. Stranger than fiction, or--just catching up really, really fast? Talk about timely--and the work was done at--University College London! Eerie is right!! (Looks like Marcus didn't destroy the research after all. Don't worry, Alex, Danny is coming for you now!)




[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCjspXB5F4A[/youtube]
The Mathematics of Crime and Terrorism - Numberphile
Published on Feb 3, 2016




https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/01/the-eerie-math-that-could-predict-terrorist-attacks/

Wonkblog
The eerie math
that could predict terrorist attacks


By Ana Swanson
March 1 2016 at 1:14 PM



A mock suicide bomber detonates his explosives during an anti-terror drill in Indonesia. (EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak)


A terrorist attack might seem like one of the least predictable of events. Terrorists work in small, isolated cells, often using simple weapons and striking at random. Indeed, the element of unpredictability is part of what makes terrorists so scary – you never know when or where they will strike.

However, new research shows that terror attacks may not be as unpredictable as people think. A paper by Stephen Tench and Hannah Fry, mathematicians at the University College London, and Paul Gill, a security and crime expert, shows that terrorist attacks often follow a general pattern that can be modeled and predicted using math.

Predicting human behavior is obviously a difficult thing to do, and one can't always extrapolate from past events to predict the future. As one academic discussion of the topic points out, if you made a forecast in 1864 about how many presidents would be assassinated in office based on historical data, the expected number would be zero. But over the next 40 years, four U.S. presidents were killed in office.

Yet when you put individual human acts together and look at the aggregate, they often do follow a pattern that can be represented with math. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes in "The Sign of Four," the second Sherlock Holmes novel, ". . . while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty."

The Hawkes process

The mathematical model that Tench and Fry use to look at terrorist attacks is called a “Hawkes process.” The basic idea behind Hawkes processes is that some events don’t occur independently;  when a certain event happens, you’re more likely to see other events of the same kind shortly thereafter. As time elapses, however, the probability of a subsequent event occurring gradually fades away and returns to normal.

A mathematician named Alan Hawkes first developed the idea while searching for a mathematical model that would describe the patterns of earthquakes. Earthquake tremors aren’t independent events, either – after an earthquake hits, the area often experiences aftershocks. So Hawkes designed his equations to reflect the greater probability of experiencing a subsequent tremor shortly after the first one.

Since Hawkes developed the model in the 1970s, similar equations have been used to describe all kinds of sequences of related events, including how epidemics travel, how electrical impulses move through the brain, and how emails move through an organization. Recently, Hawkes processes have also been used to predict the locations and timings of burglaries and gang-related violence.

Why gang-related violence follows a Hawkes process is fairly easy to understand. A murder or shooting by one gang often provokes retaliation by another gang. So following the first incident, the probability of a second incident typically goes up.

It's a little harder to understand why burglaries follow a Hawkes process – i.e., why one burglary would increase the chances of another burglary happening soon after. But as Hannah Fry, one of the paper’s mathematicians, explains in the video by Numberphile above, having your house burglarized does increase the chances that thieves will visit again. The burglars now know the location of your valuables and the layout of your house and your neighborhood, meaning your neighbors are more likely to be burglarized in the future, too.

Hawkes processes so accurately describe how trends in crime vary that some security companies and law enforcement bureaus have started to use them in their work. As Fry says, companies like PredPol monitor data on past crimes to model geographic “hotspots” that can be more heavily policed or can become the focus of specific crime-prevention policies.

Predicting terrorist attacks

In their paper, Tench, Fry and Gill apply this same model to terrorism in Northern Ireland. The paper looks at more than 5,000 explosions of improved explosive devices (IEDs) around Northern Ireland during a particularly violent time known as “the Troubles” between 1970 and 1998, when paramilitary groups in the mostly Catholic Northern Ireland fought to secede from Britain and join Ireland. The researchers used the process to analyze when and where one group, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), launched its terror attacks, how the British Security Forces responded, and how effective those responses were.

As the chart below shows, the IED explosions follow a pattern. After one incident, others follow more quickly before subsiding, creating the peaks in the data below.






So you have the ordinary chance of the event, but afterward you have a “little kick,” as Fry says, that increases the probability that you’ll have another attack – but then fades away over time. Mathematicians can capture and model these patterns using a Hawkes process equation. The math can reveal patterns in past terrorist activity that weren't seen before, or be used to test different theories about those patterns, the researchers say. It can also createpredictive models, which estimate the probability of future attacks at different times and in different areas.

The researchers say that their analysis shows distinct phases in the conflict between the Irish terrorists and authorities. For example, bombings slowed down as the IRA was infiltrated by British security forces and when more of its members were imprisoned, and bombings increased when the group launched a renewed campaign of violence or tried to use incidents of terrorism as a bargaining tool in negotiations.

One of the most fascinating lessons of the research is on the effects of counterterrorist operations. The paper shows evidence that the death of Catholic civilians, whom the IRA claimed to be representing, would cause the group to increase their IED attacks in retaliation.

That finding echoes previous research that looked at counterterrorism operations by the United States and its coalition partners in Iraq. That paper showed that counterinsurgency operations that were carried out indiscriminately – in other words, attacks that hurt or kill innocent people who were not necessarily insurgents -- led to a backlash of terrorist violence. In contrast, counterinsurgency operations that were carried out in a discriminating, targeted way led to a lower level of violence than before.

The paper looks at events in the past, but Tench says the same technique can be used to project future trends. After one terrorist attack, and especially after civilians are killed, the likelihood of subsequent "aftershocks" increases for a specific time period, and authorities need to intervene quickly to avoid a long period of violence. They must also ensure their counterterrorism operations are targeted at the actual insurgents, to avoid provoking the destructive wave of violence that indiscriminate counterterrorism has been shown to do.

Tench says he hopes counterterrorism officials will start using the technique as part of their portfolio. "This application of the Hawkes process is a relatively new idea, so I imagine it might take some time to filter through," he says.

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Thank you for the review, John. That's quite a cast!

The director was profiled in The New Yorker last year. Apparently right now he's a Big Deal.

I hate strongly dislike the music of Philip Glass. I've had to sit through ballets done to something by Glass, and the music has driven me out of my skull and left me totally incapable of appreciating the dancing.



The Crucible on Broadway. First night of previews. Modern dress. (Well, not Puritan drag shown in the poster, that's for sure.) All members of the mixed cast (Brits/Irish/Americans) all use 'American' accents credibly well. There are issues--bit choppy beginning, and Philip Glass score a bit intrusive.

But--Ben as farmer John Proctor was amazing. When he first walked on--woah. Sexy as hell. No 'bedraggled fragile alien' vibe at all. Small, yes, but contained, compact, lithe, powerful. Lowering, bushy brows. Hot boots. Manly. The American accent was a revelation. It changes his voice--a young, clear tone that travels through the entire theater, cuts through the clutter of the Philip Glass murmuring and the much less distinctive voices of some of the other actors. Towards the end, when he is stripped and barefoot, nearly broken, torn and bloodied, the old Whishaw fragility has definitely reemerged, but as always, he is brave and truthful and believable.

Some standouts: Ciarán Hinds as the evil Deputy Governor Danforth, Bill Camp as Reverend Hale who discovers his own bravery and integrity, Brenda Wehle wonderful as Rebecca Nurse, Sophie Okonedo solid and affecting as Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor's wife. Tavi Gevinson (once a well-known precocious pre-teen fashion blogger) was extremely good as Mary Warren, the young girl who, for a time, stands against the other 'witches'.

Soairse Ronan has top billing (pictographically speaking, see posters, marquee and website) as Abigail Williams, but, like the other young 'ensorceled' girls, I didn't feel anything. True, because my seat at far far left in the Mezzanine meant she was invisible to me at certain points at the very beginning of the play. Perspective may have been lacking--don't know. But I'm going to try and go back for a second time, and change my seat. We shall see. But--oh dear, probably awful to say it--when I go back, it will really be to see Ben again, not Soairse. (Definitely awful to say it!)

All in all, I'm so glad I went--despite all the little sobs and soft sighs and burbles as I walked home. ::)





"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Thank you for the review, John. That's quite a cast!

The director was profiled in The New Yorker last year. Apparently right now he's a Big Deal.

I hate strongly dislike the music of Philip Glass. I've had to sit through ballets done to something by Glass, and the music has driven me out of my skull and left me totally incapable of appreciating the dancing.



Thanks, Jeff! I don't especially mind Philip Glass. But there were points in the play last night, when I thought--why is this here? Just because TV and iPod addict Americans can't sit through a 3 hour long non-musical drama? Instantly I thought--yup, that's why. Sometimes the music was just there--neutral, it didn't bother me at all. Occasionally (let's emphasize that, occasionally  ::) ) it really helped the play. But often (!) it was annoying/exasperating.



The director was profiled in The New Yorker last year. Apparently right now he's a Big Deal.


Boy oh boy, was I really out-of-it/stupid. Just because I don't like Arthur Miller I didn't go to see A View From the Bridge.
Mistake!! Big Mistake!!! The day after it closed, I woke up and realized--hello! The Shirtless Wonder was non other than Russell Tovey (AKA 'Rudge' from one of my favorites ever, The History Boys !)



The actor has gone blond for his return to Broadway, as Rodolpho in A View From the Bridge.
http://www.out.com/theater-dance/2015/11/19/russell-tovey-juggling-broadway-and-looking

The show has a rabid intensity and director Ivo van Hove highlights the homoerotic subtext between Eddie and Rodolpho — something that feels especially real by having a gay actor playing the part — that culminates during the "double kiss" scene. After Eddie embraces his niece Catherine, he forces Rodolpho into a violent kiss to prove his point that the young Italian is not enough of a man for her, as well as to exert his dominance. The raw energy on stage is one of those theatrical moments that will not be forgotten.




Why Russell Tovey had fantasy about being stabbed during long run of The History Boys - Gay Star News
http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/178918/#gs.bsy=718

DUH! STUPID! (Me, I mean!)

 :P :'( ::)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 08:29:12 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"