Colin Morgan talks about his role in the latest supernatural drama “The living and the dead” with Big Issue.
Find out how he picks his new roles, what he thinks about social media and what jobs he has done before becoming an actor.
Colin Morgan channels the supernatural as the leading light in new BBC drama The Living and the Dead
The Big Issue: Visions of a car, a woman with an iPad – The Living and the Dead is not your average 19th century thriller.
Colin Morgan: It is set at a time of religious upheaval. Everything was up in the air, and what that did to people psychologically was crazy. With the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, suddenly religion didn’t seem so solid. People looked for meaning in the paranormal, and we take that somewhere extreme.
Dancing, fire and futuristic visions – are they as uncanny to film as to watch?
We had a week before shooting and did all sorts of folk songs and dances. We built up that community spirit. But very rarely does it feel quite like it ends up looking onscreen. A lot of magic happens in the edit suite. And the dark, folky soundtrack by The Insects is phenomenal.
The overall effect is very unsettling.
Good! I was in creative discussions with the director Alice Troughton, who I knew from Merlin, for a long time. To have made it, and be at the end of an exhausting, rewarding journey is great.
Talking of visions of the future, how is series two of Humans looking?
Series one hit it out of the park so we’ve got to top that. I am biased but the stories are so strong. It feels current because the science is from a future that is not too distant. It is already being worked on which, as we show, could be quite terrifying.
Does your lack of social media presence suggest a distrust of technology?
I have no interest in social media. But I can see it is a fantastic platform for independent film-makers because it gets the word out.
You have to be stubborn but getting your name out there is hard. A lot of kids have financial issuesWe can’t read about you on social media, so how did you get into acting?
There weren’t opportunities in Armagh, so I had to travel an hour and a half to Belfast. I essentially left home at 16. I didn’t have anyone in this business in my family. I took any job I could before drama school – at a filling station, my local cinema, washing cars with my brother – and two jobs while I was there to pay for it. You have to be stubborn but getting your name out there is hard. A lot of kids have financial issues. There needs to be more support.
And you’ve been back in Belfast filming The Fall?
It was surreal. Belfast is thriving at the minute and has changed so much in the 14 years since I was 16. You can’t get a bad meal anywhere, the pub scene is amazing, the general vibe is so different from what I remember. The Fall picks up where we left it. If you think you know these characters and what they’ve done, you are very mistaken.
You seem busy – after fighting to access the industry, have you carried that drive into your career?
Yeah. The idea of ‘becoming an actor’ is strange. I still don’t feel I have become one because you are always a student in some way. But I had to pay for it and work for it, so I do respect it a lot more.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is as big as blockbusters get – so what is your vision of your future, how big do you want to go?
A good script, story and character is what thrills me. The medium doesn’t matter. But The Huntsman was an exception because it wasn’t the most creatively rewarding role but was an eye-opening experience. It was a creative decision to go, what is this all about? First and foremost I look for terror in a role. The things that scare the hell out of me, I go for them.
It gets the creative juices flowing?
I think so. It is brilliant to not have any answers. Then it is an adventure. This is your passion, your dream – you did it as a child and loved it. If you go in with enthusiasm, curiosity and an openness, you can keep that childlike quality alive.