INTERVIEW: David Tennant On Playing Detectives Hardy And Carver

From next week, David Tennant stars in the new FOX TV series Gracepoint which premieres on Thursday 2nd October. He plays Detective Emmett Carver, the US counterpart to DI Alec Hardy, his original role in the UK series Broadchurch, upon which Gracepoint is based. Earlier this week he spoke about the similarities and differences between the two characters.

David claims that he didn't consciously decide to make Carver and Hardy different.

"I didn't set out to change anything particularly, I just tried to tell the story as it came up and through the script, and be as truthful and loyal to that as possible," he said. "I think Hardy and Carver are very different, actually. They certainly feel very different in my bones. Obviously, they look quite similar. They are following the trail of an investigation which has many similarities, but they feel different to me. It’s probably for others to make a list of quite how obvious those differences might be."

Aside from the obvious difference in accents, the similarities and differences came organically through the acting process, he claims.

“I just tried to play each scene as it came. I didn't want to be self-consciously quirky about it. I didn't want to re-create something for the sake of or reinvent something for the sake of reinventing it. I didn't think, he's got to be different, I'll give him a limp or a funny hat or a lisp. I just wanted to tell the story. I just approached each scene as openly as I could, and tried to tell that story as honestly and as well as I could. I think that's all you can ever really do,” David explained. “It would be sort of self-conscious, and just a bit odd for me to be setting out to do something that the script didn't support. Inevitably things then do become different, because you're playing even scenes that are very similar with very different actors, so you're reacting to what they are giving you, you're responding to the different environment that you're in. I think at times there are some scenes that are very similar to Broadchurch. There are others where even though the words can be very similar at times, they play very differently. That was continually surprising for me being part of it. I don't suppose it would have ever been any other way really.”

“I didn't set out to reinvent something particularly,” he concluded. “I think there’s a sense, with the whole show, that if it’s not broke, you’re not really out to fix it. We’re really out to tell this story to an audience who, broadly speaking, haven’t seen it yet. Broadchurch was obviously a bit of a sensation back here in the UK. I just want to tell this fantastic story as truthfully and as honestly as I can, I suppose.”

With the premiere of Gracepoint just eight days away, fans will have plenty of opportunity to see Detective Emmett Carver in action. The first episode airs at 9pm ET/PT on Thursday 2nd October on Fox in the USA and on the Global Network in Canada, and on Friday 3rd October at 8.30pm on the Universal Channel in Canada. Keep a look out in the UK too for an announcement – expected soon! 

Meanwhile, David is continuing to work on the second season of Broadchurch, which is currently being filmed in the UK for broadcast early next year.