Exclusive Interview: Jemima Rooper & Mark Addy on BBC’s ‘Atlantis’

BBC’s new series “Atlantis” takes a new look at classic Greek mythology. Jack Donnelly plays the main character Jason, but he was not able to come to the States for the Television Critics Association.

However, we did get Jemima Rooper (who plays Medusa), and Mark Addy, who portrays Hercules, two very different takes on those characters. Rooper, of course, is lovely, though this is young Medusa before the monster we know. Addy explained on a Television Critics Association panel that Hercules doesn’t need to work out for muscles because his power comes from the Gods.

“Atlantis” currently runs on Saturday nights on BBC America. 

CraveOnline: Have we ever seen Medusa at this stage in her life before?
Jemima Rooper: No, we always meet her via one of the heroes that has to go and killer he basically. She’s a pretty monstrous being. In fact, all I know of her so far is this pre-Medusa really. 
Mark Addy: Don’t know what she’s going to be like.
Jemima Rooper: The story keeps getting more poignant and her relationships with the guys, the friendships, the blossoming relationships are getting deeper and deeper, so that by the time it is going to happen, it will be pretty tragic.
You’re a lovely girl, but would you look forward to going as ugly as you can when Medusa gets there?
Jemima Rooper: Oh, yes! Absolutely. Bring it on. I don’t know what they’ve got in store in terms of a design. I think it might just be snakes with my hideous face.
Mark Addy: Have they told you about it at all? You don’t know what they’re going to do?
Jemima Rooper: No. I keep trying to trick our director into giving something away. 
Have you done a head cast?
Jemima Rooper: No, I had a 360 photograph taken of my head in my wig prep which is very unflattering and horrible. 
So they’re experimenting with that.
Jemima Rooper: Yeah, I think so. I think it’s being designed. People would say what will happen is that it will be a gradual thing and that it will evolve, hopefully as the series go on. We’ll have to wait and see.
Mark, when you took the role of Hercules did you know there were already two movies being made?
Mark Addy: No, I didn’t. 
Jemima Rooper: Oh, I was offered an audition to go up for an Amazonian warrior, and I rang my agent, like, “I’m 5’2”.”
Which one, the Renny Harlin or the Brett Ratner Hercules?
Jemima Rooper: The Rock one. So I just didn’t go because I thought there’s no way I can walk into the room an pretend to be two feet taller. 
Mark Addy: I imagine The Rock’s Hercules will be a little different to mine.
Or Twilight’s Kellan Lutz.
Mark Addy: Oh, right. 
Jemima Rooper: I think Mark Addy’s will be more layered and complex. 
This is an interesting take. We imagine Hercules as the big buff types, but he wouldn’t have to be as a God.
Mark Addy: No, no, absolutely.
Jemima Rooper: It was really interesting what you were saying before about strongmen. 
Mark Addy: You know the strong guy competition, they’re big guys lifting wheelbarrows and s**t. Those are the strong guys. 
As a trio with Jason, how active does each character get to be?
Mark Addy: Medusa becomes part of our gang. 
Jemima Rooper: You guys are the trio because there’s Pythagoras as well who’s the kind of brains of the outfit. Jason is the hero.
What sort of adventures do they go on in the beginning?
Mark Addy: Well, the first episode is the minotaur, so there’s no gentle preamble. It’s straight in there. I quite liked that. You’d think we’d build up to something like that. Oh no, straight into the labyrinth.


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