What’s The Stolen about?
It’s a western of sorts but set in New Zealand during their gold rush of the 19th century. It’s about a young woman who has terrible things befall her — her husband is murdered and her child is abducted. She goes looking for her child on the south island of New Zealand and I play a man who has set himself up as the mayor of a town. He may not be entirely who he seems to be. Beyond that, I’d be in deep spoiler territory.
Did you enjoy New Zealand?
I’d never been to New Zealand before and I did have a nice time — although every scene I was in, except one, was an interior shot, so really I could have been anywhere! We were just outside Christchurch and I didn’t see a huge amount but I got to travel a little bit and really liked what I saw.
Your wife, Michelle Gomez, has been very successful in Doctor Who. It must be nice to see her do so well…
It’s been amazing. Michelle and I have been together for a long time now. I say this with love — when either of us does a performance, we both know each other’s tricks better than anyone else because she’s seen all of my stuff and I’ve seen all of hers. When I first saw her in Doctor Who, I thought: ‘Wow, I’ve never seen her like this before.’ She and Peter Capaldi made a delightful double act.
Was it emotional to see her nominated for a Bafta?
I’m thrilled for her that she’s had the recognition her performance deserves and I was very proud of her when she was nominated for the Bafta. I tried to explain to people in America that it’s like being nominated for an Emmy for doing Star Trek — it just doesn’t happen. Doctor Who is one of the longest-running shows on TV but award ceremonies like to vote for shiny new things. Doctor Who is many things but it isn’t new. The show has a weirdly wide reach in a way almost all other television doesn’t. Even in America there are very few British shows that are as widely watched. It has this amazingly durable and wide audience so I’m delighted so many millions of people got to see her being brilliant.
We knew with the This Life reunion that people who praised the original series would say: ‘This isn’t like it used to be’
How did you meet?
We met in a bar in Beak Street in London’s Soho in 1997 and were introduced by my dear friend, Andrew Lincoln, who ended up being the best man at our wedding.
Have you and Michelle worked together?
No. We’ve been asked to, and there are endless examples of couples who have worked together and I’m sure they’ve enjoyed it, but we’ve always felt it’s better to keep our personal lives and working lives separate.
You live in the US. Do you miss anything about the UK?
Sure, I’m British. We come back quite a lot. The way it’s worked out is I’ve been working in America a lot for a long time. It wasn’t planned, it just happened, and in our line of work you don’t know what’s around the corner. I spent four months in London this year doing a show for ITV, so who knows what might develop? We might come back, we might never come back.
Do you see much of Andrew Lincoln?
He’s in America for the half of the year he’s decapitating zombies in The Walking Dead. We see each other when we can but he’s very busy — he’s in one of the biggest shows in the world. It’s important to stay grounded and see people you’ve known for years. We usually catch up over Christmas.
Will there ever be another This Life reunion?
I don’t think we’ll be doing that. We did it last time because we loved working together the first time. It was a very formative moment in all of our lives. But we all knew when we did the reunion that the people who wrote lovely things about the original series would say, ‘This isn’t like it used to be’ and s*** on it. And that’s exactly what happened. What’s the point? People have a funny appetite for nostalgia — they think they want more of something but then say: ‘It’s not like how I remember it.’ Of course it isn’t — everyone’s older and different. I enjoyed doing the reunion show but you can have too much of a good thing, as we proved the last time we did it. We’re not suckers for punishment.
The Stolen is in cinemas from today