Tom Riley shared the above photo on Instagram last night to help promote HBO's The Nevers.
Here’s a naughty little schoolboy right after the first hair and camera test for Augie’s “look”, a week before we started shooting episode one of The Nevers, which as of RIGHT NOW is premiering on @hbo and streaming on @hbomax. Little did any of the incredible (and gigantic) cast and crew know the insane, unpredictable journey that would be ahead for all of us. But the culmination of that journey, and of all those people’s hard hard work, is now out in the world for you to gobble on up. Hope you’re hungry. (For fun soup)
Another interesting interview (if the translation is correct), has been shared by Vogue Italia. I hope Google translate is reasonable - I tidied up obvious errors. Tom chats about the show and his character's relationship to James Norton's Hugo Swann.
Over to Tom Riley
The British actor, husband of Lizzy Caplan (Master of Sex), in connection via Zoom from his English apartment [Tom is in LA, I believe], tells the background and curiosity of this surreal and irresistible project.
In The Nevers her character, Augie, has a brotherly friendship with Hugo (James Norton), a wealthy pansexual who is her exact opposite. How did you create this relationship?
We spent a lot of time talking about the characters, understanding how they met, what their respective pasts are, what interests both of them… and so, all of a sudden, they found their rhythm together.
Who is Augie really?
A shy young man who submits to the power of his sister, who lives in his shadow and lives on insecurities. He feels constantly under judgment and is ashamed to admit what he really wants.
Do you resemble him or are you more confident?
I have never behaved like him, who tends to hide from what he feels and is always stiff, a bit like these very high collars of the time, starched to the point of making him look like a stuffed bird.
This series is a hymn to female independence. Do you think Hollywood is changing its face?
It is a good step forward for the audiovisual industry, because changes are necessary and steps forward pass precisely through representation. I am convinced that The Nevers will provoke social debates and awaken consciences.
Why is the Victorian era so popular?
Because it is still relevant today, despite the enormous progress that has taken place since the time. Progress takes time but looking at the achievements of the past we understand better who we are today. In those days there was a great disparity between how one felt on the inside and how one was represented on the outside. Does it remind you of anything?
Today there is a tendency to prosecute TV series that deviate from historical truth. What do you think?
Fiction by its nature romances reality, so we shouldn't be scandalized by some inaccuracies. In this case, then, we are faced with an alternative reality, a fantasy story, which mixes real events with a whole series of questions about how things would have really gone if something had gone differently. Do you prefer to follow a script to the letter or improvise? In this case, we did a lot of rehearsals before shooting the pilot episode. For the most part it was long chats all together to compare various ideas. However, before I boarded the project the scripts were ready, but I found the environment extremely collaborative anyway. I don't take it for granted because the ideas of the cast are not always taken into consideration. Instead in The Nevers I had my say on everything from dialogue to wardrobe, even if the scenes were so well written that they literally took life from the page.
Filming on The Nevers was interrupted due to Covid-19 , how did the recovery go?
The world in which filming takes place has changed, which has been quite a challenge. When we returned to the scene we did the same things, but at a distance, with more gloves and masks, fewer people in the room and a different atmosphere, devoid of that cheerful chaos that was perceived before. Here, I miss that energy, but luckily we all knew each other well and shared the pressure to the best of our ability.
It is not the first time you have tried his hand at a costume series. Also for DaVinci's Demons you took a step back in time ...
Augie is very different from Leonardo, a character out of the ordinary, an absolute genius who flies with fantasy but they have in common the desire for freedom and the feeling, instead, of always being caged. But for me it remains incredible to change my skin and try my hand at personalities that are so distant from each other.
How different is playing a real character compared to a fictional one?
When I have to take on the role of a man who really existed, I become very meticulous in my research, I read about everything, I study everything and I never stop informing myself.
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?
I really am, I have very high standards and it never seems to me to be enough. If you add boundless curiosity to this then that's it.
How did you get the passion for acting?
Nobody in my house is an actor, indeed everyone has always thought that the world of entertainment was nonsense. I discovered the world of art when for the first time, at the age of six, I went on stage for a play. And from there I never stopped.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned on set?
Over time I realized that mistakes are inevitable, but with maturity you learn to manage them.