Luke Evans on 'The Alienist' and Filming 'Nine Perfect Strangers' in Quarantine (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
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After an acclaimed and Emmy-nominated first season, The Alienist, is back for a second installment, Angel of Darkness, with Welsh actor Luke Evans reprising his role as John Moore, a New York Times cartoonist-turned-reporter who teams up with alienist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), who has opened her own private detective agency, to investigate the kidnapping of an infant and an elusive killer.
Despite taking place in the late 1890s, the show’s themes about corrupt law and media institutions, inequality and women's rights are still relevant in 2020. “I think the writers did a very good job bringing what is essentially a fictional story based in a very historical moment in the history of New York by bringing to life and reminding the audience that even then there was, you know, there were inequality, fighting for the right to vote, fighting for the right to work, to have this equal pay, all these things that are still being fought for today,” Evans tells ET.
He adds, “By pulling on these quite, you know, historical, topical, cultural things, [the writers] were able to make an extremely relevant [show]... For everybody who watches it, you see the fight isn't over and the fight began a long time ago. It’s very interesting to see it portrayed such a long time ago and to see that we might not have come as far as some other avenues and life in society.”
Now halfway through season 2, the investigation is taking a toll on Sara and John, who finds himself apologizing for some harsh words he had for his partner in ET’s exclusive sneak peek of episode five, “Belly of the Beast.”
While the event series may be the only project Evans is starring in during 2020, he has a number of high-profile projects lined up, including the thriller Dreamland, with Armie Hammer, Gary Oldman and Evangeline Lilly, Disney+’s Beauty and the Beast musical series, reuniting Evans with Josh Gad as they reprise their roles as Gaston and LeFou, respectively, and the Hulu series adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers.
The latter, which is set to debut in 2021, sees Evans starring alongside Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Samara Weaving, Manny Jacinto, Melvin Gregg, Grace Van Patten and Tiffany Boone as the guests and workers at a boutique health-and-wellness facility that promises healing and transformation. The limited series is being written by David E. Kelley and directed by Jonathan Levine.
“The characters are so well drawn,” says Evans, who is playing Lars, a handsome and high-powered divorce lawyer. “[He] is like nothing I have ever done before, which I think is a fun thing for an actor to find a role that does not feel or resonate with anything I have done in the last 15 years.”
Filmed in Australia, the series has started shooting as film and TV productions slowly start to resume around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. “[We’re] gonna have a very intimate five months in Australia once we’ve done our quarantine, that is,” he says, explaining that once he arrives in the country, he’ll have to stay in a hotel for two weeks per the country’s travel restrictions. “Then we get tested and by the time that the two weeks are up, we should all be hopefully clear.”
While Evans is “very excited” about getting to work on Nine Perfect Strangers, he acknowledges that “the future is many questions and very little answers. But I am lucky to be working. This is one of the only productions that is about to start, so that is something I am very grateful for, but yeah, we shall see.”