How would you describe We Hunt Together?
We Hunt Together is unique, daring and disruptive. I would describe the series as a thriller, a love story, darkly comic, and horror, as there's some grotesque moments in it. When you've got something very dark and grotesque and you may turn away, we'll bring you back with something quite light-hearted and funny and we'll entice you back in. It does deal with the story of two couples who live their lives very differently, and yet have so many similarities. It's slightly uncanny really.
Tell us about your character, Lola Franks
Lola Franks has been working in London for many years as a Detective Sergeant (DS). When you meet Lola, you feel straight away that there's something wrong, there's something critical that's happened. Three years previously something did happen, where she was involved in a situation that stopped her life and she has lived in pure guilt and hatred for herself ever since. So, she's locked in this awful self hatred bubble that she's happy to be in because she believes that she doesn't deserve anything better from here on in, that she should be punished.
Then she meets Jackson Mendy, her new partner, who comes in and shakes things up. I think Lola is absolutely wonderful at her job. I think before the accident she was on the up, but she's never conformed to rules, she is a rulebreaker. I would say she's an anarchist in a way, a rebel, she doesn't like being told what to do, but when it comes to the job and getting it done, she doesn't think there is a clock in and a clock off. If you want anybody on a murder case, you'd want Lola Franks because she doesn't sleep, and she doesn't let up until that person is caught.
I think she's always been a problem to her heads of department and that's why they've partnered her with Jackson. I guess Lola is very much the rogue, Jackson is very much the kind, gentle, generous straight guy, who also has a dark side to him that we don't see straightaway. So, I think all paths have led her to where she is, apart from that huge diversion a few years ago that broke her and continues to break this character. It's destroying her, and it's destroying to watch what she does to herself.
Why did you want to play her?
As soon as I read the first two episodes, I fell in love with Lola. I felt that she was a lost soul and I felt sorry for her. I instantly wanted to love her, I instantly wanted to look after her and all those instincts I can't bring into this character. When I get a character come through that's a challenge for me as Eve, that turns me on and makes me think can I do this? It's been tricky, but I've loved playing her awkwardness and her weirdness and her abruptness. It's been challenging and fun.
How did you find her?
I found Lola through the writing. I think Gaby has created somebody very clear with strong do's and don'ts and opinions. Her character was very very clear to me straightaway, but then I have to be very clear on her position and her job and her profession. That's the stuff you can't make up with somebody who's a DS. The etiquette of a DS officer and the manner of a DS officer varies, but she's certainly not your norm by any means. I spent two weeks with two detectives who guided me and gave me confidence in areas I wasn't quite sure of. They also reigned me in and reminded me that at the centre of the character is the fact that she's dealing with a very high-profile murder. It's absolutely fascinating to see what happens psychologically to these people in their job and how they have to deal with it, where they offload and how damaging it is to them. All of this fed into Lola Franks, without a doubt.
How is We Hunt Together different from other shows?
It's different because you're dealing with dysfunctional people doing everyday things, and yet they're trying to survive, taking life and trying to find life. That's what this show is. I believe it will make for compelling viewing because you will like things that you're not meant to like. You'll be intrigued by things you should have closed your eyes to and yet, you'll come back for more. You may fall in love with these people, you may hate them, but you'll certainly come back and want to see more of them.
What themes stood out to you?
One of the main themes that got me very excited about the project is around nature and nurture. What makes us the way we are, what defines us. It's especially interesting with the serial killer side of it. I remember saying in my audition, am I a bad person for really liking these two killers? At some points you don't know who the bad guys are and who the good guys are, because the two detectives and the two killers run parallel with each other. The two couples are drawn to each other, there's a magnetism that pulls these two people, Jackson and Lola, and also Freddy and Baba. It's disruptive, it's going to make people question themselves. They're addictive to play and to watch, I hope. I guess that's what Gaby Hull has done with his script. He's developed something that fascinates us.
We Hunt Together seems to mix drama, thriller and comedy genres. What was it like to switch between those tones?
When you get a script that enables you as an actor to find dark humour, in amongst the darkest moments, you've found something very special and unique. This script does that, it goes to very very dark, grotesque places and then it comes back with something very silly and funny and lighthearted. You'll walk into a crime scene and it should be your cop show, but we've kicked all that kind of stuff out the window. We've made it a 'how it would be', we've made it from the perspective of a detective who's never been on a crime scene before and trips over a bag, because that's what you would do.
What's the underlying theme in the series?
Damage. I don't even think it's like an under-running theme here, I think it's something that is at the forefront of everybody. We're all damaged in some sort of way in life, and it's about how we manage that, how we cope with that. Lola's very straight-talking, tough, some would say cold, some would say damaged, I kind of sway to both of them. Then in comes Jackson to, I guess, undo all of that. Overall, the four of them are very damaged in all different ways. Jackson and Lola act very much in the moment and I think that Freddy and Baba are very prepared and forward thinking.
What are the similarities between the four characters?
The similarity is that all four of them are completely lost. They all do bad things, but they also do loving things. They also look out for one another and protect one another. However, they have, they are and they will continue to do bad things and make mistakes.
Why does having a twosome as hunters and the hunted work dramatically?
It works dramatically because it's kind of a new thing. We see the serial killers make the decision to do what they do within the first scene and then follow their journey. This means it's not about who did it, but why and how they came about doing what they did. Why that combination works is because they work together. Then you have Lola and Jackson who are the absolute antithesis of each other, bounce off each other's somewhat hatred and lack of patience for each other. It's a study of relationship. There's a strong magnetic attraction between both couples and I think it's to fix one another and, in a strange kind of way, they do fix each other.
How does Jackson and Lola's relationship work?
It was lovely when I first got the scripts and I thought about Lola and Jackson and why they'd been put together. Also, how it would work with them being together because they've got a really important job to do, so they have to put aside how they feel personally and put the job first. When you're living in somebody's pocket that can be a really difficult thing to do. I think they work because they have different opinions, because they teach each other something new every single day and they're allowed to argue with one another. That's the beautiful thing about this relationship and it's the most lovely thing that Babou and I have found playing Lola and Jackson. You would normally find the arguments and honesty that they have with each other in a husband and wife relationship on television. What they find and what bonds them is a mutual respect through being flawed, broken and a little lost. There's an openness and honesty about them as well as a brutal quality, which makes them the best pairing and the best partnership.
What production elements stand out for you?
They're dealing with a dark side of the story by honouring it beautifully with the photography and the lighting. The beautiful pinks and greens and blues, which is lovely. Visually it's quite luminous and bright. There's no holding back on the dark side of it or the horror side of it because if we hold back on that, you have to hold back on the lighter side of the story and the drama, which would be a shame. It needs to be 100% and 100% to bring it together.
Why do we all love crime drama?
I think we are fascinated by crime drama because it's that classic example of when you are in car crash and the first thing that somebody says to you is get out and don't look behind you. The first thing that we do, as human beings, is that sick thing of looking behind us to see what's happened because it's just in our DNA. We are a curious species. The story is what the story is, but what makes it really special and unique and authentic is the character and the relationship and you have that in abundance in this show.
Who are your favourite police or criminal duos?
My favourite police duo is Cagney and Lacey, without a doubt. Much like We Hunt Together, it wasn't about the crime or the plot. Instead it's about relationship for both parties. That's what is so attractive about this project. So, Cagney and Lacey would be up there and then the crime duo, without doubt is Breaking Bad - Jesse and Walter.