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Posted on April 2nd, 2018 by admin

Actor David Morrissey is the first to admit that the concept for his latest TV drama will require “a leap of the imagination”.

The City & The City, an adaptation of China Miéville’s 2009 fantasy novel, is described as a “mind-bending, genre-busting thriller”, which portrays two divided cities where communities live cheek by jowl – but choose what they see and “unsee”.

Citizens of each city can dimly make out the other, but are forbidden on pain of severe penalties (administered by a Stasi-like police force, known simply as Breach) to notice it.

But while it’s a fantasy drama, David believes that The City & The City contains some universal themes and morals.

“It’s a very different world. You’re not allowed to acknowledge anyone from the other city – you don’t look at each other, you don’t share anything with them,” explains David, 53, best known for his roles in BBC1’s The Missing and Sky One’s Britannia.

“But I don’t think you have to go too far to understand the idea of people living in a metropolis where they just don’t see or hear other people. I think we do it all the time. This story is a metaphor for how we live.”

In the new, four-part BBC2 series, David plays Inspector Tyador Borlú, a detective in the Extreme Crime Squad of the fictional European city of Besźel, who investigates the death of a foreign student

He soon discovers that the dead girl came from Besźel’s sister city, Ul Qoma – and, as it may have involved illegal passage between the two cities, that is a matter for Breach. But Borlú is unwilling to let the case go.

He travels to UI Qoma, where the young girl came from, working alongside their police force to solve the case, while also attempting to find answers relating to the disappearance of his wife.

“Tony Grisioni [who adapted the book for screen] has brought a different element to my character that doesn’t exist in the book – a history,” explains David.

“He has a wife and that wife gives him an emotional attachment, a journey. He is a lost mand heartbroken man, and he knows that solving this case will solve whatever happened to his wife.”

But finding answers isn’t easy. Borlú has to navigate a different world in UI Qoma, with different people – a different language, even – and a new set of rules.

“They are cities that share a geographic footprint, but otherwise are entirely separate, and they have very distinct looks. My character’s city, Besźel, is 1970s in its feel, and is slightly dirty and grubby. The other city is all chrome and glass, almost Swiss in its cleanliness, and completely in denial of any social disorder or poverty.

“On top of that, there’s the rumour – in both cities – of a third place. It’s a place that is historical, a bit like a Roman settlement that existed before these two cities were there. There’s an idea of being held by your city, of a conspiracy going on.”

David filmed the series on location in both Manchester and in his home city of Liverpool – a place he says is “in his bones” – working alongside a stellar supporting cast, such as Lara Pulver (Sherlock, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams), who plays his wife Katrynia, and Mandeep Dhillon (Some Girls), who plays Constable Corwi of the Besźel Policzai.

It’s the latest high-profile role for David, who started his acting career in Channel 4’s One Summer in 1983 before going on to star in The Hollow Crown, The 7.39 and The Walking Dead. He’s also appeared in movies such as The Other Boleyn Girl and Welcome To The Punch.

The last couple of years have been particularly busy for the star, who is married to novelist Esther Freud (with whom he has three children), as he’s taken on parts in The Missing and Britannia. He’s currently on stage in Julius Caesar at The Bridge Theatre on London’s South Bank. He admits that he’s hopeful The City & The City will be granted another series, too.

“The worlds are so rich and the characters are so wonderful – you really care about them and you get drawn into this story. I’d love for it to go on.”




Source: The Express

Recent Projects

Character: Captain Vincent
Status: Released 2019

Character: Inspector Tyador Borlú
Status: Series 1 DVD available on amazon. Series 2 being filmed

Character: Aulus
Status: Series 1 available on DVD

Character: Mark Antony
Status: Completed

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