TV

Emma Booth and Ewen Leslie reveal Stan's new series The Gloaming is unlike anything we've seen on Australian TV

''I feel 'hashtag blessed' – but I actually do''

By Tina Burke
Anyone who's seen the trailer for Stan's latest original series The Gloaming would be right in thinking it's unlike anything they've seen before.
The thrilling new drama combines elements of the supernatural with gory crime. Not to mention, it boasts a stellar cast.
This "whydunnit" thriller follows two Tasmanian detectives, Molly McGee (Emma Booth) and Alex O'Connell (Ewen Leslie). The pair are driven to solve a horrific murder which connects the past and the present in a world of superstition and supernatural forces.
We caught up with Emma and Ewen ahead of the show's New Year's Day release, to find out more about what's in store for viewers.
The trailer is a little bit terrifying – it doesn't look like this show is for the faint-hearted…
Emma: It's pretty full on. but it's great drama throughout the whole show as well. There are lots of different elements; it's not just blood and gore. It's not for the faint-hearted but boy is it entertaining, that's a fact. You've got the drama, a bit of a love story going on, as well as the supernatural element and then really creepy, cool, crime. It's done really well.
Ewen: It's not eight hours of terror.
Alex O'Connell (Ewen Leslie) and Molly McGee (Emma Booth). Image: Supplied
What's the mood like on set when you have to film those crime and supernatural scenes?
Emma: Funny, usually funny and pretty chill.
Ewen: Incredibly un-scary and, this is the most obvious thing to say, but it's all so technical. The directors were a lot of fun and I think the darker the subject matter the more fun you have between takes.
Emma: You have to, or you'll go crazy. What we were tackling was pretty full on, so there was a lot of joking on set.
It seems unlike anything else we've had on Australian TV before. Is that how you see it?
Emma: Absolutely, I think it's up there with all of the best international shows and that's what they've aimed for with this. They want to make a show that can hold itself internationally and they've showcased Tasmania and Australia in the most beautiful way.
We've really made something that we probably weren't able to make a few years ago, but because of Stan and the rise of streaming services we've been able to really create shows and extend our talents with these projects, which has been amazing, because I've never come across scripts like this before.
We're trying to compete with them, overseas, and we've got so much talent in Australia it's like, let us show you what we can do. Now Australia can finally show the world that we can make these incredible shows as well and it makes me proud.
Ewen: And the great thing is the directors we had are all genre nuts. They know this genre back to front and they're very good at playing in to it but they're also equally good at subverting it. Things you expect are going to happen don't, or when they do happen they happen way earlier than you expect.
Ewen says The Gloaming subverts expectations. Image: Supplied
What appealed to you about your characters?
Ewen: Well the first thing that drew me to the show was the script, the first episode that was sent to us for the audition. The fact that Vicki Madden was doing it, I knew it would be sort of out of the box and left of centre, not necessarily what you'd expect. And also the characters were so particular and peculiar and specific.
I think a lot of the time with these sort of high concept shows the idea will be really intricate and detailed and then the characters will be like "and they're two cops." But you read it and you went these are two very detailed characters and I wanted to go on the journey with them.
Emma: Really multi-faceted and nuanced characters and, for me, a really ballsy female lead – and they don't come along very often. The Me Too movement is changing things in that area as well, because there are so many female characters coming along and to get one, like Molly, I feel 'hashtag blessed' – but I actually do. It's a dream role.
And it's tough, some people think acting is kind of easy but it is hard work. We're up at 3:30am a lot, 15 to 16 hour days, learning pages and pages of dialogue and you're going through some pretty serious emotions. It's not easy but it's worth it if you get to be on a show like The Gloaming. It was a tough shoot but it was an amazing shoot at the same time.
Emma calls Molly "badass". Image: Supplied
Those parts really don't come along for women all too often. Emma, was the chance to play such an intelligent and unique woman the major draw card for you?
Emma: Yeah she's incredibly intelligent, she has this amazing memory and I loved that about her, but she's just crazy. She's messy, she's unpredictable, she breaks the law but she's a detective.
These people are a bit crazy but in the best way possible and I thought, okay, I can really get my hands dirty with her and figure out why she's like this. There's always a reason that people are the way they are, and we get to delve into that.
There's also an incredible cast. What was it like to be working alongside all these amazing actors?
Ewen: It was a pretty amazing group of actors. You've got Aaron Pedersen playing our Police Chief, you know I've been a big fan of his and I've wanted to work with him for a long time.
Rena Owen I saw in Once Were Warriors when I was 15 and you know I was blown away by Matt. So many amazing actors in this and we're really blessed. You really are as good as the people around you and we all lifted each other's game. And you know I felt very blessed to watch Emma work every day... you learn a lot.
Aaron Pedersen as the police chief in The Gloaming. Image: Supplied
The Gloaming is part of a big line-up of Stan Originals. Are you proud to be in the mix?
Yes, and the quality of them is amazing. Every single one is absolutely international quality and they're entirely different. Stan have just come on to the world stage with a bang. We're hoping we can get to continue it with season two.
The show is premiering on New Year's Day. Why should people tune in and watch it straight away?
Emma: Because it's awesome. No [laughs].
Ewen: The entire series is dropping on New Year's Day. You're going to wake up, you probably had a great night and you're probably going to be a bit vulnerable, you'll be looking for something to watch and I promise you if you binge this show on New Year's Day you will certainly go on a ride with it… that you'll be glad you did.
Emma: It's got everything. I'd say it's got everything, this show, and if you're a fan of creepy then you're gonna Love this.
All episode of the Stan Original Series The Gloaming are available on Stan on New Year's Day.