Interview with Christopher Sweeney (Director) on The Tourist
The Series Start on BBC1 on Saturday, January 1, 2022 at 9pm
It will run for six episodes with each dropping on the iPlayer after they have aired
In the U.S. the series is set to air on HBO Max, but there is no release date yet
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Why did you want to be involved in this project?
I wanted to get involved in The Tourist because I got sent the first episode and I read page one and it was extraordinary. I couldn’t put it down ‘til the end. It was really thrilling, funny and clever and you just never get scripts like that.
What was your reaction to first reading the script?
I was really thrilled, I was gripped, I was tearing through the script, but I was laughing loads. These characters were brilliantly unique, quirky and strange. It reminded me a lot of films like No Country for Old Men and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It has this incredible, very specific quality that I just thought was very unique.
What is it about Jack & Harry Williams’ writing that actors and audiences love so much?
The thing that audiences and actors love about Jack and Harry’s writing is that they’re really good at their job. They know exactly how to deliver on emotion, character, and thrilling reveals of plot, while keeping it funny at the same time. They manage to keep all these balls in the air, and they have been writers since such a young age, they’re experts at every different corner of the craft. It’s rare to find that, so when you get a script of theirs, it’s just a cut above everyone else’s.
How did you go about setting the look, feel and aesthetic tone of the series?
Setting the look and aesthetic tone of a series is quite instinctive. You read it and I see images in my head as I’m reading. This felt a bit like a western, but it has its own quality of also being set in Australia and the visuals in Australia are remarkable, so that came to life. We asked, what would it be like if we did that Western look, but put it in Australia? What would that be?
Harry, Jack and I talked a lot about how to make it together as a trio. We talked about trying to create this quality of it being timeless and we referenced lots of old Australian films set in the outback. We also referenced lots of Cohen brother stuff like Fargo, as well as unique films like In Bruges.
Why was it important for the series to be set in the Outback?
It’s important that the show is set in the outback because there aren’t that many places in the world that are as isolated as the Australian outback, both geographically and visually. This person, The Man, who wakes up in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t remember who he is – the way to make that person feel most isolated is to set it somewhere like the Australian outback. Plus, it’s not seen on film as much as places like Utah and big American deserts, so it felt like a really fresh and interesting way to do it.
How has the Australian landscape and conditions impacted the direction?
The landscape and the conditions of the outback affect your directing in two ways. One is that when you’re doing it, there’s extreme heat, it’s dry, and everywhere you want to film is really far from everything else, so there’s all of that to consider. But that’s fun, because you have amazing surroundings. But from a directing point of view, you have to make it look effortless and not let that affect the footage on screen. You need to hide the conditions in some respect, you just need to make it look beautiful. You’re governed by where the sun is, so you’re always trying to find the sun to get these amazing vistas.
What were some of the challenges involved in creating some of the stunt sequences?
We have big stunts like the big car chase, crash and explosions. I really like doing those things on camera. We had an amazing SFX and stunt team that helped us create those. If you can do it for real, it’s much more immersive so that’s always the ambition. How to make people at home feel like they are there with it.
What will make this show compelling to audiences?
It’s full of reveals, it’s mysterious, it’s tense, it’s full of suspense, but it’s also really funny. I think that people stick around for lovely relationships and characters, and this is full of them. It’s brilliantly, beautifully emotional while also keeping you on the edge of your seat. I think that’s extremely rare and not many shows and films can deliver on that, and this does in bucket loads.
What do you hope audiences will take away from the show?
At the end of the final episode I hope audiences will take away a complete sense of being on a massive journey, and of fulfilment. The amount of changes that go on for everybody is extraordinary, brilliant, emotionally satisfying, and will leave them wanting more. But who knows if there will be more?
Source BBC One
December 28, 2021 12:18pm ET by BBC One