Interview with Fionn Whitehead (Pip) in Great Expectations — Premieres Today on Sunday, March 26

Arriving on Hulu in the U.S. and BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Sunday, March 26

PHOTO: (Image: BBC/FX Networks/Pari Dukovic)

[Published: 21 March 2023]



Can you tell us about Pip and the journey he goes on in Great Expectations?
When we meet Pip he's quite young and he is a very enthusiastic, excited kid in a lot of ways, although also quite unsatisfied. He's unsatisfied with where he is, what he's been born into and has these aspirations for travelling the world, seeing the Empire, going to Cairo to become a gentleman and escaping the situation he's in, which is not a particularly happy one at home. He lives with his sister and her husband – they’re a slightly dysfunctional family. I think he's a character who's possibly going through a lot of grief as well, like the death of other family members years before. As the story goes on, it's just him trying to shake that off and trying to become his own person and make his way in London.

Can you tell us about the relationship between Pip and Miss Havisham and what it's been like working with Olivia Colman?

Pip is pretty scared of Miss Havisham at first. She's an intimidating figure to him. He wants to learn from her and recognises that she is his only way into a world that he otherwise wouldn’t have access to. So, he bears her so that he can get as much information out of her, but is also really wary of her. When you see Olivia done up as Miss Havisham she is such an intimidating character, completely opposite to Olivia in real life, who is unbelievably lovely, kind and hilarious. I've had such an amazing time working with her.

How has it been working alongside Shalom Brune-Franklin?

Pip is kind of obsessed with Shalom’s character even though she is quite intimidating, harsh and cold with him. This couldn't be further from the truth in real life. Shalom is a brilliant actor and so kind; we get on really well and have a real laugh in between takes. It’s been great to be able to switch in and out of that because it would be exhausting to be really cold with each other the whole time, but we've been able to have a really good time.

What’s the dynamic like between Pip, Magwitch & Jaggers?

The dynamic between Pip and Jaggers is like an abusive relationship. Pip does everything Jaggers says and commits all kinds of terrible acts for and with Jaggers because he thinks that this is what he should do to become a gentleman. But, as it goes on, he starts to draw out the humanity in Jaggers and see that he's not as clear cut as he first appears. He's not just evil and, actually, some of the things he does he does for reasons that he tries not to let onto anyone, and I think that Pip breaks through some of that. With Magwitch, Pip doesn't really have very much to do with him. He's a very influential figure in his early life and I think that really affects him. That initial interaction really affects him throughout his life. I think it shakes him up because it's the first time he's experienced anyone who is completely out of his world, who is nothing to do with his village or where he's from.

Tell us about a moment that made you laugh on set?

We shot in Drummle’s office for about a week and we didn't really leave the building or room for that time. One of the days I was getting hysterical and couldn't stop laughing. There was a shot of Wemmick, played by Rudi, who is naturally hilarious, and all he had to do was spread butter on a piece of toast… But the intense eye contact he was making with me, while spreading the butter was just killing me and I just couldn't keep it together. I think I laughed for a solid 20 minutes.


Coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Sunday 26 March.

The six-part limited series will premiere on March 26 exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. and feature the first two episodes on that date.

Source BBC One

March 26, 2023 3:00am ET by BBC One  


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