Interview with Matthew Beard who plays Max Liebermann in Vienna Blood

The second series of Vienna Blood (3 x 90’) will air on BBC Two this winter



Where do we find Max in season two?

Having just set up his own private practice, we find Max experimenting with Freud's new talking cure and various psychoanalytic techniques. But he’s also still at the hospital, where he works with patients, more interested in the mind than the body. And he still has a relationship with Oskar that he carries through from the first season.

How is Max and Oskar’s relationship this season?

As we leave Max and Oskar in the first season Max asks what the next case will be - so Max is hoping that he’ll still be able to be involved in criminal investigations. He then goes off to form his own private practice and starts seeing patients. But I think is quite relieved when Oskar appears and asks for some help because he secretly misses the thrill of the crime scenes.

In the first season Max is very much a burden to Oskar - in the early episodes he has to look after this guy who keeps talking about the mind and psychology and Freud. In the second season their relationship has matured, and Oskar comes to Max to ask for help.

How did you prepare for the role this time?

Preparation for the role was strange on this one because I’ve never really revisited a character before, and there’s obviously a slight worry that you won’t find him again. But I find Vienna is the key; as soon as I got out there - after about a week in preproduction - Max sort of just came back. Meeting the crew and actors again and putting the costume on (crucially getting in these high collars which immediately affect your posture and make you sit differently) made a difference too. It’s all these little things that really bring the character back.

How was filming during Covid?

Filming during Covid is very strange, much like existing in the world during Covid. It’s very bizarre not being able to see people’s mouths when they’re talking. Remembering names is a little bit harder and meeting lots of new people but only seeing them above the nose is tricky. But you sort of forget about it after a little while and get used to it. It is still a big relief when we get to take our masks off at the end of the day and breathe some fresh air in the outside world.

What’s special about Vienna Blood?

This period, these few years that we set the show in, are so interesting and the backdrop to our stories are so cinematic I think it makes for good TV. But I also think the central relationship of Max and Oskar, that double act, is a template old as time, and will forever be used because it’s entertaining (I hope!) I think the films are a good diversion from all the horrible stuff in the world. It’s a nice bit of escapism.

Are you drawn to period drama?

I think there is something in me that enjoys the sort of academic side of acting: researching things, reading about people and places. I’m very nosy, so it’s fun for me to dive into a period and find out all about it. This period in particular is so fun to research and to read about. Once I got to Vienna, to actually go to the galleries and see the art was great. Yes, I think there’s something in me drawn to the past.

What’s your on-screen family like?

My on-screen family are lovely both on and off-screen. I knew of Conleth a bit through mutual friends before we filmed and it was so fun getting to know and work with him. Amelia I’ve always admired as an actress and it was so great to have her as my mum. Charlene was just the bonus cherry on top, and she’s a giggle too. I think we make a really good unit.

For me, I’m working predominantly with Austrian actors and that’s been an incredible experience. I’ve been so astounded by their abilities in a second language. I usually have a week where I film all the family stuff together, and the English and Irish actors fly over and it feels almost like a separate show when you’re making it. It’s such a lovely experience hanging out with them as well and seeing Vienna through their eyes.

Would you have made a good psychologist?

I’m not sure if I would make a good psychologist. I’m quite nosy so I certainly would ask a lot of questions, but I’m not sure I’d have many answers. Possibly not the best therapist, no. But I was very interested in that, pre-Vienna Blood. I did English Literature at university and a lot of my essays were using psychoanalysis with literature. And before that I did psychology A-level so there has always been something interested in that inside me. But whether I would be any good… I don’t know, probably not!

Source BBC TWO

November 10, 2021 7:58am ET by BBC TWO  


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