‘Hard Sun,’ a British crime drama and co-production between BBC and Hulu, held its American premier Wednesday, February 28th at Regal Union Square in New York.
The show depicts the strained relationship between two mismatched detectives, DCI Charlie Hicks (Jim Sturgess)and DCI Elaine Renko (Agyness Deyn), as they uncover a government secret—the world ends in five years. We caught up with the cast and creators on the red carpet.
Kate Harwood (Executive Producer)
So this is a co-production between Hulu and BBC. How does that work exactly?
KH: We worked on this right from the beginning with Hulu. They were really, really involved and gave us absolutely upfront notes on the script, on filming, on character, on casting, on everything. It’s a conversation; it’s a constant, constant conversation. Neil lives in New Zeland, and I’m in London, the BBC’s in London, Hulu’s here. We used to say we were talking ‘Hard Sun’ around the clock. ‘Hard Sun’ never sleeps.
Neil Cross (Writer, Executive Producer)
Do you approach ‘Hard Sun’ and ‘Luther’ differently?
NC: Yeah… I was trying to think of a better and wittier answer, but yes. I’ve got separate compartments in my head. It’s like, you know when you’ve eaten a huge meal and there’s still room for ice cream? It’s like that with ‘Hard Sun’ and ‘Luther’; they belong in different parts of my head. I can’t articulate what bits belong where or why—they just do.
Where did the idea for the show come from?
NC: I had the idea for the characters before I had the idea for the format. Do you remember a show called ‘Moonlighting’? See, nobody remembers ‘Moonlighting.’ It was huge! It was Bruce Willis—it was the show that made Bruce Willis famous—and Cybill Shepherd. It was a bit of a will-they-won’t-they romance, and for two seasons the whole world was kind of, “will they, wont they, will they, wont they,” and then they did, and everybody stopped caring. I wanted to do an anti-‘Moonlighting.’ I wanted to do a show where the two characters hated each other from the beginning, disliked each other, feared each other, but were forced together through circumstance. You know they’re never going to be friends, they’re never going to be lovers, they’re never going to trust each other—but you really want them to.
Tell me about your character.
JS: I play a character called Charlie Hicks, DCI Hicks, who is a working class guy from London. He’s grown up in the sort of rougher areas, and basically he could’ve either gone down a criminal route in his life, I imagine, or would’ve chosen to join the police force at an early age. He’s really kind of gone through the ranks in the police force and really has feet on the ground. He’s very comfortable around criminal activity. It makes for an interesting backstory.
What’s the dynamic between DCI Hick’s and DCI Renko, Agyness’s character?
JS: There’s friction from the off because she’s come a very opposite way into the police force. She’s come from an academic route. People like my character are few and far between because now you have to take a degree in order to become a detective. There’s immediate animosity between the two characters; she’s also trying to fill in the position of his best friend, who we discover has been murdered. It’s not an easy shoe to fill.
What sets ‘Hard Sun’ apart from other detective shows?
JS: What I love about it is that it actually feels like a classic detective show and it leads you down that sort of path. And then very quickly you discover—they come across this information, this government withheld information that the world’s going to end in five years, and that changes everything. Now it becomes something completely different.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this question five-thousand times by now, but what would you do if the world was ending in five years?
JS: Travel would definitely be one thing. I would try to go to places I would never normally be allowed to. I’d go to North Korea or something. I’d deface everything. I’d sort of break in to interesting black buildings, I think. I would go and play football in the Emirates Stadium. I’d go and play a game of tennis at Wimbledon with a mate, you know? Play a rock gig at Wembley Stadium by myself.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
JS: There’s two films that I shot after ‘Hard Sun,’ a film called ‘JT,’ which is about the author JT Leroy, which I shot with Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, and then I did a thing called ‘Berlin, I love You,’ which is part of a trilogy. They did a thing called ‘New York, I Love You,’ and ‘Paris, je t’aime,’ and it’s basically a collection of short films all based around the city. Ten different filmmakers make ten short films.
Tell me about your character.
AD: Elaine Renko—she’s enigmatic, genderless, androgynous, strong, quick-minded, unapologetic. She fights for what she believes in and doesn’t back down. She’s super intelligent and thinks in a different way than everyone else, which enables her to exist within the realm of Hicks.
This was your first television performance. How did you find it, the serialized format?
AD: It was really good, working with great people. I’ve only done movies before, so it’s a lot of content. It was a little shock to the system, but exhilarating to be one character for so long.
Was there any training that went into your role?
AD: I did boxing, krav maga, Korean stick and knife—but then at the end of the day it basically boiled down to the stunt team and learning the dance.
What would you do with five years left before the end of the world?
AD: I wouldn’t do anything crazy. I think I would just go and see as many things as I could and be with friends and family. I don’t think I would go nuts and start like gambling or doing loads of drugs. I think I would try and keep it chill.
‘Hard Sun’ premiers on Hulu March 7th.