Actors / Interviews / Pop Culture / Television / Video

Gary Carr – Using Peripheral Vision

Gary Carr pictured at the Odeon Luxe West End, Leicester Square for the special screening of The Peripheral ahead of its launch on Prime Video on Friday 21st October.

Gary Carr

Using Peripheral Vision

by Jay S. Jacobs

The new futuristic action drama The Peripheral on Amazon Prime Video either takes place in a futuristic London and North Carolina, or in a virtual reality video game, or perhaps in just a very strange mind trip.

Based on the novel by William Gibson, it tells the story of Flynne Fisher (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young waitress and gamer who is given an experimental VR headset, which brings her into the middle of an extremely realistic (but also surrealistically different) city of London, a place that looks similar but also has many differences. For one thing, the city is dotted with huge, unfinished statues. Also there are very few people at any given space.

Flynne quickly learns that the new headset and “game” is abnormally realistic. She feels pleasure and pain and fatigue and anything else she would if she were really experiencing things. She finds herself dropped into the middle of a political quagmire, which leads to danger not just in the new simulation, but also in her real small town.

Flynne’s guide through this new world is Wilf, played by Gary Carr. Of course, he knows much more than he is telling her, leading her to wonder if he is an ally or an opponent in the intrigue which she finds herself submersed into. Wilf is another interesting role for the London-born actor Carr, who has been making a name in movies like 21 Bridges and Bolden, as well as such TV series as The Deuce, Trigonometry, Death in Paradise and Downton Abbey.

The day before the first season finale of The Peripheral, we caught up with Gary Carr on Zoom to discuss the series.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 11: (L-R) Gary Carr, Chloë Grace Moretz and Jack Reynor attend “The Peripheral” red carpet premiere and screening at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Prime Video)

What was it about The Peripheral that intrigued you and made you want to be a part of it?

The first thing was the team. I’m a massive fan of [executive producers] John [Nolan], Lisa [Joy], and Athena [Wickham]. All their work, especially John has worked with feature films, not just television. So, before they even pitched the project to me, I had already said yes in my mind. (laughs) Then once they pitched the project and told me about the concept, I thought it was super cool. I then read the novel straight after meeting with the team. I was super excited after reading the novel. I think William Gibson is a brilliant writer. I’d never read a science fiction novel before. I don’t know why it took so long, but I’m really grateful that that was my introduction. That’s pretty much all the reasons why. Then after reading the scripts, I thought they did a great job of adapting the novel. I was wary about the character Wilf, because in the novel, he’s very passive. I wasn’t too excited about playing a character that is so passive, but I think in the adaptation in the series, it’s deeper than that. There are more layers. I found that there was a human being that I could portray, and I thought that was really cool.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 11: Gary Carr, Chloë Grace Moretz attends The Peripheral red carpet premiere and screening at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Frawley/Prime Video)

He is a very fascinating character. To a certain extent, like you said, he is passive. In what ways were you most comfortable playing him? And what parts of Wilf’s character did you find hardest to get a handle on as an actor?

I find the whole thing challenging because I’ve never played a character that was so still, whose main job in every scene is to not show any emotion. You never know what his thought pattern or process is. You never know what his opinion is unless he says. Even if when he does say, you’re not sure if he’s being truthful. I thought that was really intriguing, but also very challenging to play. But I like challenges as an actor. I do love the character. I love the way the character fits within the world. Because he’s in this like really crazy… the audience don’t really discover what world he’s living in until I guess like episode seven, really, when things start to land. Then it clicks on me. I’m like, wow, this is kind of crazy, this reality. Then you do get a bit of his backstory, as well, his history. When you compare that to how he presents, I think that’s really interesting. It’s like, wow, this guy’s so still. He really doesn’t give much away. I thought that was really cool and interesting to play.

JJ Feild, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gary Carr, Charlotte Riley, and Jack Reynor attend The Peripheral Special Screening in London. (Photo by Andrew Timms/Prime Video)

Was it interesting playing in so many different London areas with very few people around? Was the desolation a little bit weird in these places that are normally so crowded?

(laughs) It definitely worked for the piece. But London’s my home, so I’ve seen London like that many times. Like going home, after maybe drinking too much. (laughs again) Or early hours of the morning. Even when I was on my grind, and I was working and had to get up super early and work two jobs. I’ve seen London in all in all these different forms and states. So it wasn’t strange to me at all. But one thing I was really happy about was that it did work for the show. The whole point is that the population has decreased hugely. It was great to be in these central parts of London, that are usually generally populated and there was no one there. It was eerie. It really added to the tone of the piece. So, I was happy about that actually. I wasn’t happy that it was during COVID, but I was happy about [the sense of isolation].

What was it like filming during COVID? That obviously must have affected the set.

Yeah, it affected the set, in terms of the dynamic because it becomes quite militant. There are all these protocols that you’d have to follow. You also have to wear masks constantly and so interactions are different. One thing about any project is that you become a family after a few weeks. You’re all on this thing together. You mean so much to everyone. Everyone’s all in it and committed. One thing that before COVID which is really nice is that you spend a lot of time with crew and cast off the set. You get to know each other. There’s all that camaraderie and everything. There was none of that. It was literally like jump in the car, go home. That was strange, but again, in a weird way it helped. It helped the dynamic and it helped the tone and the pitch of the show. It worked in our favor, I think, but it definitely was challenging shooting during COVID.

Gary Carr and Chloe Grace Moretz in “The Peripheral.”

Yeah, I think so too. What was Chloe like to work with? She and you had some really interesting scenes together.

Chloe is the biggest sweetheart. She’s so cool. She’s so chill. So down to earth. We geek out on a lot of the same things. We’re both foodies. We both love music. We love film. Even though we’re actors, we’re big fans of film as well. We spoke a lot about all that stuff all day. She’s a geek for most things, actually. She’s so well studied and so interested in so many things. So, we’re really wired, and I really enjoyed working with her. We have a lot of chemistry offset, which is really interesting. Because I think our characters, there’s chemistry there, but because of Wilf and his character, he’s never going to let you know that. That’s really interesting. We actually do we like [each other]. We really got on and had a great time shooting. It’s been really great getting to know her and work with her and watch her work as well. I think she’s awesome. She’s so great.

It’s a fantastic cast in general, who are some of the other people that really were incredible to work with?

Definitely, like the characters that play Ash (Katie Leung) and Ossian (Julian Moore-Cook) and Lev (JJ Feild). I think they’re all great. Julian Moore-Cook, he’s fantastic. And Alexandra Billings (who plays Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer). Actually, everyone that I share the screen with I thought was fantastic. Yeah, I love to work with everyone. The cast is so strong. The team did a great job of casting these roles. There are people that I didn’t act with, but I’ve been able to watch their performances and I think they’ve done a great job. I think everyone’s so strong. There isn’t, in my opinion, a weak link. Even if there was, I would never say, but I do think this is a great cast. I’m really grateful to be part of it.

Gary Carr and Chloe Grace Moretz in “The Peripheral.”

The season finale is coming up. Without giving away any spoilers, what can people expect from that last episode?

The really vague answer, I guess, is they can expect some answers to some of the questions that I imagine they have. They can also expect way more questions (laughs) to arise because new things are presented. Like any good series, I think the last episode should leave you thinking [about] what’s yet to happen, what’s going to happen, what will develop. Maybe more of the same in terms of cool science fiction stuff and action sequences. Although, I know lots changed since I read the final draft. We did additional shooting and all that stuff. So, actually, I really don’t know what happens in the last episode.

Is there any word about whether there might be a second season coming up? Or is that still too early to say?

I promise you; I’m telling you the truth; I have no idea. No one’s told me and I’ve definitely asked. No one’s hinted or said anything. I would love if we did another series. Especially for me as an actor, I feel like the first season of anything is really everyone just finding it. Finding their groove and finding the character. Trying to root everything, make it grounded. But sometimes it does take a whole series to do that. Now we can apply everything that we’ve learned into another series, hopefully. I hope so. It’d be great to do a few more seasons of this. I think it’s a really cool show.

Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 2, 2022.

Photos by © 2022 by Andrew Timms, Matt Winkelmeyer, Chris Frawley and Sophie Mutevelian. Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video. All rights reserved.

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