My Night Manager role 'lacked dimension' at first, says Elizabeth Debicki

The Night Manager star Elizabeth Debicki has said she had to make her character more interesting because she was “lacking in dimension” in author John le Carre’s book.

The Australian actress played Jed Marshall, the girlfriend of arms dealer Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie) in the BBC thriller, based on le Carre’s 1993 novel of the same name.

She told Radio Times: “When we set out to make The Night Manager, we were all very aware that in the book – and John le Carre doesn’t mind me saying so, he’s said it to me before – Jed was quite lacking in dimension.

“I just don’t think she was his focus.”

Elizabeth Debicki (Matt Crossick/PA)

The actress, 26, said in that genre women can become just “a strange projection of male fantasy”.

“They don’t seem to think or feel anything; if something ripples their surface, they instantly recover,” she said.

“And you wonder where their soul is, really.

“I wouldn’t know how to play a role like that, I’m more of a mining actress, trying to find what’s underneath and bring it out.”

Elizabeth said Susanne Bier, who directed the espionage drama, helped her bring out something deeper in the character.

She said: “Watching it back now, there’s this interesting strain through the story, about motherhood, maternal instinct and maternal love, what the meaning of life really is.

“You need that when you’re dealing with a story about the arms race and men killing men, and men looking for meaning.

“We didn’t sit down and say, ‘We’ve got to make that character interesting,’ she just became interesting.”

The Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday.


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