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When I’m In Love, I’m A Total Idiot

Creator Victor Levin and star Andrea Riseborough discussed their Masterpiece on PBS miniseries Alice & Jack at Deadline Contenders TV on Saturday. Riseborough plays Alice and Domhnall Gleeson plays Jack in the six-episode show that follows their relationship over 16 years. Riseborough said she often is frustrated that most conventional love stories worry about making the characters likable and perfectly moral.

“I know when I’m in love, I’m a total idiot and have no ability to behave even remotely like a normal human,” she said. “Everyone deserves to be a protagonist in their own love story.”

Riseborough acknowledged that Alice tends to close herself off to Jack’s love.

“I think we do that,” she said. “If you have the courage, you can courageously, truly love someone, you often protect them from yourself in certain ways. She has quite a lot of damage. In the most loving way, although the fallout is very painful, she pushes him away.”

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Levin said he wanted to explore a relationship between people who do not immediately come together. Levin began by writing the first and last script. The middle was just a prose outline.

“That was sort of the point, that it went on for all those years and yet there was still trouble,” Levin said. “Many love stories play out over shorter time span. What happens if you have a look at a significant portion of a life? People who come in and go out of each other’s lives, their situations having changed, their thoughts about love having changed. How would that change your story?”

Riseborough and Gleeson committed to Alice & Jack five years ago. Over the course of development, Riseborough noticed Alice reflecting more of her real self.

“This was sort of a psychologically confusing experiment for me,” she said. “It was a unique experience.”

Gleeson and Riseborough had known each other almost as long as Alice and Jack. They co-starred in 2010’s Never Let Me Go and 2012’s Shadowdancer.

“I’ve seen him grow up and he’s seen me grow up together in the same industry,” Riseborough said. “He’s a wonderful friend. He and I have both experienced a great love like this. So to walk through that narrative holding the hand of a friend was very special.”

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