As a TV company, Netflix is known for doing things a little differently. The less generous critics joke that it’s easy to get something greenlit by the streaming service, whereas others recognise that Netflix simply offers more creative freedom to, well, its creatives. To coincide with the release of The Innocents, a supernatural drama which launched a few weeks ago, we sat down with Guy Pearce to not only learn about his role as the enigmatic Dr Halvorsen in the show, but also to find out what it’s like working with one of the biggest, most progressive companies in entertainment.
“They really leave you alone,” he explains. “They trust you to go away and do what it is you’ve talked about doing. And off you go and you do it.” Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, and the result is often some of the most honest and creative TV around. The Innocents itself, which deals with the story of Harry and June - teenagers who run away together - is testament to the notion of letting the actual idea dictate the show. After all, when you consider that June is a shapeshifter, the network really needs an open mind to give it the thumbs up.
“They were much more supportive and invested than we imagined they might be,” says Hania Elkington, one of the show’s creators, during another interview with GR. “They had the creative vision and the clout to embrace this very odd hybrid of a show, and to say ‘Ok, we trust you to make this show… off you go’.” Simon Duric, the show’s other creator, adds more clarity: “All the way through they kept saying: ‘Keep telling the story you pitched to us’. They never tried to turn us off course.”
This was definitely for the best. Guy Pearce’s character - Halvorsen - may have made less progressive networks uncomfortable. Without giving too much away, he turns out to be something far darker than you expect at the start, and mixed with the Young Adult subject matter, it can make for very uncomfortable viewing towards the end. “I see Halvorsen more as a big kid than a parent. He’s obviously quite bright, but I see him as someone stuck in their emotional and ethical place in the world. And someone who isn’t mature enough to fit into the British medical community.”
He adds: “Obviously something’s happened where he’s pushed the boundaries too much, and he’s been pushed aside”. It’s safe to say that his practices don’t improve much during the course of the show…
The Innocents season 1 is available now on Netflix, globally. And you can check out the best shows on Netflix right here.