Trainspotting legend Robert Carlyle has revealed that his new TV series was the hardest production he has ever worked on.
The Scottish actress has had intense roles over the years, including Trainspotting’s wild-eyed and unstable Begbie and Renaud, the Bond villain in The World Is Not Enough.
But in his 30 years in the industry, the most difficult time he has faced in production was the second production season of a political thriller. Cobra.
“It was very hard, the hardest I’ve ever been involved with,” Carlyle told news.com.au.
Second season Cobra, in which Carlyle plays the British Prime Minister, surrounded by many disasters as the country is subjected to a cyber attack by a foreign power, was filmed in Britain from the end of 2020, when Covid conquered the world.
– We also filmed in Manchester, which at the time was a kind of center for the whole thing in the UK.
“I was leaving my apartment straight to the studio and back, and it took five months. It was stressful when I knew this virus existed, and I was worried that if you get this thing, not just for yourself, the whole show would disappear.
In addition, the actor, who was born in Glasgow, lives in Vancouver, Canada (where Carlyle plays Stargate universe and Once upon a time based), so the difference between his family, his wife Anastasia and three children during the holidays was particularly difficult.
“There was a two-week break for Christmas and New Year to get people home, but I couldn’t because of quarantine regulations. There was no way I could go home and come back.
“It was the first time I spent Christmas and New Year without my family. There was extra sadness in the whole thing. “
If there was a downside to the experience, his personal isolation increased the intensity of his process and his on-screen character.
“It made me even more intense,” Carlyle explained. “I tend to be pretty like that anyway, very deep into things, immersing myself in characterization. [The five months of isolation] probably made it a more intense experience.
“It simply came to our notice then [my Cobra character Robert] Sutherland is always under tremendous pressure in this series.
The first season Cobra had finished production and was shipped before Covid was struck, and the story of the prime minister dealing with post-production of solar flares and personal scandals was a hit in the UK and became the most eaten series on its British Sky streaming platform.
After such a dramatic start, it’s hard to imagine how another season could increase the stakes – but creator and author Ben Richards found a way.
“There’s nothing like it,” Carlyle said. “There is no other similar political drama, I think that’s why there is a desire for it.”
Carlyle said Richards had even put forward before Covid the idea of the crippling effects of a pandemic – “Who would believe that?”
“He has a fantastic imagination, so anything he was going to come up with would be happy to join.”
The resulting second-season story of a devastating unexploded ordnance off the Kent coast that coincides with a complete cyber attack is a pulsating story that can barely breathe.
Carlyle didn’t know much about it before she dived into that world, but she sure knows now.
“Of course, I was aware that cyber attacks and cyber wars are real things,” he said. “But I hadn’t really thought about it to that extent and its impact on the infrastructure – the country’s political infrastructure, the communications system, the rescue services and even the nuclear facilities.
“I had no idea it was possible, and of course it is.
“It’s actually scary, this idea of a cyber attack on the ground. The question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’. You can see its effects all over the world in different countries, other forces interfering with it.”
On a personal level be involved Cobrathe story has made him more aware of his personal cybersecurity.
“My wife would say, ‘Have you upgraded your phone, have you upgraded your computer,’ and I wasn’t very good at it. I would be unhappy with it and would go several weeks before I did it, but after the show I’ve been very good at it.”
“I’m well aware of it now and in spite of that, thanks to Cobra and my wife.”
Cobra’s second season will now be streamed on Binge, Foxtel On Demand and Fetch, and new episodes will be available on BBC First on Tuesdays at 8.30pm.
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