Eric Interview: Benedict Cumberbatch & Gaby Hoffmann on Netflix Drama SuperNayr

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Eric stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Gaby Hoffmann about the Netflix series, which is now streaming. The six-part thriller drama also stars McKinley Belcher III, Dan Fogler, and Clarke Peters.

“Set in 1980s New York, Eric is a new emotional thriller from Abi Morgan following the desperate search of a father when his nine-year-old son disappears one morning on the way to school. Vincent, one of New York’s leading puppeteers and creator of the hugely popular children’s television show, ‘Good Day Sunshine,’ struggles to cope with the loss of his son, Edgar, becoming increasingly distressed and volatile,” says the synopsis for the show. “Full of self-loathing and guilt around Edgar’s disappearance, he clings to his son’s drawings of a blue monster puppet, Eric, convinced that if he can get Eric on TV then Edgar will come home. As Vincent’s progressively destructive behavior alienates his family, his work colleagues, and the detectives trying to help him, it’s Eric, a delusion of necessity, who becomes his only ally in the pursuit to bring his son home.”

Tyler Treese: Gaby, the argument scenes are just so intense. How was it going to this very vulnerable place with Benedict and showing that this marriage was really falling apart far before the disappearance?

Gaby Hoffmann: It was shockingly easy to start fighting with Benedict right off the bat [laughs]. No, really so much of it is there in the brilliant writing of Abi Morgan and then to have Lucy Forbes, the most capable director of all, to help guide us through it. But we talked a little bit about it leading in. We found a lot of it on our feet, of course, but it wasn’t too hard. The sort of nuts and bolts of where they were and why they were there made a lot of sense to us. I think we implicitly understood who they were to each other in this moment. So it was really just navigating the sort of details of the minutia, but it was a world that felt available pretty immediately.

Benedict Cumberbatch: I guess because there’s a sort of gradation of state and mental health and the developing crisis outside of the marriage that’s helping to implode it. It was really important to sort of navigate that and not be too shouty all the time or to the other where, where the elements of real danger, physicality, the staging of it was difficult. It was our first few weeks. I mean, it wasn’t difficult in the sense that, as Gaby’s saying, there was something very fluid about it, but in a TV schedule to sort of land a 10-year history falling apart in the first weeks, it’s the name of the game. It’s one of those things you just have to get on and do.

So questions were asked, and there were a couple of moments of going, “Hold on. The TV schedule. Hold on, hold on.” We just need to talk about the nuts and bolts of this ’cause I don’t know what I’m doing. You’d have to just pick certain bits apart. But like Gaby was saying, Abi and Lucy were there and amenable and provided the space and the safety, encouragement, and the elimination of ideas or the investigation of them to make it work. So it wasn’t a hardship in the end. Working with this one is an absolute dream, dream, dream, dream come true. She’s a game-raiser.

Benedict, your character is a puppeteer. We see the show you created, “Good Day Sunshine, ” you’re handling the puppets. How was it learning the basics and some puppeteering for this role?

Cumberbatch: Joyous. Joy of joys. It’s just one of those things. As a 47-year-old adult, you just kind of go, “Thank God I’m an actor, and I get to have an excuse to learn to do this.” How else would it be possible for me to have that kind of expertise at my disposal to try and give authenticity to those moments? To be working opposite someone as talented as, uh, as Olly [Taylor] was inside the suit was really important and phenomenal and inspiring. He’s a great actor, but he’s also an extraordinary manipulator of this medium. The combination meant that it was a real thing for me, and it wasn’t an awkward thing. T

here were some, for all of us, especially Olly and the team, really frustrating moments where the only vision he had was through these fixed-point cameras. So it’s rather like watching CCTV footage of yourself. He doesn’t see what we see with our normal peripheral, immediate foreground, and background focus. He’s just trapped in three lenses and still has to move around seeing what he’s doing as an effect. So the camera may be on his left, but he’s moving his right arm. He translated all that information into a full performance. I literally cried the first time I put it on to realize what he was struggling with, but he’s like, “Oh, it’s just what I do, you know?” So that was great. Yeah, it was a wonderful aspect of the job.


Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Gaby Hoffmann for our Eric interview.

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