'My Character Is a Much Better Woman Than I Am' Playing William Boyd's Heroine in Restless Is the Second Time Hayley Atwell Has Starred in One of His Adaptations for Television, the First Being Freya in Any Human Heart. for the Young Actress, Playing Eva Delectorskaya Was Another Career High

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 22, 2012 | Go to article overview

'My Character Is a Much Better Woman Than I Am' Playing William Boyd's Heroine in Restless Is the Second Time Hayley Atwell Has Starred in One of His Adaptations for Television, the First Being Freya in Any Human Heart. for the Young Actress, Playing Eva Delectorskaya Was Another Career High


When Hayley Atwell heard about Restless, she knew instinctively she wanted to be part of it.

The opportunity to play the lead in a BBC drama by one of the UK's most respected writers and dramatists, William Boyd, was a no-brainer and like her character in Any Human Heart, Atwell recognised Eva had the potential to be a career defining role.

"I see Eva as a strong, but incredibly vulnerable person which is true of most people.

"We are not just one thing; we have many different sides and many different identities, depending on what is required of us. Eva is a heroine and a very brave woman that I feel blessed to have spent time working on - she's a much better woman than I am!" The story is about Eva Delectorskaya, a young Russian emigre living in Paris, and what happens to her when she discovers her brother Kolia was murdered by the German Secret Service.

She finds herself disarmed by the charms of her brother's handler Lucas Romer and recruited as a British spy.

What follows is a story of passion, espionage and murder that spans 30 years and mixes real events with fiction in true Boyd form.

"I don't think Eva gets a chance to know who she is in many ways," adds the actress who brings her to life on the small screen.

"At the start of the story she's plucked from a very vulnerable situation of losing someone close to her and is offered the opportunity to have a different kind of life. It's new, exciting and scary."

Born out of tragedy, Eva discovers she is really very good at being a spy and enjoys it.

"I think it's a study on a woman's physiological journey as well as an emotional journey and one that has quite a lot of thrilling aspects to it, especially in the adventures that she embarks upon, not only for her own survival but the survival of people around her."

For Atwell, an excellent script is at the heart of any great story and she attributes much of what is exceptional about Restless to Boyd's attention to detail.

"There is one scene where Eva has been given these sandwiches which are chopped liver and onion and it is these little quaint details that Will feeds into his book that makes it so real.

"The art department then went off and got hold of some sandwiches and wrapped them in wax paper with string. I don't open them up or eat them in the scene, but in between takes I discover that they are actually chopped liver and onion; it's these small details that make a difference.

"Every time you open up Eva's handbag you find a perfect little cigarette holder, a silver lighter, some powder, blusher, a little nail file; all the period pieces. The audience won't necessarily see these in a scene, but all those little details make an actor feel that you are stepping into a world that has been fully created and it all started with Will on the page; with him wanting to create a very vivid world for people."

One of the key plotlines in Eva's parallel world and a little known real fact is that during the Second World War the British Secret Service ran a covert operation to try and persuade the US government that Germany was about to invade the US through central America. …

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'My Character Is a Much Better Woman Than I Am' Playing William Boyd's Heroine in Restless Is the Second Time Hayley Atwell Has Starred in One of His Adaptations for Television, the First Being Freya in Any Human Heart. for the Young Actress, Playing Eva Delectorskaya Was Another Career High
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