Jonah Breakspear (Arty Froushan) in 'Carnival Row' revels in the fact that his reckless actions cause discomfort to his parents Absalom (Jared Harris) and Piety (Indira Varma) Breakspear. He is unrepentant about rebelling against the expectations that come with being a chancellor's son but beneath all of that is insecurity. A nagging thought that his father doesn't find him worthy enough to be his heir.
Now, this rebel meets Sophie Longerbane (Caroline Ford) who is not all that meets the eye. She is ambitious, but her ambitions are buried under the shroud of being a lady who was locked in a library most of her life by her abusive father.
She has gained knowledge and is intellectual and she hopes to use all of this to be unburdened from her past and break free of it. She uses Jonah to serve her purposes, manipulates him nimbly and all of this while Jonah's father Absalom considers her initially to be his ally.
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), actors Froushan, Harris and Ford shared insights into their characters and how each one influenced the other in terms of portrayal, and characteristics.
Speaking about how Froushan and Harris worked on their onscreen equation to portray a relationship with a lot of friction, the actors explained they were lucky they had a few days to talk to each other before the shoot began. "Jared and I, we spent a lot of time in Prague where we were filming and had conversations and by the time the filming began, we had an idea of how the father-son dynamic could play out," said Froushan who also added that Jared has a paternal aspect to his character which made it easier for him to respect and ignore as Jonah is a rebel after all.
To this, Harris added that somethings about Jonah reminds Absalom of himself when he was young. "I think there's a certain element of Jonah's character that reminds Absalom of his youth and the way that he behaved when he was young. There's a sense of nostalgia for the kind of freedom, a carefree attitude which he indulges."
To this father-son dynamic, actor Ford's character, Sophie, is a source of conflict and she uses the influence she has over Jonah to get things done just the way she wants without either Jonah or Absalom realizing. Speaking about her character's influence on Absalom, she said, "Sophie has a massive effect on both of them actually because of when she first met Absalom - in parliament - he is not expecting what happened to happen. Everyone thinks that she is not very clever and no one really knows what she is like because she has been hidden away her whole life."
Ford also explains that this is the reason why everyone is surprised when her influence swings the power struggle in favor of Longerbane, "When she comes on scene and the things that she does has one quite surprised, and it shakes things up and throws the power struggle towards Longerbane's favor and away from the Breakspears', so I think that does have a massive effect."
Harris explained how deeply his character Absalom was unaware of what Sarah has pulled off and explained, "I don't think he completely ever understands, knows, or is aware of how much and how deeply she is behind everything that has happened. I think his awareness of her is limited to his exposure in the parliament scene and that she was not a pushover that he was led to believe that she would be. He has no idea that she is behind everything that is going wrong in his life." Harris also added that until the very end, Absalom never had a chance to let sink in that he got completely outplayed.
Speaking of how Sophie influences Jonah, Ford explained, "Her grip on Jonah is pretty strong." Trying to avoid spoilers, Ford continued, "She has a plan with him and she follows through on it. She generally gets whats she wants because she is cleverer than everyone thinks she is. So I think it's her, she is the one who manipulated the situation. She creates them in a lots of ways."
Explore this interesting dynamic further on Amazon Prime Video's 'Carnival Row' set to release August 30.