It’s one of those, ‘clinging on until we get to the Christmas break days’ when Emily Beecham joins me over Zoom. Bright, breezy and with a cup of PG tips in hand, Emily is like an instant hit of fresh air, unlike her haunting character, Maura in Netflix’s mysterious show, 1899.
If you haven’t watched 1899 yet, well strap yourself IN. With 11 different languages spoken, it’s a multilingual melting pot of a drama that plays out on a vast ship, The Kerberos, and its claustrophobic spaces as the Victorian migrants onboard make an alarming discovery, another ship that went missing days before.
But not all is what it seems and if you love a show with twists, turns and you have to REALLY concentrate, this is for you.
The central linchpin to the drama is Maura, who we are first introduced to through a series of flashbacks that show her being held captive in an asylum desperately insisting something sinister is afoot. She is the anti-heroine we all love to see on screen, and a complex character that Emily thrived off playing. “Maura has got a dark side to her,” she says, “but also she’s vulnerable and strong. She also has an aggressive side and she’s thwarted by having panic attacks which are crippling her.” Quite the cocktail of a character then?!
Personally, like many who have watched the show, was shooketh by the sheer magnitude of plot twists in 1899. But when was Emily herself shook by the plot?
“The final scene for sure,” she responds, and don’t worry there’s no spoilers today! “I was told the overall reveal so I was aware of that throughout but the little clues along the way like the ring, the noises, the triangles, the ball, everything was constant questions. I was irritating the show runners endlessly with my constant questions and they also didn’t like too many questions as it’s quite a delicate writing process. So it was a balancing act really between how much to harass them and how much just do you use my instincts. But it was very challenging.”
It is certainly a storyline that is challenging to keep up with but luckily Emily had a plan. “I had a chart,” she shares. “I always do that anyway because you are always filming out of sequence, so I keep going back to the map. But this one was extra! I did have the main key points in each scene and then also Maura’s choice like ‘now in this scene I decide to trust Daniel or I start suspecting something about the boy.’ I didn’t want her to be helpless and lost like a jellyfish flailing around throughout the whole thing because that would be horribly dull! I wanted to make sure that she had some growing autonomy or direction.”