Link: Slasher: Guilty Party’s Rebecca Liddiard has secrets to hide
“When I read it I thought for sure I knew who it was after every episode, but by the time I got to the end I was like ‘Oh!’ Aaron has done a great job with the story arc. Some people claim they figured it out right away, but I don’t believe them because the way he wrote the story is very character driven. When you do find out who the killer is it’s a twist, but it’s organic and really well done.” Continue reading.
Rebecca Liddiard is taking over CBC one Monday night drama at a time. At least, it sure feels that way. The Toronto-based actress can be seen in Season 1 of Frankie Drake Mysteries, which just happens to debut after her run on Alias Grace is complete.
In Alias Grace, airing Mondays at 9 p.m., Liddiard portrays Mary Whitney, the lively housemaid who befriends Grace (Sarah Gadon) when the latter arrives at the home of Thomas Kinnear (Paul Gross) to work. Grace, who lived through hardship in Ireland and survived a horrible ocean crossing to Canada, views the Kinnear farm as heaven on earth and Mary as her best friend. At least, that’s the way Grace remembers it as she tells Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) the journey that led Grace to murder and incarceration at the Kingston Penitentiary.
In our latest exclusive interview, we chat with Liddiard about working on Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s book and what’s to come later this season.
This is a spooky project. Anyone who has already read the book knows Mary appears to play a part in Grace’s actions. What is the relationship between these two women?
Rebecca Liddiard: Mary has also had an incredibly difficult life, just being part of this lower class, working in service, but she has lived through the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838 and her parents were very involved in it. She has this incredibly optimistic, idealistic view of the possibility of what her life could be. That lends herself to her incredible spirit that she tries to pass on to Grace. Mary gets caught up in life and her ending is just as tragic, but I think that spirit of something better and somehow transcending this life that they’re in sticks with Grace.
This is a speculative account of what’s going on in Grace’s mind, but I’m with you … I like to think Mary’s influence—if not her spirit—continues on with Grace as the rest of the story unfolds.
Mary passes away as a result of a medical issue. That must have been an intense scene to film.
Those scenes were the first ones I shot on Alias Grace and the first shots of the whole series!
How do you even prepare for that?
A lot of it is done in the moment. It was sort of a weird day. It was the beginning of the whole thing for everybody. We went to this house in the middle of the woods at Black Creek Pioneer Village and we filmed this scene. And, you just start screaming. It was really heavy.
The climax of the miniseries involves Mary as well, when Grace allegedly channels her during a hypnosis session.
Sarah [Gadon] and I talked a lot about that. How much is Mary still a part of the story at this point? I also did some recordings for Sarah reading her script in my voice so she could play around a bit. The effect is very terrifying. It’s incredible and chilling.
Truth is often stranger than fiction. That’s certainly the case when it comes to Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s friendship. Turns out the master magician and escape artist was buds with the creator of Sherlock Holmes. The pair was on opposite sides of the paranormal—Houdini debunked the spirit world while Doyle embraced it—a conflict that eventually broke their alliance.
Their closeness in those early days are the focus of Global’s boisterous new series, Houdini & Doyle, with Michael Weston as Houdini and Stephen Mangan as Doyle.Co-created by David Hoselton and David Titcher and executive-produced by the duo along with David Shore, Houdini & Doyle—debuting Monday, May 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global (and Fox in the U.S.)—finds the pair teamed and working for the Scotland Yard in 1901 on cases involving the supernatural. Rebecca Liddiard is Constable Adelaide Stratton, the force’s first female constable and the men’s wrangler of sorts.
“Adelaide Stratton was a real person in history,” Liddiard says during a press day put on by Global and producers Shaftesbury. “This character is a little more fiction than accurate.” The Toronto-based actress, who teaches Creative Performance at Ryerson University, dug deep into the stories of women of the time period—like poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning—who were career-driven when most couldn’t be. She adds that old guard view of women not having a spot in the workplace, especially the police force, is reflected in what her co-workers say.
Monday’s first case, “The Maggie’s Redress,” quickly introduces viewers to the trio—Houdini performs his water-based escape act and relishes his celebrity, Doyle is trying to move on from his Holmes stories—when Adelaide is assigned them as a tag along after a murderous ghost is reported running rampant in a convent.
There’s plenty to like from Houdini & Doyle. Lavish sets, dark corners and rich wardrobe choices add colour while the scripts and performances provide swaths of humour as the main characters’ personalities emerge. Houdini is serious about exposing the mediums stealing money from citizens intent on communicating with departed loved ones, but takes great pleasure in poking fun at Doyle. Doyle is a typical stiff English gent of the time, educated and respected certainly, but with an Achilles heel: he yearns to speak to his wife. Adelaide, meanwhile, often finds herself shifting her beliefs, unsure of whether the crimes committed have basis in science or spirits.
“She tries to stay focused on the information,” Liddiard explains. “‘Here’s a dead body: what are we going to do about it?’ She’s very grounded and keeps the other two grounded as well.
“These guys are so smart, they take it to the next level with the witty banter,” she continues. “Often Adelaide is stuck in the middle, having it thrown back and forth and saying, ‘Guys, let’s just do our work!’ But she gets her digs in too.”
Houdini & Doyle airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.