Two-time Oscar nominee Miranda Richardson plays Katherine Rhumor, a wealthy widower who believes there’s a deeper truth to her husband’s suicide. The British actress discusses her approach to conspiracy theories and what it’s like to work on both sides of the Atlantic.
Q: Did the popularity and critical acclaim of AMC’s other shows play a role in your decision to do Rubicon?
A: Absolutely. The fact that those are great storytelling [shows] is very important. There’s a reason why they’re critically acclaimed. It’s to do with story and people wanting to follow the story and the development of character.
Q: You’ve worked in British television a number of times. Are there any big differences between how television is done in the U.S.?
A: Broadly speaking, I would say it’s a better experience [in the U.S.] so far. There is a pressure of time, but there doesn’t seem to be a pressure of time like there is in the U.K. [In the U.K.], there are times when you feel like a chicken being hustled around. The time money factor is very apparent, so you adopt a kind of workman-like attitude to nailing a scene. There seems to be more of an expansiveness [in the U.S.], more flexibility.
Q: Since Rubicon is shooting in New York, did you have to move to New York to shoot it?
A: Only in that I’m staying in New York while I shoot. I have been back [to the U.K.] a couple of times when I have time off. Which is quite important to me and is something you can do more easily do if you’re shooting in New York versus shooting in L.A.
Q: You’re British, but you speak with an American accent in Rubicon. Is that tiring?
A: No, the hope is that it becomes much more natural as you go along and you’re surrounded by the rhythms all the time. It should become less taxing, I hope. There’s an element of, as they say, “When in Rome.” I don’t feel the need to be uber British.
Q: So you’re not having tea and crumpets every day on the set?
A: There’s that whole faction, I know. I mean, I have been to [the New York City restaurant] Tea and Sympathy once, and it’s cute and quaint. But I don’t need to live in it.
Q: Do you believe any conspiracy theories?
A: If you’re in a particular frame of mind, you can feel like that. I think you can feel like that about your friends, about your relationships. Sometimes you try and invent reasons for why things are the way they are, whereas it might all just be horribly random. But in this show, it’s not necessarily random.
Q: Have you found yourself looking for deeper meaning in events since the show started?
A: Occasionally you find yourself in a hotel room and you’re looking up at the air vents and you’re going, “What if that’s not just a fire alarm? What if there’s something behind that air vent?”
Q: Have you ever known anyone who’s obsessed with conspiracy theories?
A: I know somebody who talks in those terms and I always rather pooh-pooh it, I must say. I go, “Relax, how about living your life?” It may not all be true.
Q: Are these political conspiracies?
A: Oh yeah, railing against the government and this, that or the other. I hate all that stuff. The most basic ones are sort of like who set up Marilyn Monroe and then, rather hideously, more recently there’s been all these theories about 9/11. I just find it very distasteful when people air those views.
Q: Why do you think conspiracy theories exist?
A: To explain things, because we’re out of control. Because the only other explanation is some sort of angry god, or that everything is completely random and we’re all just a bunch of random atoms. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to pass the buck, make sense of what’s going on for a minute. And sometimes it’s true.