AMC reimagines the 1960s classic
Rachael Blake (M2/Helen) discusses what it’s like to play Two’s unconscious wife who also happens to hold the key to The Village’s most protected secret.
Q: What attracted you to the role of M2? Were you a fan of the original series?
A: I didn’t see the original series and avoided watching it as I knew the show we were shooting was a completely new interpretation. I loved the writing and I knew Ian McKellen was playing Two — How could I resist that?!
Q: Is it difficult to be in so many scenes where you have to be “unconscious”? What do you focus on while every one else is talking around you?
A: [Director] Nick [Hurran] and I worked on the idea that M2 is always conscious of everything going on around her but unable to influence anything, so that her function was akin to being a passive watcher in her own dream. Once we found that analogy I found it a lot easier; it gave me an anchor, a viewpoint I suppose.
Q: Helen’s favorite food is wraps. Do you have a favorite type? Did you have to eat many during the shoots?
A: Actually I just finished a bowl of button mushrooms that I get cravings for — that and my mother-in-law’s zucchini slice. She can barely cook enough to keep up with the demand. There were a few wraps consumed on set — a bit like Groundhog Day, in that every time “Cut” was called another pristine wrap would appear. In the end, I couldn’t eat anymore so Props kindly supplied me napkins to dispose of them with. Incidentally, I think Helen was partial to wraps because of the ease in preparation — not necessarily because of the taste.
Q: Helen and Curtis create The Village to help broken people. What do you think of their methods?
A: Ian and I believed that the genesis for The Village was to enable them to create the child and family unit that they couldn’t have. For Helen, the ultimate was to have a child and to give her husband the son he always wanted. It was only later when she started dreaming The Village and holding the fabric of it together by being unconscious that she realized she had made the ultimate sacrifice. She would never get to know the son she had created.
Q: The Village is Helen’s perfect world. What would your perfect world be like?
A: My perfect world is my husband and I cruising around the Outback of Australia in our ute [utility vehicle] with all our camping stuff in the back. We’ll be doing that in the New Year. There’s something about waking up in the bush with no phones or TV with just us and a backgammon set — That for me, is just heaven.
Q: Do you think it’s important that The Village exists in a woman’s mind as opposed to a man’s?
A: The Village is informed by whomever the “dreamer” is — so The Village as it appears is because of Helen (and Two’s) vision for it. I don’t believe there is anything inherent in a woman’s mind that is different from a man’s that has the dreamer’s sex be an important distinction. The real difference here was her preparedness to do it. That is all that is really required by the dreamer: A free choice to give up a living a conscious life. Having said that is all that is required, I think it takes an extraordinary person to choose that.
Q: What was your favorite aspect of filming The Prisoner?
A: The whole experience was amazing. My husband was there with me — and we did a five-day safari in Etosha National Park in between shooting. A whole group of us went and did dune riding on quad bikes in the Namibian Desert — I couldn’t believe the unending waves of sand dunes. I remember relocating from Namibia to Cape Town [exteriors were in Namibia and Studio was in Cape Town] and the The Prisoner film crew took up half the plane. I had an amazing sense of being part of something bigger than me and I loved that.