Q: In the Season 2 premiere, during a brawl, Caleb comes to Ben’s rescue and declares, “No one hits my friend but me!” How would you sum up the relationship between Ben and Caleb? In what ways is it similar to your personal friendship with Daniel Henshall?
A: [Laughs] I think there are some similarities in our relationship. I really love Daniel, he’s a wonderful guy and actor. I think people get cast in certain roles because there’s at least some hint of who they are in the character, and we have fun falling into our roles with each other. Ben and Caleb are really close to each other, and they always have each other’s backs in different ways. The way Ben comes to Caleb’s rescue is always going to be slightly different than how Caleb comes to Ben’s rescue.
Q: Ben is committed to doing all he can to protect George Washington and root out traitors in an attempt to keep the Patriots united. What do you admire most about Ben as a leader?
A: I’ve always been in admiration of Ben and his commitment. Now, as we see him growing as a character, I think what’s really cool is that he’s learning things are not always that simple. He’s becoming more of a man, and sees the bigger picture. He takes other people’s safety into account now. It’s the classic coming of age story, how to fight for what you believe in and also take care of the people around you. What I love abut Ben is that he’s hard, but he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong in order to move forward.
• The New York Observer interviews Jamie Bell, who says that Abe is “constantly evolving as a man, as a spy and I think people can understand the need to fight for something that’s bigger than yourself, even when you’re scared to do it.”
• Asked by the Toronto Star about TURN: Washington’s Spies, Ksenia Solo explains, “The minute I read the script, I just knew I should do it. It’s not often that you find such a complex character for a young woman, especially a historical figure who was a real person.”
• Heather Lind speaks with Hollywood On the Potomac about playing Anna and says, “What I love about period pieces is you realize how universal the human experience is in many different time periods.”
Continue reading “Jamie Bell Talks Abe With Observer; Toronto Star Chats With Ksenia Solo” »
Last week, AMC released the first chapter of the TURN: Washington’s Spies digital comic book, Rivals, in which fans learned about the rise of George Washington and Robert Rogers as they fought as allies during the Seven Years War. Now, AMC has released the second and final chapter of Rivals, which begins just before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War and reveals the events that turned Washington and Rogers into bitter rivals. Chapter 2 takes their story right up to the ambush of Ben Tallmadge’s patrol unit by the Rogers-led Queen’s Rangers, the aftermath of which was seen in the TURN: Washington’s Spies Pilot.
Read the complete 24-page story about two of the Revolutionary War’s most powerful figures on the go, or at your desk: The comic is optimized for viewing on tablets, smartphones and Internet browsers.
TURN: Washington’s Spies airs Mondays at 10/9c on AMC.
I thank you for your letter of inquiry dated this previous spring. Mr. Sackett, I certainly cannot believe it has been so long since our families last met. How are your relations? How is your dear Astrid? I trust you are finding yourself well, and that the current state of the colonies has not given you too much personal grief. Of course, here in London we hope for all those in your area to be safe, and hope in a more vain line that you are indeed able to find a supply of quality tea to accompany your time, taking conversation and refreshment with the fine people around you.
In Episode 203, “False Flag,” Ben and Caleb are ushered into the wondrous world of Nathaniel Sackett’s spy workshop, set up in an old barn near the Patriot camp in Morristown, New Jersey. Among Sackett’s numerous spycraft gadgets and contraptions is a polygraph duplicator, comprised of a board connected to two mounted quills that move together as one to write the same thing simultaneously on two separate sheets of paper.
Ksenia Solo, who plays Peggy Shippen on AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies, talks about dressing in period attire, her character’s love triangle, and which 18th century custom she’d like to see to make a comeback.
Q: Peggy Shippen is a real figure in history, but she isn’t nearly as well-known as her husband, Benedict Arnold. What are some of the most interesting things you learned about her? Did you discover anything in particular that helped shape your portrayal of her?
A: What I learned about Peggy was that she wasn’t at all shallow like people thought she was. The image that everyone had of her was just of this party girl, but that was actually a cover for the very well-educated, politically savvy, sharp, and opinionated individual that she was. That was very unusual for a woman of that time, especially a woman her age. What was fascinating about her was that she really understood how men thought and operated, and she used that masterfully to her advantage. I felt lucky that there was quite a bit of information available about her. It made for a very rich understanding of her.
A: Chemistry is a very interesting thing, and you either have it or you don’t. We barely had any time to practice or rehearse our dance scene, and it was quite a bit of choreography that we had to learn. I was surprised by how seamless it looks on-screen, because in the moment, we had to deal with a lot of elements – the dancing, the dialogue, the movement with the talking. That’s a testament to our director and to the editors who cut it together to make it look like it did. They made it look like we really knew what we were doing.
Q: The role of Peggy involves quite a bit of extravagant period attire. Did you enjoy wearing such ornate dresses, or do you remember the corsets more than anything else?
Q: You’re new to the cast of TURN: Washington’s Spies. What was your first day on set like?
A: It’s always quite intimidating when you come onto a show that’s already up and running. It was a very big character to step into — who doesn’t have the best reputation, historically. [Laughs] The cast couldn’t have made me feel more at home. Ian Kahn especially, who so brilliantly plays George Washington, was the first person I had contact with. He and I got along really well, which was nice because the show tries to establish a bond between the characters of Washington and Arnold.
Q: You grew up in the U.K., but are the son of a history teacher. How much did you know about Benedict Arnold, and the American Revolution in general, before taking on this role?
A: Growing up, I was always the kid who had to get his history homework in on time because my mom was actually my history teacher. We don’t get an awful lot of American history in our schools, so it was a real treat coming into this. It’s actually quite nice to approach the character of Benedict Arnold without any negative associations of how history remembers him. No one’s ever simply just a traitor, or just a good person. For me, it was finding that gray area, seeing him in his finest hour, and remembering him as a hero. He was a great general, and someone who people were willing to die for. That’s going to be a revelation for people watching the series.
Q: Executive Producer Barry Josephson has joked that you’re portraying “one of America’s most hated people.” Did Arnold’s real-world history give you any qualms about portraying him?
This week, The Washington Post has five minutes with Jamie Bell, while Craig Silverstein talks to Variety about George Washington. Plus, Entertainment Weekly gets Owain Yeoman’s take on playing Benedict Arnold. Read on for more:
• The Washington Post spends five minutes with Jamie Bell and discovers he would do “terribly” as a spy because “as soon as I see any authority figure, like law enforcement… I feel like I’ve done something wrong. And I look guilty. I think I have a guilty face.”
• Craig Silverstein tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” about depicting George Washington in TURN: Washington’s Spies and how “the real Washington, the Washington that we’ve looked at, it’s too good to be true. Are we ready to see the real man beneath the face on the dollar bill?”
• Owain Yeoman, Benedict Arnold’s portrayer, says to Entertainment Weekly that “maybe we haven’t considered all of the things that made him famous before he was infamous. And if we can celebrate his good side, then seeing his demise is that much more powerful.”
Continue reading “Jamie Bell’s 5 Minutes With WP; Craig Silverstein Tells Variety About Real Washington” »
In Episode 202, “Hard Boiled,” Abe returns to York City under two guises: In the eyes of his father, he’s there to complete his law studies, while in the eyes of Major Hewlett, he’s there to root out the traitorous rebels of the Sons of Liberty. His actual mission: To act as a “birdwatcher,” a spy who surveils the enemy.
It seems so long ago I wrote of being an outsider in Setauket, and truly that is what I was. But oh, how a sudden shift of circumstance can bring a welcome reprieve — a victory even — where there was only heartache. Perhaps it is petty of me to have noticed either way, but I have noticed both. Firstly, that I was an outsider amongst the women of this town; a hesitant addition to any gathering where I was even invited. Lucy Scudder was the unsurpassed “Queen Lady” of Setauket, with the rest of the sewing circle women following her contriving lead.