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Interview: We Chat With Essie Davis About Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

The Australian actress tells us about reviving her beloved role.


essie davis

If you don’t know Essie Davis yet, don’t worry: The actress is set to be your new favorite Australian import. Davis gave a searing performance as the grief-stricken mother in The Babadook and stole the show as Lady Crane in Game of Thrones, but fans know her best as the incomparable Miss Phryne Fisher, the stylish heroine of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

The Australian drama series, which ran from 2012-2015, was based on the novels by Kerry Greenwood, which follow the adventures of Phryne Fisher, a dashing aristocrat who moonlights as a private detective in 1920s Melbourne. The series ran for three seasons and became a fan favorite in many countries.

And after a long five years, Miss Fisher has returned in the new film Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, which will be available on Acorn TV on March 23rd. We sat down with Miss Fisher herself, Essie Davis, to discuss the film and will have a review later this week.

The Mary Sue: What was it like returning to the role after so much time apart?

Essie Davis: She’s such a joyous character, it’s a delight to step back into her shoes, and what fabulous shoes they are! She’s so witty and naughty and intelligent and resourceful, and the curse of her own past— being born into poverty and inheriting great wealth, being an ambulance officer in the first world war, as well as losing her own sister. She’s had great tragedy in her past, yet she lives life with such joy, and she loves life so very much, in a way … I really do love stepping back into that kind of joyous, naughty, upbeat way of living.

TMS: Was it difficult getting back into the character?

ED: She’s so much a part of me now, and I feel like it’s the way that I play any character, because I know her so well and her path so well and where she needs to move forward … I think the most challenging part of it is writing and telling a story that is worthy of spending time with her. The film is not only for the fans, but independent of the series, it’s a meal in itself. It takes the character further onto new horizons, off of where the series left off, but it’s completely contained for people who have never seen the series.

TMS: The film really takes everything we love about the series and amplifies it. The stakes are higher, the adventures are bigger, you filmed all over the world … What was that like?

ED: The incredible landscape, the fact that we got to make this film in Morocco, and taken away on this big adventure into the world, to London, Jerusalem, the Negev desert, to places where The English Patient was filmed … This character can really go on brave new adventures again, and I think that’s one of the biggest parts of playing the character again; you have to move forward and be braver, be bolder, and go where the audience hasn’t seen her go before, and let her take them on an action adventure full of silliness and naughtiness—a bit of a romp and a bit of a romance led by an independent woman who is completely at home in her own shoes.

If you’re new to the series, all three seasons are available on Acorn TV, which is currently offering a FREE 30-day trial with the code FREE30. If you’re an Anglophile like I am, you will be in British procedural heaven!

Are you excited for Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears?

(image: screencap/ Roadshow NZ)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.