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INTERVIEW: The Cast of ‘Stonehouse’ Talk Mystery, Men, and the Past

Matthew Macfadyen and Emer Heatley in Stonehouse

Stonehouse shows us one simple facts: White men really could get away with anything. A show bringing to life John Stonehouse (played by Matthew Macfadyen) and his many lives and lies. The former Postmaster General of the United Kingdom, Stonehouse slowly finds himself in so much trouble that he just keeps trying to lie his way out of things. And it results in him taking drastic measures to try and make sure he gets to stay a free man.

In talking with the cast, getting to be a part of this series that explores masculinity and the desire to lie in order to survive is a fascinating one to dive into. I started off my interview with star Matthew Macfadyen (yes, I spoke to Mr. Darcy) and Kevin McNally by talking about how the series really highlights man’s folly and how Stonehouse’s problems all boil down to his inability to just tell the truth. And so I asked what inspired Macfadyen to be a part of the project.

“It’s such a human thing, you sort of double down” Macfadyen said. “I mean, my teenagers do it all the time. They’re like Nope. And they deny it and deny it and don’t admit, and then it gets worse and worse and worse and worse. And that’s sort of what happens to Stonehouse. If he’d come clean and sort of made about, but he just stumbles on and on and trying to get away with it and sort of believes he can. So it’s recognizable. It’s a very human thing, I think.”

You can see our full interview here:

Crafting the world of John Stonehouse

In speaking with director Jon S. Baird and writer John Preston, it is clear that the story is something that just was intriguing to them on a storytelling level and historic one as well. One thing though, Jon S. Baird (who directed the series) is my new best friend because he knew my last name was Scottish. But I asked them both about the creating of the world of Stonehouse and they seemed to love bringing this time period to life!

I asked about bringing to life the women in John Stonehouse’s life and how they managed to make these women who are, basically, secondary characters still have such agency in this man’s life and lies. “It was certainly very important to me from the word go,” Preston said.

“I mean, John gets more screen time than either Barbara or Sheila, but I was adamant that I wanted them to be fully developed characters. And I felt that was important in all kinds of ways, really, because I think one needed to make it plausible why they’d fallen for John in the first place,” he went on to say. “And it would’ve been very easy to portray them as being weak and impressionable, but neither of them were weak and impressionable. They were in life and still are in life, strong, intelligent women. And it seemed that if you didn’t get that across and you’d be doing them and the story a disservice.”

You can see our full interview here:

The women of Stonehouse

The series really shines through its female characters. In the midst of the men and their lies, the women are roped into them but come out strong and not pawns in Stonehouse’s game. Which is sort of what happens to Emer Heatley’s Sheila. A character who openly admits to her lack of experience but is hired anyway because of Stonehouse’s own gaze, she’s playing against the stereotypes you might place on her and she’s a great character to explore. So I asked Heatley about the script and what drew her to the project.

“The script is really, what John’s done with it, is so clever in that you think it’s just gonna be an out and out farce with all these kind of stereotypes,” Heatley said. “And by the end, all of the characters have gone through such amazing arcs and they end up in really different places and you kind of learn a lot more about them as the show progresses. That was a really fun opportunity as an actor. But initially I think just the craziness of the story and all of the little character details, it’s fun playing a real person because you do have stuff to draw on, such as her speech impediment, but also just the kind of time and the context. So the script really just jumped off the page and I was desperate to be part of it.”

You can see our full interview here:

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Stonehouse is available on BritBox now!

(featured image: BritBox)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.