JW: For such a long shoot like that, do a lot of the cast and crew bring their families? What's the atmosphere like?
MM: It was very familiar. My wife [British actress Keeley Hawes] came out, and my babies came out. The nanny brought the babies out to Austria for a bit. And I went back a lot. It's very close to London, so I came back as often as I could. It was great.
JW: Did the kids get to see the cathedral that had been built on set?
MM: They didn't get to see the cathedral. They went to a castle, so they got to see fortresses and donkeys and stuff. They came to this castle in Vienna, but they were a bit nonplussed. It was like, "Whatever, can we go back and watch Toy Story in the hotel?"'
JW: Pillars of the Earth is the favorite book of many people around the world. What book is always on your bookshelf?
MM: I love books. I'm sitting in my study now, which is covered in books. I can't throw books away. My wife is always telling me to get rid of some. One book I really adore is William Boyd's Any Human Heart, which I just filmed. I read it during Pillars, so there is a kind of tie-in. It's just the most glorious book, and I read it during the shoot on Pillars, and it's the best.
Then, earlier this year when I was rehearsing the play, my agent rang and said, "Channel 4 is making the adaptation of it, and they'd love you to play Logan," who's one of the three main characters in it. Sam Claflin, who's also in Pillars plays the young Logan, and Hayley [Atwell's] in it, bizarrely. And Skye, little Skye Bennet, who plays Martha. So it was just bizarre. We finished that about a month ago. So that book I would recommend. Anything by William Boyd is just wonderful.
Watch Episode 1 of The Pillars of the Earth
How divine intervention helped cast this miniseries
Your quick guide to The Pillars of the Earth
Rufus Sewell on playing Tom Builder
The complete Pillars of the Earth reading guide