Photo: Egon Endrenyi
JW: Tom's relationship with Ellen is also a cornerstone of the story. How was it working with Natalia Wörner?
RS: I loved working with Natalia. She's a really wonderful actress, and we've got a similar sense of humor. ... We communicated on the same level and just things like that they can often be a matter of good fortune. The moment we met, as soon as we started practicing with each other, it was kind of already there. It was very easy and it was a really, really good working relationship. I like her a lot.
JW: It's nice to see some of Tom's passion come back with Ellen after he loses his wife, Agnes, who in comparison can seem like a little bit of a drag.
RS: [laughs] Poor Agnes. I like that relationship, that it's very kind of mutual and they'd obviously worked together for a long time. But in the book, it's basically on her grave that [Ellen and Tom] consummate [their relationship]. That might well work in the dreamy sequence of the book, but somehow it got a little more spaced out with a little more decorum. Something a little more gentile.
JW: In a project like this, do you find taking bits of your character with you, or do you find yourself putting a little of yourself into them?
RS: I don't think it's a matter of trying to put yourself into anything conscious like that. It's just part of you that responds. I think if a character appeals to you, there are certain parts of yourself will come to the fore and other parts that will play down. I recognize myself to a lesser or greater extent in everything I read, good and bad, and that's part of being a human being if you're honest enough. And obviously the darker parts are the things you don't let control you. There are certain things I don't find in myself, thank God, and there are things I can find equivalent of. And for me the bits of Tom, there are certainly bits of me that are similar. I am not like him, but in many ways I am, you know. I find it a difficult thing to talk about. I think you try to keep it as honest as possible and so its your own experience too and you look through your own eyes and you try to mean it, you know?
The legacy Rufus Sewell hopes to leave behind
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