ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke The light blue eye stars Lucy Boynton and Harry Lawtey on the upcoming Netflix film, which begins streaming on January 6. The duo discussed their characters and working with Christian Bale.
“A world-weary detective is hired to investigate the murder of a West Point cadet,” reads the film’s synopsis. “Strengthened by the cadets’ code of silence, he hires one of their own to help solve the case – a young man the world would come to know as Edgar Allan Poe.”
Tyler Treese: Lucy, going on a date with Edgar Allan Poe in a graveyard just seems so appropriate, but it also seems like a red flag. Do you find something romantic?
Lucy Boynton: Yeah, unfortunately that’s pretty much my mood, so there’s that [a] total green flag for me. Whatever it tells you or means. Yes, I loved it. I’m ready for the… gothic creep, I’d say, but that sounds mean.
Harry, your character is part of this very prestigious family and that comes with a lot of pressure on him. What did you find most interesting about the character of Artemus?
Harry Lawtey: I think the interesting thing about all these characters in this film is that they have a public face and a private face. They have an outer life and a very different inner life, you know? Atremus is a good example of that. I think he has a lot of pressure in the culture that he’s in, the environment that he’s in, to live up to being this golden boy figure in the academy and to be this wonderful leader of the military at a time when the US military was kind of. of in a fragile place in relation to his own self-identity. So to try to live up to that and play that role and fill those shoes … and then also for me, to have the opportunity to completely turn that around and focus on a vulnerability and an emotional dependency and a fear of being close to people , that counts the most in his life, you know?
Lucy, what did you like best about being in this period and getting to wear 1830s style dresses and all that?
Lucy Boynton: I loved it. I think doing period pieces is always kind of a behind-the-scenes history lesson, and it’s so rare that you actually get to exist in an era, that you research and experience it in such a vivid way. The costumes are the bonus of it, and it not only helps you find the character, but it’s just a really good experience to be so extracted from your everyday life. It makes work easier [and] available and also I just think a lot more fun.
Harry, watching a murder mystery is always so much fun as a viewer because you are investigating every person trying to find them suspicious. As an actor, do you ever play into it or does it all happen in the editing room?
Harry Lawtey: Yes, you absolutely do. I think, as an actor, more with this genre than any other. I think you’re specifically trying to map the audience experience and drip fodder [of] information, whether it’s even down to something as nuanced as the way you deliver a line or the physical interaction with another character, appears in the space between dialogue … you get the sense that an audience knows that when they watching a murder mystery, they are also in a way complicit in solving the crime.
That’s part of the reason it’s such an exciting genre. That’s partly why it’s such a timeless genre. There will always be an interest in these types of stories, I think, and that’s because it involves the audience in such an active way. You want to do your part to build that experience for them. Sometimes you embrace it so much that you can kind of get lost in it. We obviously knew when we made it what the story was, but it’s easy to forget and you look around and you get drawn into everyone’s performances and think, “Oh, maybe they did.”
Lucy, Christian Bale gives another great performance. What impressed you most about working with him as a scene partner?
Lucy Boynton: I think he is able to balance both and be both. So between sets and working in that environment, you get such a dose of him and he’s such a brilliant manager to have on set, making sure everyone’s okay and able to work to the best of their ability and in terms of extreme environments. So in his performance he has obviously gone for it. He disappears and it’s just this really incredibly intricate thing to observe. Getting to observe that with many of the actors on this film is such an education and such a pleasure to get up close.