The State Within -Rent it

The State Within – Rent it, the best thing I have watched in a long time.

Jason Isaacs stars in this Golden Globe-nominated political thriller as Mark Brydon, a British ambassador to the United States who finds himself caught up in a complex conspiracy that could prompt a dangerous shift in political power. After a plane explodes over Washington, D.C., under suspicious circumstances, Brydon must scramble to uncover the truth before war breaks out. Sharon Gless, Ben Daniels and Lennie James also star.
Starring: Lennie James, Jason Isaacs
Director: Michael Offer
Genre: Thrillers
Format: Full Screen …
Language: English

Love Eva Birthistle

Eva Birthistle, one of our most talented young actresses, plays Jane Lavery.
She is a human rights lawyer assigned to represent Luke Gardner (Lennie James), the British ex-paratrooper who is languishing on Death Row in Florida.

Initially, Jane is alienated by Luke’s dismissive manner. As the drama develops, however, she becomes more and more enmeshed in his case and more and more embroiled with the British ambassador, Sir Mark Brydon (Jason Isaacs). Hers is an absorbing journey indeed.

The Dublin-born actress confirms that she was attracted to The State Within because it operates on so many different levels.

“It’s simultaneously so intriguing and so moving,” declares Eva, who is perhaps best-known for her leading role in Ken Loach’s affecting love story, A Fond Kiss.

“The State Within is so complicated – loads of stories are intertwined – that it grabbed me from the get-go. As an actor, you have to keep remembering where you are in the story – I’ve never re-read a script as much as I did for this job!

“Sometimes, you get great characters but no plot, and sometimes you get a great plot but no characters. But this screenplay had both. It pulled me in from the first page. It’s the most engaging script I’ve read in ages. I think people will be desperate to tune in every week.

“And when I was offered the character of Jane – a fascinating, strong woman who finds herself in the most extraordinary, frightening situation – I just had to do it. I would have been mad not to!”

The actress, who has also starred in Silent Witness, Holby City, In Deep, Sunday, Imagine Me and You and Middletown, likens The State Within to two of the most lauded US TV series of recent times.

“It’s like The West Wing because of its stories about the American Government and US-UK relations. At the same time, it’s also like 24 because of its endless conspiracies, electrifying pace and energy and multiple plot lines. Those are not bad shows to be compared to!”

The 32-year-old goes on to flesh out more details about Jane. “She’s a human rights lawyer who is handed her first Death Row case. She has replaced Luke’s last lawyer, and at first he shows animosity towards her and because of the seriousness of his case – she feels out of her depth.

“She has to fight to gain Luke’s respect,” continues the actress, who in 2004 was voted one of European Film’s ‘Shooting Stars’ by European Film Promotion.

“Then she uncovers explosive incriminating evidence about something, and she realises she is in very deep water indeed.”

Eva, who has a licence to operate farm machinery, says that she grew really to admire her character. “I have great respect for Jane. From the outset, she’s a very likeable character because of her sheer strength and the way she manages to cope with a horrific situation. She has very attractive qualities that I hope will draw audiences towards her.”

The actress muses that The State Within might put a few official noses out of joint on both sides of the Atlantic. According to Eva: “People in power might get upset about it because the subject matter is hugely topical. It deals with a lot of issues – like terrorism and the special relationship – that we’re seeing in the news day in, day out.

“It might ruffle a few feathers, but at the end of the day it’s still a drama. It doesn’t have to enrage people, but if it provokes a response, that can only be a good thing.

“Unless you’re making a fluffy romcom, that’s the aim of drama. You want your drama to prompt a reaction – otherwise, there’s not much point!”

Eva is currently in Poland filming Nightwatching, Peter Greenaway’s eagerly anticipated movie about Rembrandt (played by Martin Freeman from The Office). She portrays the artist’s mistress.

“I’m halfway through and working with Peter is still a strange and fascinating experience. I keep thinking, ‘When’s everything going to get clearer?’ – and it never does!

“Sometimes I come home at the end of a day and think, ‘Goodness, what have I just committed to film?’

“But any new experience is a good experience. Peter is one of those directors I’ve always had on my wish-list, and it’s been a tremendous privilege to collaborate with him.”

Are there any similarities between Eva and her fictional alter ego in The State Within? “I’d get emotionally bound up with people like Jane does,” the actress replies.

“I’m also quite pragmatic, and like to think that I’m quite strong.

“But would I be as brave as Jane is if my life were put at risk? No way! I’d run in the opposite direction. I’d think, ‘Stuff that. I’m not getting involved!'”


One Response to “The State Within -Rent it”

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