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The four-part series follows Douglas Petersen (played Tom Hollander) who is blindsided when his wife Connie (Saskia Reeves) tells him that she’s not sure she wants to be married to him anymore. Douglas, Connie and their son Albie (Tom Taylor) were set to go on a family trip around Europe and the father-of-one decides it should still go ahead. The last family holiday before Albie goes to university become a desperate quest for Douglas to hold onto Connie and their marriage. Of course it doesn’t all go to plan as they visit Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Barcelona amongst other locations.
Detailing how intense it was travelling to every destination for BBC series Us, Tom explained shooting on trains was particularly stressful.
“It was particularly magical as we had access to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, a couple of rooms in the Louvre in Paris for an afternoon, the glorious Joan Miro Fundacion in Barcelona for a day and in our very own National Gallery.
“These all felt like a great privilege and it was magical because there wasn’t anyone else in them.”
“There were four different crews and we were shooting out of sequence as ever; so you could be walking into a doorway in Amsterdam in Episode 2 which then turned into a staircase in Paris in Episode 1 which turned into a bedroom and then weeks later back into a studio in London to play the room through the doorway in Amsterdam, to enable you to end up on a different street in Paris.
“There was a lot of stress involved but relief every time when you looked up at the amazing places you got to film in.”
Detailing how they managed to fit filming into a short train journey, Tom added: “We were also filming on the Eurostar and other trains, travelling from Paris to Barcelona but pretending that it was Paris to Amsterdam which worked well until we got to the wilds of Southern France and Northern Spain where it didn’t really look like the lowlands of Flanders!
“I remember feeling quite pressured because we had a lot of material to shoot in a particularly finite amount of time because of the length of the moving train journey.”
Speaking about what attracted him to the role of Douglas, Tom shared: “I love David’s writing and it seemed like a lovely part to play.
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Meanwhile, tom’s co-star Saskia, who plays Douglas’ wife Connie revealed she found it difficult to understand her character due to the book’s point of view.
“I think what was difficult about playing Connie was that the book is very much told from Douglas’s point of view,” she divulged.
“You have the character of Douglas talking about himself, his wife, his marriage, his relationship with his son and that’s the narrative.
“What David has done with the screenplay is give life to Connie but there was a lot of space for me to interpret the character and fill her out in my own way because she hadn’t quite been mined in the same way as Douglas.”
However, Saskia added she couldn’t turn down the role, remarking: “For a woman of my age, this is a fantastic part and it’s humorous and deeply moving.
“Getting to work with Tom Hollander too is amazing – he’s a remarkable actor and I can’t say it to his face as he won’t let me.
“The opportunity to work on a script like this with him was just fantastic and it was so nerve wracking to go to the audition!
“A lot of my friends knew of the book and I felt terribly lucky to be cast. When I mention it to people, I’m so heartened by their response and it’s so encouraging.”
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