In a change to the original plans for Harry Wild, the new mystery series is to be set in Ireland, as star of the show Jane Seymour told Oliver Callan on The Ryan Tubridy Show. Written by Jo Spain and Dave Logan, the 8-part drama was supposed to take place in England. Filming was moved to Ireland due to Covid, and the idea was to modify Dublin locations to make them look 'English'. Then there was a change of mind, Jane says:
"Because of Covid and everything, they said we’ll make it in Ireland, and make Ireland look like England. Then somebody brilliant said: ‘Why don’t we just make it be Ireland, and actually embrace everything that’s wonderful in Ireland and in Dublin?’ And I’m just so proud of that and so glad."
Currently filming in Dublin and savouring the same Dalkey sunrises once so beloved of Matt Damon, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor says she’s delighted with her role in Harry Wild. Seymour plays a retired English professor who uses her literary knowledge to help her Garda son with his investigations; much to his annoyance:
"She finds herself helping her son who’s a guard solve murders, which he’s not very happy about, as I keep finding out because she’s always right. And she’s quite a character."
Even after an injury on set, when she sustained multiple knee fractures running through a Dublin city park, Seymour’s long experience and famous work ethic kept her going:
"I slid on the damp or whatever and went full forward and managed to land on my left knee which was not good because I got multiple hairline fractures, but I did not miss a minute of work. They taped me up. I didn’t realize it was fractured at the time and I managed to finish what was left of that scene and worked the next day."
Seymour has a breathtaking acting CV, taking in pretty much every genre going. The choice she made to take roles in long-running TV series like Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman have secured her legacy. This wasn’t always the obvious choice for film actors in the past though. Hard to believe now, but there was a time when the bigger movie stars turned down TV roles for fear of losing status or opportunities. Jane Seymour sticks by her choices and technology has since caught up with her:
"I was called the ‘Queen of the Mini-series’, because I got to do all of these wonderful mini-series. And if you think about it now; that’s kind of what streaming is now, on all the streaming channels."
The longevity of shows like Dr Quinn has been secured by streaming, with the series playing constantly in around 98 countries, including China and Romania, Seymour says. Jane tells Oliver she would be more than happy to reprise her role as Dr Quinn, but there are no immediate plans for a re-launch:
"We keep trying to bring it back, but I don’t know whether anyone’s going to let us do that, but it really stands on its own."
Producers who cast Jane Seymour for her skill and her work get the benefit of a magnificent publicist, it seems. Jane segued elegantly from her past successes to promoting her current project:
"The people who loved Dr Quinn will actually probably love Harry Wild too. I mean it’s quite different; it’s very today. And it’s so well written, oh my gosh!"
When it comes to recent conversations around diversity in awards ceremonies, Seymour politely side-stepped the politics, saying she was proud of her work on East of Eden, for which she received a Golden Globe, whether it deserved an award or not:
"I was happy for the day that it happened, and you know, I feel that the work was worthy of something, whether it was a Golden Globe or a bottle of champagne. But I’m not going to get into the politics of all that."
After such a full career, Oliver wanted to know what was left to be done. Jane implied she had reached the pinnacle of life’s bounty at a recent barbecue, served up by the husband of her co-star in Harry Wild, Amy Huberman. So, what sort of a cook is Brian O’Driscoll anyway, Oliver wanted to know?
"Unbelievable! I don’t even eat meat and I couldn’t get enough of it. I had the sausages, I had the hamburger, then the chicken and the salad. And he cooks the whole thing and does the washing up, I’ll have you know."
Jane Seymour talks about how Alan Arkin lobbied successfully to expand her role in The Kominsky Method, her relationship the famous family behind the James Bond franchise, and her memories of filming the WW2 drama War and Remembrance; that’s all in the full interview with Oliver Callan which you can listen to here.
- Ruth Kennedy