Iain de Caestecker on BBC Thriller The Control Room: ‘If It Was Me, I’d Be Having an Anxiety Attack!’
Though its title makes it sound like one, The Control Room isn’t a office crime procedural. Gabe’s story opens at his desk, nevertheless it follows him dwelling in each sense of the phrase. This is a sensitively drawn character drama, which suited de Caestecker’s research-heavy method to roles. Before enjoying Gabe, he shadowed management room shifts, learn a number of psychology books related to his character’s experiences, and with the crew, ploughed by means of a stack of display thrillers to work out how they wished this one to go. Frantic starring Harrison Ford, and French characteristic Tell No One had been a few favourites.
“The thriller stuff is the thing that makes your heart race and keeps you on the edge of your seat,” says de Caestecker, however at its core he sees The Control Room as a love story and its author Nick Leather (Murdered for Being Different) as a romantic. We discuss how the emotional and psychological facet can get misplaced in some thrillers, which take an odd character and immediately remodel them into an ultra-capable motion hero. That’s not the case with Gabe, de Caestecker laughs. “We tried to show the level of fear and discomfort that told the truth about how much he is not built for that world. If it was me going through some of that stuff, within the first hour I’d be having an anxiety attack!”
A Fitting Ending for Fitz
In Agents of SHIELD, the ABC/Marvel comedian e book collection that ran from 2013 – 2020, de Caestecker performed tech genius Leo Fitz, a task that concerned in loads of fictional life-or-death conditions. He’s nonetheless very keen on Fitz, a personality he describes as “like me, but a much better version of me. Smarter, kinder, braver, all these different things. It felt good playing him.” So a lot in order that when the story required him to play an evil, alt-reality Fitz, it felt like a betrayal. “I hated it! Because I was very comfortable in that character and you put some of yourself into it. Then suddenly you’re playing a nasty version and you’re making your friends cry!”
After being absent from a lot of Agents’ remaining season attributable to a scheduling battle, de Caestecker returned to wrap up his character’s story in a approach he describes as “very, very fitting.” Fitz and his colleague-turned-wife Dr Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) had been modelled on Agents showrunning couple Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon – Mo and J to de Caestecker, who calls them shut pals – so the characters’ ending was impressed by Mo and J’s household life. “They’d had a little girl while we were filming and it felt very fitting to me, after everything Fitz and Simmons were put through in the show, that they and their daughter would live happily ever after.”
If there have been ever an Agents of SHIELD revival, de Caestecker is circumspect about whether or not he’d return. “We had really loyal and supportive and brilliant fans of the show, so I wouldn’t want to disappoint them and say no, but at the same time I think it’s nice that they had their ending and I think it’s nice to leave them.” He would nevertheless, bounce on the likelihood to work with co-star Henstridge once more “in anything. Just because I love her very much.”
Henstridge isn’t the one colleague de Caestecker effuses about. In the course of lower than half an hour, he’s filled with reward for the Scottish solid and crew of The Control Room, from Daniel Portman’s “effortless charisma” to Joanna Vanderham’s “incredible thoughtfulness” to the love he has for Stuart Bowman who performs Gabe’s father, and their “incredible” director Amy Neil.