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Christopher Eccleston Q&A: ‘The Leftovers’

"The series has been criticized for the kind of depressing tone to it, but I have quite the opposite view on these characters," says Christopher Eccleston about the HBO drama "The Leftovers" . "Everybody has lost so much, but they carry on and they try and live, so I do find that optimistic and heroic."

"The Leftovers" imagines the aftermath of the Sudden Departure, in which two-percent of the world's population disappears without explanation. That disappearance, which some might interpret as the Biblical Rapture, creates a spiritual crisis for Eccleston's character, Reverend Matt Jamison, a man of God who has been left behind.

"I met [showrunner Damon Lindelof], and I think he was surprised I was interested in that role because it was a small role, but I felt there was a great deal of mileage in it," Eccleston explains about what initially attracted him to the character. He adds that it's a "fantastically written role; complex, contradictory man; both good and bad. He operates in a very gray area as I believe most human beings do." And through all of Matt's frustration and grief, Eccleston feels that he's a "fundamentally decent man."

"The Leftovers" could be a contender for Golden Globes, and though Eccleston has never been nominated at that event, the actor does have prior experience with industry kudos, including a pair of BAFTA nominations, and an International Emmy win for "Accused" in 2011. But he thinks "comparing two actors' performances is like comparing an orange and a thermometer really." He would be much more enthusiastic to see his colleagues nominated, and for the series as a whole to succeed: "It's a real ensemble piece, and we want the show to be recognized because it's somewhat controversial, it's somewhat unusual, and we worked our asses off on it."

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UPLOADED Dec 5, 2014 7:31 pm