“I can tell you very little, except to expect the unexpected,” teases Christopher Eccleston as we chat via webcam (watch above) about the highly anticipated third and final season of HBO’s “The Leftovers” currently shooting in Austin, Texas. “Damon Lindelof is just across the room with a crossbow!” the actor jokes, pretending to reason with the show’s creator and showrunner in jest, “I’m not going to do it, mate! I’m not going to do it!” he smiles. Although Eccleston remains tight-lipped on any real details when discussing season three, he offers a couple of morsels to satiate eager fans of the show. “I think you know which actors are coming back, and there’s going to be a bit of a time jump.”
In “The Leftovers,” two percent of the world’s population (140 million people) have suddenly and inexplicably disappeared off the face of the Earth in what is known as the “Sudden Departure.” Eccleston, a two-time Critics Choice award nominee for his role of on the show, plays Reverend Matt Jamison, whose wife Mary (Emmy nominee Janel Moloney) suffered in a terrible accident on the day of the Sudden Departure and has been paralyzed in a coma-like state ever since.
The show’s second season shifted from upstate New York to Texas. Matt and Mary move to the “miracle” town of Jarden, Texas (which was seemingly spared from the Sudden Departure). On the day of their arrival, Mary miraculously awakes from her paralysis, but this proves to be an all-to-brief awakening as she soon falls back into her vegetative state. In the second season episode dedicated to Matt (“No Room at the Inn”), we follow his heartbreaking devotion, tenacity and determination as he tries to replicate the events of that day over and over again in the hope of waking Mary up again. “I loved his resilience,” says Eccleston. “He’s an incredibly strong man, when you think of what’s been thrown at him. And his love for Mary is so pure and so dedicated.”
Eccleston was happy that the show took on a lighter in tone in its sophomore season and that the reaction to the show was so positive. “The difference between series one and series two in terms of critical reception was extraordinary, we were a revelation! I was so pleased for Damon and his writers. They took some of the knocks from the reviews of season one and they just spun on a dime and took it a step further and continued not to conform and continued to be provocative,” the actor admits. “Possibly, in a sense, Damon felt off the leash for season two. He served the book, and now he was doing what he really did best, which was create original television.”