“I was gripped immediately,” says Luke Evans about what attracted him to “The Alienist.” Evans stars in this TNT limited series as John Moore, a newspaper illustrator who teams up with a criminal psychologist (Daniel Brühl) and a headstrong NYPD secretary (Dakota Fanning) to investigate a serial killer in 19th century New York City. The actor was eager to explore the dichotomy of the Gilded Age, a period of rapid wealth growth in America from about 1870-1900. “As much as it was this incredible revolution in New York, there was also an underbelly of New York which was quite desperate,” he explains. Watch our exclusive video interview with Evans above.
Upon reading Caleb Carr‘s original novel and the first three scripts for the series, Evans was impressed by the amount of detail in the story. “There was so much depth and so many layers,” he recalls. “It felt very immersive.” In addition to capturing the wealth and glamour of the time, the show also places the audience in the world of immigrants who “were all in this tiny melting pot of Lower East Side New York City where there were no regulations.”
The actor was also eager to dip his toes into episodic television for the first time. “It was an exciting chapter,” he says. “Spending seven months within a character, and having ten hours to go on that journey with that character, was a new thing for me.” And it was quite a journey. John Moore is a man with “a lot of issues.” A high-functioning alcoholic who was abandoned by his fiancee, Moore “wears his heart on his sleeve.” Despite graduating from Harvard with Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl) and Police Commissioner (later President) Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty), “he’s never really found his purpose in life.” So there are “a lot of things he carries with him which you can see affects his daily life, and how he looks at his future.”
Evans is best known for his film work, including the “Fast and Furious” series, “Tamara Drew” (2010), “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Battle of the Five Armies” (2013-2014), “The Girl on the Train” (2016), and “Beauty and the Beast” (2017). He has also appeared frequently on stage on London’s West End, including in productions of “Rent,” “Miss Saigon,” and “Piaf.”
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