“I’ve never seen a television show that was going to cover this kind of thing and it was this scary, exciting time of exploration and battle,” Marcia Gay Harden remarks about the 1693 New France setting of “Barkskins” in an exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above). The limited series adapts the 2016 novel of the same name by Annie Proulx, but Harden’s character is original to the series because the source material “focuses on the men.”
The Oscar and Tony winner reveals about why she took the part of innkeeper Mathilde Geffard: “I’ve never seen anyone like her. I don’t know this character in television.” The show filmed in “the deep forest” of Quebec, but Harden found “fun” in the grit and instead credits the accent work as “a challenge” and even “a bit of a nightmare.” She adds, “I do physical things anyway, so that part of it — the physical stress/duress really wasn’t difficult for me.”
National Geographic announced last month that “Barkskins” would take the Emmy-qualifying slot that they had allocated for the Aretha Franklin-centric third season of “Genius.” It advances “Barkskins” six months in their schedule from its targeted November premiere to one now in late May, followed by back-to-back episodes over three weeks in June. Harden explains, “What happened was that ‘Genius’ got shut down and we had already finished shooting. We were in the can, ready to go, so it made sense that we would go now. Serendipitously, it’s a story about survival against all odds.”
In addition to being on the Emmy ballot for “Barkskins,” Harden also contends in Best Drama Supporting Actress for “The Morning Show,” having appeared in six episodes of its first season after initially being contracted for three. “I knew she wouldn’t be a light character, but I didn’t realize she would be so important to the story and she really was,” Harden says about her recurring role as New York Magazine reporter Maggie Brener, who is “loosely structured around Maureen Dowd” of The New York Times. Harden recounts about Dowd, “She was so cool because when the show aired, she said, ‘I really didn’t think that that story could be told again freshly and with a lot of intelligence and you guys did it,’ so that felt really nice.” Harden has no tease about next season, as she was not involved with the suspended production.
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