Evan Peters interview: ‘Mare of Easttown’

For his performance on HBO’s “Mare of Easttown,” Evan Peters won the Best Limited Series/TV Movie Supporting Actor prize at last year’s Emmys and has now scooped up Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. Created by Brad Ingelsby and directed by Craig Zobel, the seven-episode limited series stars Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan, a small-town Pennsylvania detective investigating a local murder as her life starts to spiral out of control. Peters plays Colin Zabel, a county detective who is known for recently solving a nearby cold case and is brought in to assist Mare. In our exclusive video interview (watch above), Peters discusses with Gold Derby Zabel’s path to learning how to “live with the vulnerability but be confident and move forward with his life.”

Peters’ preparatory work for this role included working with dialect coach Susanne Sulby on the distinctive Delco accent, communicating with the real-life police officer on whom Mare is based, and taking part in a police ride-along in Marple Township, Delaware County, upon arriving in the region for filming. “To me, the scariest scenes were the detective scenes because I’m not a detective. So, I had to work really hard to try to figure out how they moved, how they operated [and] what they thought about,” the actor reveals in this regard. He adds that he threw himself into further research, devouring Vernon J. Geberth’s “Sex-Related Homicide and Death Investigation” as well as episodes of the docuseries “The First 48.” While watching the latter, Peters was fascinated by how much of team effort solving a case is: “You realize just how much you’re working together, just how close you can get and how much you care about the person you’re working with.”

SEE Kate Winslet on playing and producing ‘Mare of Easttown’: ‘I wanted it to absolutely feel like a community’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

However, that isn’t necessarily the case in Mare and Zabel’s working relationship at the outset of the series. Though Zabel visibly reveres and is enamoured with Mare, she resents him being parachuted in to help her solve the murder of teen mom Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny). But as Mare warms up to the younger detective over the course of the series, you get to see the vulnerability shine through the cracks of a seemingly confident but in reality self-doubting, despondent Zabel, who did not in fact crack the case that won him plaudits. And much of that vulnerability was peppered in by Peters himself, who insisted on his character not being too hard-shelled. The actor reveals that he was instead more interested in a version of Zabel that “was living with his mother, was vulnerable and wanted to ask [Mare] out on a date but couldn’t quite do it.”

In regard to his scenes with Deborah Hedwall, who plays his on-screen mother, Peters explains that they were a way to show “this overbearing mother that [Zabel is] constantly trying to live up to, please and make happy.” Even though his mother “wants him to move out, be this really successful guy and remarry,” Zabel, who was dumped by his ex-fiancée two weeks before their wedding, is just “stuck,” the actor says. And while it’s his mother’s overbearing presence and desires for her son that are keeping him in that very place, it’s thanks to Mare that Zabel sees a path forward. “Despite what the rules say, [Mare] is going to follow her gut [and] go down a path that feels right to her… So, I think she’s that beacon of light that gets him away from his mother,” Peters concludes.

SEE Evan Peters looking to become one of the youngest SAG Award winners in this category

Also in our exclusive video interview, Peters talks about Zabel’s famous drunken scene, creating intimacy with Winslet and the experience of winning his first Emmy. Of note, the actor also took home his inaugural victory from our own Gold Derby TV Awards for “Mare of Easttown” last year.

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UPLOADED Feb 1, 2022 8:43 am