interview Movies

Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince on playing tough-as-nails reporters in ‘Home Before Dark’

Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince in season 1, episode 9 of ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.   | Photo Credit: Apple Inc

Thanks to the likes of Nancy Drew, The Secret Seven, Stranger Things and more, audiences have been entertained by the precociousness of fictional youngsters. But what of real-life examples like Hilde Lysiak, the famous child journalist?

Home Before Dark, which has been renewed for a second season, is based on Lysiak’s life and follows nine-year-old Hilde Lisko (played by Brooklynn Prince) and her father Matthew (Jim Sturgess) after the family moves to the lakeside town where Matthew grew up. However, the duo is confronted by a cold case: a murder in which Matthew was involved. These events lead to Hilde’s dogged investigation even as she grapples with her new life.

Directorial diversity

The first season of Home Before Dark featured five directors: John M Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), Rosemary Rodriguez, Kat Chandler, Jim McKay, and Kate Woods.

Brooklynn took this as a positive, elaborating, “I learned so much from each one and they all had different approaches. And in acting, I learned different ways to channel my emotions.”

Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince in season 1, episode 1 of ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.

Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince in season 1, episode 1 of ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.   | Photo Credit: Apple Inc

For Jim, who’s mostly worked with singular directors, it was a new experience. “There were always new ideas coming in regularly, and it was funny; for a while, we’d have one director and then someone else would come in next and we’d just ask ‘wait, what happened to the first director?! [laughs jokingly].”

Learned journey

For both Jim and Brooklyn, playing journalists was an exciting and immersive experience. “The journey that journalism takes, with the stories that are so juicy, makes me want to be a reporter,” says Brooklynn excitedly, before adding, “...but I wouldn’t be able to handle crime scenes and stuff!”

Jim laughs, before tacking on: “Kids can make amazing journalists. They are so untainted and their point-of-view is so pure, which is the only way of getting through to the truth. From [Matthew’s] point of view, he turned his back on journalism; he was fired from his job and moved away with his family. But that love for journalism is sparked alive again through his daughter’s eyes, seeing how hungrily she wants the truth.”

Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince in season 1, episode 6 of ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.

Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince in season 1, episode 6 of ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.   | Photo Credit: Apple Inc

Ultimately, Mathew and Hilde are united by their inherent curiosity though find themselves at odds because of their journalism styles, to which Jim says, “Hilde is all heart while Matt has a level of experience where he’s trying to direct and help her navigate to get to where she needs to get to. But he sees a younger version of himself in his daughter.” Brooklynn agrees: “It’s heartwarming for anyone who watches, that a daughter is trying to help her dad bring back his joy. That’s exactly what I would do, if my father and I were doing the same thing and he turned his back on it. (Well, my dad did acting a bit, but let’s not remind ourselves of that [laughs]). Hilde cares so much about her father and about that relationship with journalism.”

Respectful relationships

Jim and Brooklyn forged a father-daughter bond off set which catalyses much of the caring and respectful relationship audiences see in Home Before Dark. A lot of Hilde’s character shines due to its treatment; she is not patronised by her family and the real-life Hilde herself is a force to reckon with. “She says, ‘Yes, I’m a kid but that doesn’t mean you have to treat me like one’. That way of bringing light to kids is beautiful. People tell Hilde ‘no’, and often recognise her the way she wants to be recognised, so she stands up against those who don’t; she doesn’t go into a shell and cry,” adds Brooklynn.

Brooklynn Prince and Jim Sturgess in season 1, episode 1 or ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.

Brooklynn Prince and Jim Sturgess in season 1, episode 1 or ‘Home Before Dark,’ on Apple TV+.   | Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Filming high-tension scenes in a show that addressed child abduction, abuse and death was no small feat but once the cameras stopped rolling, there was a fair bit of levity on set. “It helped a lot to have my family on set, they’d try make me laugh and Jim is also awesome! After a scene in which we’d yell at each other or I would cry, he would break out into song.”

Agreeing, Jim says having as much fun on set as possible was important, “because when we were going into the heavier scenes, we’ve had all this energy to go to those darker places. We also have a huge level of respect for each other and we knew we had to focus locked into those scenes together — and the minute that the cap was just off, the pressure just [verbalises explosive sound].”

Jim acknowledges that this is an important foundation for the show. “Just as Matt is a support system for Hilde, Hilde is a support system for Matt. In the times we live in now, when younger voices are so important and powerful, adults too tend to look at themselves and re-examine the world,” he adds.

Home Before Dark is streaming on Apple TV+.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 3:16:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/interview-jim-sturgess-brooklynn-prince-for-home-after-dark-apple-tv-plus-favourite-journalism-memories/article32201972.ece

Next Story