As a Los Angelino by way of Australia, Yvonne Strahovski is pretty impressed with New Yorkers.
“They’re hardcore,” the actress tells us, referring to the wildly different seasons and life in a concrete jungle. “I always look at the older people walking around New York, and how they have a more manual lifestyle than people in Los Angeles. There’s no cars, you have to walk down the street to do anything, you have to carry everything around. I’m always fascinated by people who’ve lived there for years and years and years.”
Strahovski spent a month in the city — during December, no less — filming “Manhattan Night,” a noir-y throwback about Porter Wren (Adrien Brody), an old school journalist who gets involved in a case of unsolved murder. A famous but cantankerous filmmaker (Campbell Scott, seen mostly in video footage) was found dead in an abandoned factory, and his widow Caroline (Strahovski) offers to help him investigate. But soon her motives start to seem more and more suspect.
If this were a noir from the ’40s Caroline would be a femme fatale. Since this is 2016, she’s more complicated.
“She’s sexually manipulative but lonely at the same time,” Strahovski offers. “She has real feelings even though she’s manipulative. She knows what she wants from Porter, and that directly conflicts with her human side.” She has two extremes to her personality, but Strahovski’s performance makes sure they don’t seem contradictory. “We all struggle as humans with some kind of duality.”
Strahovski is no stranger to playing good and bad. She spent multiple seasons on the former side on “Chuck,” playing agent Sarah Walker. She chased that as a serial killer on “Dexter.” Going to the dark side appeals to her.