Joe Dempsie was well and truly thrown in the deep end when he joined Deep State.
Because the action espionage thriller revolves around Mark Strong’s retired MI6 agent returning to the Middle East to find Dempsie’s missing Field Agent, who also just happens to be his son, that meant that the actor had to undergo plenty of training, all of which he had to complete in just one week.
“I was actually in Los Angeles a week before production when I got the call to join the show. Immediately I was out in Morocco about to start on it. It all happened quite fast.”
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“I had used guns in various shows and films before. In terms of the technical side of things, that’s what you really want to get right, and what really runs true. You want those who have done it to think it is really legitimate. And that’s mostly down to how you move and hold weapons and how you clear a room.”
“So we had an amazing stunt team, led by a guy called Cedric Proust, and his team included a few Moroccan secret service, who were able to run us through that. For a lot of the rest of it I wanted to rely on my own instincts.”
Sadly for Dempsie, after completing this intense training routine, the first week of production was even more brutal.
“In the first week of shooting Mark Strong wasn’t available, so it was heavily stacked to me and Karima. So I had a scene in Farsi, one in Arabic, Karima and I had a sex scene, and we had known each other about 5 days, and I think there was an action scene in there as well.”
Dempsie was still able to see the positive side of it, though. “While it was exhausting, I was really thankful at the end of it that it had panned out that way, because I felt like I had a taste of every element the role required.”
“No week after that was as tricky as that. That was a great thing about the show. It was demanding of its actors and its crew. There aren’t scenes where people don’t speak English for no reason, we’re out in the Middle East and we talk the talk.”
Such bold creative decisions were made by its creators Matthew Parkhill and Robert Connolly and approved by Fox Europe and Africa in the hope that “Deep State” would be able to go toe-to-toe with the best that television has to offer.
Plus, since it was the first original commission of Fox Europe and Africa the company wanted it to make a big impression.
“In years gone by the purpose of that company was to slightly repackage American content for various countries in Europe and Africa. For them to make the decision to make their own content for the first time was an interesting concept.”
“You are always aware as an actor that it is a bit of a leap of faith. I mean, every job is really, if you haven’t worked with the people before. But on the plus side because this was going to be their first, and they were really keen to get it right, and to show that they could do it.”
Of course, as the key character of Gendry on “Game Of Thrones,” Dempsie is well accustomed to working on a show of such scale. In fact, Dempise even sees some similarities between “Deep State” and the HBO’s monstrously successful fantasy epic.
“’Deep State’ comes along on that same stream. It is ambitious, it looks stunning, it is complex, it doesn’t spoon feed its audience, it is something you have to pay attention to. TV like Deep State might not have been possible maybe 5, definitely 10 years ago.”
You can see for yourself whether “Deep State” matches up to those comparisons when its eight episode long first season starts on Epix on Sunday June 17 at 9pm.