Endeavour’s leading man Shaun Evans on directing his co-stars in this week’s episode…
By Caren Clark - TV TIMES
As brooding DS Endeavour Morse in ITV’s classy 1960s-set crime drama Endeavour, Shaun Evans spends much of his time looking pretty gloomy!
But, thankfully, when TV Times catches up with him at ITV’s London HQ for an exclusive interview, he couldn’t be better company as he cracks jokes and grins infectiously while telling us about the fun he had, and the pride he felt, directing an episode of the show for the first time.
‘I’ve learnt more about Endeavour as a character by having a different directing head on,’ explains Shaun, 38, who, here, with the help of some exclusive on-set photos, takes us behind the scenes of this week’s episode, Apollo…
Taking the helm
‘It was good seeing my name as director on the clapperboard,’ says Shaun. ‘I enjoyed every minute. But I didn’t want to make it all about me like some egomaniac!’
This is Shaun’s first time as director on Endeavour, but he has directed episodes of Casualty in the past.
‘It felt like I was prepared and I knew what I wanted,’ he says. ‘I was editing at weekends during the filming of the rest of the series, though, so it was Endeavour-tastic! But I knew that by the end, we’d achieve something I hadn’t done before, which I could be happy about.’
Two jobs at once
‘I love discussing the story and being in every scene,’ says Shaun, who clearly enjoyed juggling his two jobs of acting and directing for this week’s episode.
‘You have to be efficient with your time because you’re doing two different things, but I knew where the character was and how we would tell each scene from a technical point of view.
‘It changes how you do both jobs for the better. I want to carry on doing acting and directing if I’m lucky enough because I learnt so much from this and there are things I’d like to get off the ground myself.’
Pulling the strings
‘Having puppets added to my directing challenge because you shoot them differently,’ says Shaun of the marionettes that feature in this week’s episode.
‘They were made specifically for us. It’s good because it also reflects the idea of the story of, “Who is pulling the strings?”
We look at the moon landing this week, too, and there’s just something about that epic scale compared to the micro-world of the puppets.
‘We took a lot from the colour palette of the night sky, and it definitely made me think in a different way visually.’
Behind the ‘tache
‘Those are my own sunglasses!’ reveals Shaun.'That was a really hot day and I was having a break. Our costume designer Molly Rowe had the idea of Endeavour wearing darker shirts this year, which I like.
‘That ‘tache was there for long enough, though, thanks! It’s gone now but it was fun having it,’ adds Shaun of Endeavour’s new image this series, which reflects the changing fashions of the time.
‘That car belongs to one of the people at a racy party that the victim attends in this week’s episode. There are several cars and keys involved, so we had to be specific about who had the various keys in each scene. Tina Murray, our script supervisor, and I both had notebooks to keep track!’
‘It was amazing directing my mates because we already have a shorthand,’ says Shaun. ‘They’re all at the top of their game and the best actors around. I know what atmosphere to create for us all to do good work together and they wanted it to be the best for me, too. They’d disagree if needed or be open to things as well, so it was joyous and we had a laugh.’
Shaun admits he did put Roger Allam aka DI Fred Thursday, through the mill!
‘For one scene in this episode, Roger was beaten up,’ says Shaun. ‘He wore padding initially, but I said, “What do you think about taking that off?” He was willing to remove it and take a pounding from the stuntmen. He is awesome – I can’t speak more highly of him.’
‘Shaun’s a natural’
Roger Allam, Anton Lesser and Sean Rigby what their co-star was like as director…
Roger Allam (DI Fred Thursday)
‘There’s always collaboration with Shaun, whether he’s directing or not, so it was fantastic. He was on top of the material and moving from behind the scenes to in front of the camera seemed easy for him. Did we take the mickey out of him? Good lord, no! Well, probably yes!’
Anton Lesser (CS Reginald Bright)
‘Shaun is terrific because he has a passion for it and wants to do more. He’s very clear because he knows what actors need to hear and what they don’t. It was great watching him work and he’s such a lovely guy, so everybody was helping him achieve what he wanted.’
Sean Rigby (DS Jim Strange)
‘Shaun was brilliant. I don’t know where he finds the energy – he has limitless patience and creativity, and there are no half measures. His attention to detail as an actor has transferred to his directing and in every scene he knew what he wanted, so it was a smooth experience. He’s a natural.’