The Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, held in Los Angeles, included an appearance by Shaun Evans for MASTERPIECE "Endeavour" (season 6). During day one of the PBS portion (February 1-2) he attended the Masterpiece photo call alongside cast members from "Les Misérables" and "Mrs Wilson" and then, on Saturday, Shaun joined the Press Conference Panel along with "Grantchester" actor Tom Brittney and executive producer Rebecca Eaton.
Whilst reprising his titular role as Endeavour Morse, Shaun also put his directorial mark on the show, heading behind the camera for the second feature-length film in the new series. As the episode he directed was the first they shot this series, he had to edit it over the weekend before they moved onto filming the next episodes. The challenge was keeping a few episodes in his head while he was editing and acting in episodes at the same time, Shaun says. ‘It was an extraordinary experience’. As a director, he brought his photography books and showed the color palette & visual style he wanted to use in the episode. He says knowing what is important to a director gives him a sense of how an episode will turn out.
During the panel, Shaun opened up about playing the young detective Endeavour in the Inspector Morse prequel, noting that one has to keep pushing things and keep changing things up to keep the story interesting. The important part of Series 5 to Series 6 for "Endeavour" was taking the characters through a personal and professional humiliation, according to Shaun Evans.
The new series will see the young Morse embracing the fashion of the period by growing a moustache. Shaun didn't mind it at all. He liked it as something that could be done in the longform storytelling that "Endeavour" enjoys.
As for the ongoing emotional journey Endeavour has been having with Joan, Fred Thursday's daughter, Shaun Evans says he's been fighting for Morse and Joan to have a night of passion, and then Morse to wake up like "that's it?" and be dissatisfied. Because his path (as we know) is to be alone although, on change over the five series, Shaun feels maybe Morse isn't quite so much of a loner as he recognizes the importance of being part of the team.
When questioned if he watched American crime dramas, Shaun answered that the nature of his work ruins watching other shows (in the genre) since one can recognize what's coming. He likes nevertheless the Italian show "Inspector Montalbano”.
After seven years of playing the younger Endeavour Morse, Shaun Evans is still often questioned about whether he feels the pressure of taking over the role of the much beloved detective made famous by John Thaw. This panel was no exception and so, when asked if he felt like he was doing what John Thaw did, Shaun answered no as he hadn’t seen Thaw’s episodes and therefore wasn't working towards John Thaw's interpretation of the character. He says the writing is what should be working towards that eventual goal.
When he landed the role of a young Morse in Endeavour, Shaun Evans felt it important to make it his own and not do an impression of someone else's work. While he respected the original fans, he wanted to welcome a new generation as well. He thought it would shortchange the audience if he just did an impression of Thaw and so he has always gone his own way but "obviously with a huge amount of respect" for the original portrayer.
Shaun Evans aspires to being alive and spontaneous in the moment rather than a preconceived notion of what his character should be.
Endeavour is set to premiere February 10 in the UK and June 16 in the US.