Now ‘Chernobyl’ co-stars became pals
Q: On camera, your character and Stellan Skarsgard’s became close compadres. How was working with him?
A: I just love Stellan, he’s fantastic. I joke because there were a couple of times we were out at night in bars and people had this sort of weird thing of trying to provoke him or confront him. He was just this sort of Zen master of defusing confrontation. It was like watching a Tai Chi expert using someone’s energy to sort of swoop them away and send them away.
Q: Why were they going after him?
A: I don’t know. People are drunk and it’s late at night there, you know, that weird attitude. But he’s really such a delight. He’s so funny, he’s very charming and the best company. I mean, any night where Stellan said, “Let’s go out for dinner,” you’d be going, “Thank you. Yes, please” and hang out with him. He’s lovely. He’s easy to get on with.
Q: You filmed in Vilnius, which was in the path of the Chernobyl fallout. Did the locals have any stories?
A: There were people there who remembered it who had been affected. We were south … . The thing happened in the Northern Ukraine and it really badly affected Ukraine. Belarus got hit really, really badly. In fact if you go online and Google, there’s loads of pictures of children who were born with birth defects as a result of the radiation contamination. You know, they’re born without arms, without legs, without eyes. You know, it was just awful. So that’s where they got hit the worst.
But there were a lot of people who remembered it happening. Some of them were involved. We talked to one person who was part of – in the later episodes there’s a clean-up crew. I mean, what they have to do to contain the situation is extraordinary, the effort to try and minimize the impact of what’s happened is – I mean, they’re literally moving heaven and earth.