What to Watch

What to Watch With Belgravia Star Alice Eve

When she's not causing trouble in Julian Fellowes' new series, the British actress enjoys serious dramas and light comedies.

by | April 10, 2020 | Comments

Alice Eve at the "Belgravia" Press Conference, March 1, 2020, in London

(Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)

To know the works of Julian Fellowes, such as Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, is to believe that the worst thing that could happen to British aristocratic society of a certain era is a bored rich woman.

Enter Susan Trenchard of the new Epix miniseries, Belgravia. Played by Alice Eve in Fellowes’ adaptation of his own novel, Susan is a ladder-climber who is able to suss out a situation with a twitching cat-like eye for how it will best benefit her. Married to the entitled and uninspiring Oliver Trenchard (Richard Goulding), Susan yearns for any kind of excitement or purpose and considers any slight – such as her mother-in-law Anne (Tamsin Greig) neglecting to make her a plus-one at the afternoon tea hosted by a lady of higher standing – to be the utmost form of disrespect.

Her role in the lavish period-set series is a different sort for Eve, who is perhaps better known to U.S. audiences for Starter for 10, Men in Black III, Star Trek Into Darkness, and, most recently, Bombshell.

Ahead of Belgravia’s premiere this Sunday on Epix, we chatted with the UK-based Eve about playing Susan and what programs she watches when she’s not causing trouble in 19th-century London.


the windsors channel 4 netflix

(Photo by Channel 4)

What are you watching?

So, you know this is a rocky time. I find that, to go to sleep, one likes to be soothed. And, fittingly or not, I find myself being soothed by two shows. One is The Windsors (pictured) on Netflix [in the U.S.] and the other is Upstart Crow, which is also on Netflix [in the U.S.]. They’re both highly British comedy spoof shows.


FAWLTY TOWERS, (from left): Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Ballard Berkeley

(Photo by BBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

What is on your DVR?

I don’t have a DVR. I have like Apple TV, Netflix, and kind of BBC … But the shows that I buy and have always bought include Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Fawlty Towers.


marvelous mrs maisel amazon

(Photo by Amazon)

What is in your streaming queue?

I’m certainly a fan of Maisel, which is over on Amazon. I have to say, in terms of my viewing habits, I’m much more in tune with the Criterion Collection on iTunes and purchase Ingmar Bergman movies, so I don’t really spend too much time on repeating shows. But I do still enjoy Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee [on Netflix]. When it comes to shows, I like to lighten my tone. With movies, I like to be quite serious.


The Plot Against America star Zoe Kazan ep 2

(Photo by HBO)

What is coming soon that you can’t wait to see?

I was enjoying that Al Pacino show that he did on Amazon, Hunters. I’m really looking forward to my friend Zoe Kazan’s new HBO show, The Plot Against America, when it comes here.


alice eve belgravia epix

(Photo by Carnival Films)

Whitney Friedlander for Rotten Tomatoes: How did you get cast in this project and were you a big fan of Julian Fellowes’ work before this?

I got a letter from the producers and they said, “Would you like to do it?” That was it.

I was a big fan of Gosford Park, so I knew Julian from his work on that. And when I read the book for this, Belgravia, when they offered it to me, I then was able to sit down and really enjoy Downton and enjoy the comfort that it gives as a show.

So much of how you play Susan is in subtlety, like the way she scans a room at a party or makes a silent commentary about her in-laws. How did you decide how to do this?

That’s definitely an outside-in thing, and I definitely inhabited Susan from the inside-out. And I think that’s just how she manifested. The thing about the 19th century was [that] everything was observed so intricately. Every movement and every glance and every gesture was meant so much was so loaded; for example, the etiquette teacher explained to us that when we were having dinner, you couldn’t touch your hair, you couldn’t touch your face, you couldn’t do something with your napkin, you couldn’t lift your forks too high or your knife too high, you couldn’t put your elbow on the table because everything, kind of, was mannered and was a way of expressing something. And so there was very limited movement, and there was very limited gesture. So she kind of found her personality, I guess, as you noticed, in like a smaller space.


Adam James and Alice Eve in Belgravia episode 104

(Photo by Carnival Films)

How much of these mannerisms did you know already? Americans always think that all British people know these etiquette guidelines.

Well, I think some of it is intrinsic. I think there is definitely like a cultural understanding of the history and the history of repression and the history of expression. And then I think a lot is learned. I mean, I really enjoyed exploring.

I went to Oxford, but certainly people who go to RADA — to the Royal Academy — to study drama, they’re really good. They go through like a course in what sound was like and of course in walking … and so there is a way to study it. But I learned it through the etiquette teachers and through reading.

How much did you know about this time in British history anyway?

I read a lot around it when I started the job, but also in my course at Oxford, we did from 1832 to the present day, which was modern literature. And so that’s Queen Victoria’s realm. She came to the throne in 1832 … so I certainly had an idea of her influence on literature of the time and the [Alfred] Tennyson, the [Robert] Browning the heavy, kind of elegiac. I had an understanding of the Gothic nature of the architecture, but, I think in terms of society, I learned that since I got the job.


Alice Eve and Richard Goulding in Belgravia episode 104

(Photo by Carnival Films)

Susan has more depth than her meddling ways; for instance, she and Oliver don’t have children. She tells her mother-in-law at one point that she does want them. Is she lying? It’s hard to know if we want to trust her.

I certainly trusted her when I played her, but I think that she wants a child. You could maybe judge her motivations for wanting a child, but I think she does want one. I think maybe she is bored. And I think that there’s very little to do for her, because she’s not allowed to integrate into society and, therefore, kind of conduct relationships. And she can’t go anywhere without her husband, so she doesn’t have entertainment.

As Julian said, himself, to me, the only ways for women at the time to divert themselves were society and children. So, she had sort of access to neither, but I also think her biological clock was kind of ticking.


Belgravia poster

(Photo by Epix/Carnival Films)

Much like with Downton, a lot of what happens on Belgravia involves how much the elite can trust their support staff — even when it comes to getting dressed or undressed.

This was a long conversation that we had running through the whole of the show: the reality of a woman getting dressed on her own … I mean, they couldn’t use the restroom on their own. It was Selfridges, the department store, that had the first female restroom [around when] clothes started to change. Because you would need assistance to even pee. So, it’s a big one.

I know you’ve appeared in a few adaptations like the Amazon miniseries Ordeal by Innocence, which is based on the Agatha Christie story. But you haven’t done a ton of period work on screen. Would you like to do more?

Yes, it’s thrilling. I mean, the thrilling part of doing this was playing a character so kind of complex and well-imagined by Julian. I don’t want to do roles for the sake of them … usually, I just want to play roles that give the woman her do and where her complexities and all her motivations are taken into account. Wherever that comes, I’m thrilled to be able to take that on.

Belgravia premieres on Sunday, April 12 at 9/8C on Epix.


Tag Cloud

boxing screenings A&E TLC cancelled posters PBS Premiere Dates Kids & Family MSNBC Pop TV BAFTA TNT Netflix Christmas movies 007 emmy awards talk show vampires Thanksgiving Action dragons 2018 HBO Go HBO Max Walt Disney Pictures indie slasher Pixar Sundance Now toy story hist kids trophy worst movies Syfy mcc MCU heist movie women Rocketman Watching Series medical drama Rocky HFPA golden globes crossover Podcast Nat Geo ABC halloween Pirates blaxploitation social media book zero dark thirty The Purge Lifetime President adenture YA football breaking bad Tarantino Photos deadpool Tumblr TV movies ESPN chucky mutant Ellie Kemper kong streaming movies Endgame Hallmark spy thriller Song of Ice and Fire cancelled TV shows American Society of Cinematographers Paramount Pictures Interview 45 ABC Signature Character Guide 2020 Film Festival FOX Opinion stop motion aapi First Look ABC Family versus BET adventure series child's play APB RT History technology Neflix green book genre Box Office Pet Sematary dramedy sequel NBC mission: impossible Broadway debate Countdown GIFs anime psychological thriller Marvel blockbuster Writers Guild of America reboot 2017 television kaiju spain foreign Amazon Prime cancelled television classics aliens universal monsters Black Mirror Dark Horse Comics YouTube Crunchyroll natural history award winner docuseries Shondaland joker BET Awards National Geographic Tomatazos MTV Animation DGA 24 frames robots Fox News BBC monster movies Fantasy streamig The Witch superhero free movies E3 sitcom CNN australia Awards Tour dceu ViacomCBS vs. theme song docudrama binge LGBT fresh Nominations Peacock rt labs biography South by Southwest Film Festival game show Starz Toys TV renewals Mary Poppins Returns Fox Searchlight canceled TV shows cancelled TV series zombies japanese animated documentaries TCM Trophy Talk Wes Anderson Food Network nature Anna Paquin serial killer stand-up comedy Britbox Hollywood Foreign Press Association Grammys Legendary Set visit Mary poppins young adult Instagram Live justice league Emmys Reality Competition Music Disney Mary Tyler Moore new star wars movies godzilla name the review marvel cinematic universe scary interviews cartoon nfl Spike dark adaptation BBC One TCA 2017 Sony Pictures 2019 2015 criterion Hulu Travel Channel summer TV preview cults superman Marvel Television Black History Month Super Bowl dc comic book movies slashers Cannes game of thrones comic books Reality Musical Universal Pictures Country Apple TV Plus 20th Century Fox legend TV Land Women's History Month police drama movies Mystery hollywood ghosts San Diego Comic-Con renewed TV shows Lucasfilm witnail black USA Network DC streaming service Exclusive Video rotten comic book movie spider-man 93rd Oscars films Teen Oscar venice hidden camera Comic-Con@Home 2021 GLAAD new zealand Prime Video Superheroes YouTube Red historical drama History franchise new york 73rd Emmy Awards worst sequels Fall TV diversity all-time Nickelodeon Classic Film Funimation Cartoon Network Film anthology 79th Golden Globes Awards facebook TBS 2016 crime thriller Pacific Islander 72 Emmy Awards political drama spanish language First Reviews richard e. Grant comiccon X-Men news HBO sag awards Avengers Comic Book harry potter DC Universe OWN Stephen King Disney+ Disney Plus toronto screen actors guild VOD Universal Turner Classic Movies royal family TIFF prank obituary Academy Awards CBS All Access Quiz spinoff Television Academy SDCC SundanceTV black comedy a nightmare on elm street 71st Emmy Awards independent TruTV archives comics New York Comic Con romantic comedy latino TV Epix The Walking Dead streaming leaderboard children's TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards comic SXSW 2022 Apple Disney Channel Binge Guide Spectrum Originals Sneak Peek CMT telelvision Trivia boxoffice Lifetime Christmas movies transformers james bond Vudu razzies Shudder french cats remakes Disney Plus war live action Chernobyl Extras cinemax DC Comics hispanic Arrowverse Masterpiece BBC America MGM Turner Election canceled Fargo Polls and Games Drama Calendar Comics on TV Freeform dreamworks Esquire 4/20 Best Director Heroines Lionsgate Star Wars Ovation travel fast and furious high school Cosplay The Academy teaser golden globe awards disaster Pop SXSW art house olympics scene in color Amazon Best Picture cops 1990s DirecTV IFC Films Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FXX See It Skip It based on movie Christmas miniseries die hard thriller twilight composers documentary hispanic heritage month NYCC TV One Netflix Musicals critic resources Hallmark Christmas movies supernatural Superheroe casting Sundance TV Winners Image Comics spanish Amazon Studios Warner Bros. The Walt Disney Company Tags: Comedy summer preview NBA period drama rt archives international best 99% wonder woman Sci-Fi Sundance Biopics Family biopic christmas movies 2021 directors Best and Worst TCA feel good unscripted El Rey Best Actor ITV rom-coms tv talk finale WarnerMedia Brie Larson Comedy Central space broadcast popular festivals AMC Plus 94th Oscars VICE Year in Review king arthur Elton John E! target movie true crime trailers doctor who Disney streaming service WGN Rock sports Awards comedies gangster know your critic summer TV Martial Arts action-comedy LGBTQ Paramount Network Captain marvel jamie lee curtis elevated horror Apple TV+ halloween tv TCA Awards indiana jones Baby Yoda Valentine's Day nbcuniversal pirates of the caribbean video Certified Fresh cooking VH1 discovery strong female leads Adult Swim Infographic Marvel Studios FX on Hulu 21st Century Fox obi wan Holidays YouTube Premium Columbia Pictures Western basketball book adaptation Winter TV CBS Spring TV reviews The Arrangement romance mob live event FX singing competition Holiday batman Ghostbusters sopranos saw parents psycho suspense Oscars Alien Mindy Kaling concert jurassic park PaleyFest asian-american Video Games japan CW Seed ID IFC Amazon Prime Video what to watch USA science fiction crime crime drama Schedule IMDb TV Logo The CW critics politics OneApp Tokyo Olympics ratings Trailer dogs Pride Month 90s king kong italian Paramount revenge blockbusters Discovery Channel Mudbound Emmy Nominations AMC werewolf Acorn TV laika spider-verse TCA Winter 2020 Horror Crackle quibi lord of the rings A24 Star Trek rotten movies we love scorecard zombie Summer dexter GoT Television Critics Association Focus Features south america Creative Arts Emmys marvel comics cars Paramount Plus stoner Best Actress Tubi Hear Us Out mockumentary video on demand rt labs critics edition RT21 Red Carpet Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Showtime festival Marathons Rom-Com scary movies Comedy Bravo PlayStation satire