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

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