When we last saw Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page), he was kissing Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) and then watching her fly off with her father. The kiss Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries fans had been waiting for for three seasons left them hungry for more, and boy did they have to wait! Nearly FIVE years later, the duo returns to pick up where they left off.
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, the first feature film for the Miss Fisher crew, had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January, and to the relief of housebound film lovers everywhere, it begins streaming on Acorn TV TODAY!
We had the extreme good fortune of talking to Nathan Page before the world turned upside down, and he left us convinced that we’ve got the power if we want to see more beyond this film.
When he was first cast as Jack Robinson, Nathan started reading the Kerry Greenwood books on which the series is based to get familiar with his character. He says he stopped early in, deciding that he needed to chart his own course with Jack.
In the books, Jack is a married man with a penchant for gardening. On screen, he’s a divorcé whose personal life is a bit of an enigma— that enigma being a risky choice Nathan made early on, and one he says the fans haven’t expressed any disappointment over. He told us he wanted his Jack to be a “slow reveal,” which was a gamble when the show first started filming and nobody knew how much time they’d have to tell their stories.
The gamble clearly paid off, as that slow reveal makes for a slow burn on the fuse for Jack and Phryne’s sexual chemistry. The dance the two do as they solve crimes is situational at first, spicing up the business of working out whodunnit. As time passes, details of their lives emerge while they work together, which leads to increasing intimacy. She meets his ex-wife, he witnesses her struggles with the man who killed her sister, a friendship blossoms.
The sparks between Nathan and Essie have contributed to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries becoming an international hit, and Nathan’s choices in his role definitely support their unique dynamic.
The obvious choice for a police detective in the 1920s whose work is constantly being interfered with by a “lady detective” would be sexist—to zero in on her gender when trying to push her out of police business. Instead, Nathan carefully reacts to her meddling without dismissing her strengths because she’s a woman. He told us that he believes Jack’s procedures and logic are a “counterbalance” to her passion and intuition. He’s careful to play Jack as strong and secure enough that there’s no question of his feeling emasculated by Phryne. He grounds her, creating space in which she can succeed while simultaneously minding the rules and everyone’s safety.
After the third season of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries aired, scheduling difficulties contributed to a hiatus that might have stretched to permanent cancellation. Fortunately, everyone involved with the show and all of the fans were too invested to let it die, which led to a remarkable crowdfunding campaign. Nathan made videos for the Kickstarter, participating at every step as a cheerleader for the idea and to express his deep thanks to fans voting for this film with their dollars.
We asked him if he’d ever been involved with a crowdfunded project before, and he said no, but that he’d had no doubt the fans would come out in their droves for this one, just as they had to support him every time he’d appeared on stage in Australia since the show began airing. Sure enough, they did. Roadshow Australia had committed to greenlight the film if producers Every Cloud Productions could raise $250,000 in a month. Nathan says he thinks they raised $1M in the first week.
When they finally began shooting (in October 2018) in Morocco, Nathan arrived early enough that he could visit Marrakesh for some beers before reporting to set. He was struck by the vibrancy of the city, and then again by its contrast to the silence of the open desert near Ouarzazate where filming began. He was grateful for the tone that silence set, creating an atmosphere in which he and Essie could pick up where they left off and laying a foundation for the momentum that followed them to Melbourne, Australia, where filming wrapped.
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And now that the film is finished, what’s next? Is there another chapter ahead for Jack and Phryne? Nathan says he hopes so! He has loads of ideas for bicycle chases and other fun they can get up to, but at this time there are no guarantees. Nathan advises that the future of Miss Fisher will be dictated by the success of this first film, and that if fans would like to see more of Jack, Phryne, Dot, Collins and the rest, it will take “butts in seats” (tickets purchased and Acorn TV subscriptions started today) to make that dream a reality.
This article was originally published 3/24/20
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