Chris O’Donnell and Alfred Molina star in ‘The Company’ a new spy drama starting on BBC Two later this month in which O’Donnell stars as Jack McAuliffe, a man caught in the dark underside of the American intelligence community. Here the pair discuss their roles and the production:
“It is a fascinating subject because it’s covering so much material in such a large period of time.” says O’Donnell when asked what interested him in the project.
He adds: “Jack is a pretty complex character, and yet he’s in a very interesting, complex story as well. Usually it’s one or the other, and you don’t have time to explore both sides. This film allowed me to explore the story and the character in depth over a 40-year time period.”
The scale of the story is also what appealed to co-star Molina who comments: “There are so many stories going on, and it covers a really fascinating period of history from the beginning of the Cold War to when the Berlin Wall comes down.”
Where do the pair think the drama in the piece comes from? “That moment of tension and conflict between any of the characters. It’s all about that struggle between what you want and what they want. Of course, in a spy novel or the spy drama, the espionage thriller provides the ultimate conflict” says Molina.
According to O’Donnell for his character it’s “his professional experiences in Berlin, Budapest and Cuba. On the personal side, his relationship with Leo provides a great deal of drama. He’s his best friend, and to have experienced his betrayal is devastating.”
O’Donnell describes his character of Jack as “someone who’s very idealistic coming out of Yale and being recruited by the CIA.”
“He is very excited going over to Berlin for his first assignment and probably a little green. Working with the Sorcerer is very much an eye-opening experience. We get to see 40 years of his career and see the changes that take place in him and what helped to make him who he is at the end of the show. The events of his life and career helped shape a part of who he is. He is married to his job. ”
Molina plays a character code named ‘the Sorcerer’ who he describes as “a bit of a maverick. The Sorcerer represents the old way of doing things in the CIA, when it was manned by the kind of guys who were a little bit on the edge of things.”
“They bent the rules when they thought it was necessary. They weren’t as regulated or corporate as the organisation became, so he belongs to an old-style group of espionage. He has a prot�g�, Jack, who represents the new CIA.”
O’Donnell says Jack is “the Sorcerer’s apprentice. He is a little confused by his methods initially and maybe doesn’t approve of them. Once he gets out there and realises some of the realities of his job, he begins to understand the Sorcerer a little bit better.”