Actress Rebecca Hall On The Thrill Of Watching A Sci-Fi World Come To Life In ‘Tales From the Loop’
Best known for her roles in films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Frost/Nixon, The Town and an incredibly unhinged performance in the 2016 real-life drama Christine, British actress Rebecca Hall returns to her television roots this year with the Amazon original sci-fi series Tales From the Loop.
Hall started her career at the age of nine on the 1992 TV mini-series The Camomile Lawn, which was directed by her late father, acclaimed British stage director Peter Hall.
In her new series, which is inspired by the artwork of executive producer Simon Stålenhag, Hall plays Loretta, a physicist who works at “The Loop,” an underground research facility where one can “unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe.”
While each episode of the show’s first season shares connective tissue with one another, each story focuses on different characters who live in the small town of Mercer, Ohio. Without giving too much of the plot away, one of the first episodes, which deals with time travel, reveals Loretta meeting herself as a child. The series also stars Oscar-nominated actor Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) who plays Loretta’s father-in-law.
Not a stranger to the sci-fi genre, Hall starred in the Oscar-nominated 2006 film The Prestige alongside actor Christian Bale, and in the 2014 film Transcendence with Johnny Depp. She saw the same kind of sci-fi essence in Tales From the Loop that had attracted her to those two films.
“I’m sort of interested in the point at which physics becomes philosophical and existential,” Hall said during a phone interview. “I think that – merged with an emotional, dramatic narrative – was a good opportunity to amplify … human feelings in a way that you don’t get with other non-genre pieces. I think it can often lead to something unique.”
Hall said when she read the script, she was also “intrigued at how sad and minimalist” it was, especially since the show adapts much of its look from Stålenhag’s visuals.
“I wanted to know what the images would be like,” she said. “I think I might’ve said yes [to the project] as more of a watcher than an actor.”
For her, watching Stålenhag’s world manifest around her on the set was “really thrilling.”
“It was bitterly cold when we shot it [in Winnipeg] and everything was icy and covered in snow,” she said. “It sort of emerged from there – what felt like seamlessly and easily.”
During the series, Hall shares the screen with child actor Abby Ryder Fortson (Ant-Man and the Wasp). At the time of shooting, Fortson was around the same age as Hall when she started her acting career. Working with Fortson reminded her of her own childhood.
“I thought about it a lot,” she said. “I’ve got very, very strong memories from that period of my life. I remember the sheer excitement being in this adult professional world as a nine year old and the feeling that you were being taken seriously by adults as peers. It’s a really unusual thing for a kid to go through. I watched Abby and I could see her having that excitement.”
Tales From the Loop Season 1 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Kiko Martinez is a freelance film journalist and critic based in San Antonio, Texas.