When your character gets killed off in the first episode, it’s usually not a great sign for an actor’s career. But Emily Browning, who plays the recently deceased Laura Moon in TV’s latest must-see series American Gods, couldn’t be more content.
Why? Well, for a start American Gods isn’t the kind of show to let a little thing like a fatal car crash get in the way of a good character arc, but it’s more personal than that. “I mean, obviously there’s the fact that I used to plan my own death when I was five,” the Australian actress tells me within 10 minutes of us meeting. “Sometimes my mind goes to a really unnecessary place.”
Most telly connoisseurs would disagree with the unnecessary part at least. Early reviews for Amazon’s darkly delightful new series suggest it’s the kind of ambitious escapism we need now. Based on the multi-award-winning Americana fantasy novel by Sandman author Neil Gaiman, American Gods tells the story of a brewing war between Old World deities and New World obsessions such as technology, celebrity and media.
Trying to make sense of it all is Shadow Moon, an ex-con played by Ricky Whittle, of Hollyoaks fame — but don’t let that put you off, he’s great. Ian McShane is perfectly cast as a shady conman, Mr Wednesday — scholars of Old Norse mythology may notice some significance in that name — who hires Shadow Moon as his bodyguard.
Browning plays Shadow’s doomed and unfaithful wife. “Laura’s kind of awful. I mean, she’s not a nice person but who the f*** wants to be a nice person? ‘Nice’ is the worst possible word. Like, be a kind person.” She lets out a short laugh. “Laura’s not even a kind person.” We learn more about Laura’s character in flashbacks later in the series but the most salient fact is clear early on: “She dies, and that’s where it gets interesting.”
Someone else who finds death interesting is Bryan Fuller, the American Gods showrunner and co-creator whose previous TV credits include Dead Like Me (about an 18-year-old grim reaper) and Pushing Daisies (about a pie-maker who can reanimate the dead).
Browning soon recognised a kindred spirit: “I don’t think it made me interested in the sense that I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I can work through some of my fears and issues’,” she clarifies. “It was probably more a sort of sick, perverse thing. I’m very drawn to doing things that aren’t necessarily good for me. I’m not a big drinker but I have this strange addiction to unhealthy thought processes. I think about dark things.”
Browning’s Wednesday Addams tendencies won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed her career. She played the unfortunate orphan in question opposite Jim Carrey in the 2004 film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, an asylum inmate called Baby Doll in the 2011 film Sucker Punch and, in the same year, a young woman who takes on an unusual form of sex work in disturbing art film Sleeping Beauty.
She may be most familiar, though, from the 2015 film Legend. Tom Hardy garnered the attention for his double performance as both Kray twins but it was Browning’s soulful turn as Reggie Kray’s tragic first wife Frances that made the most lasting impression.
Full article: standard.co.uk