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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
New York meets London in TV drama
By James Bregman
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Rashida Jones and Stephen Moyer in NY-LON
NY-LON features a young couple who live on either side of the Atlantic
Actor Stephen Moyer stars in Channel 4's romantic drama NY-LON, the first UK drama series to be shot partly in New York. He tells BBC News Online what it was like playing a high-flyer who embarks on a transatlantic romance.

The role of Michael, a cocky city trader was one that immediately appealed to Essex-born actor Moyer, as he could relate to the character.

"He's this Essex boy who works in the city - I was drawn to this character who is not me at all but isn't a million miles from what I could have been," he says.

Michael sparks up a relationship with New Yorker Edie, who has her handbag stolen on London's South Bank.

Moyer said shooting in New York really added to his enjoyment during filming.

"It was a dream to shoot there and not be a tourist," he says.

Stephen Moyer
Stephen Moyers plays Michael in NY-LON
The production took a fresh approach to capturing the Big Apple's backdrops, aiming to distance itself from the ultra-glossy New York seen in Sex and the City and Friends.

"We took conscious steps to shoot in the lower East Side, not Fifth Avenue, to show a different side to New York, a grungier side, a real side where actors don't change costume every 30 seconds and are doing normal jobs," Moyer adds.

One high-profile location that does feature is Times Square. Moyers recalls battling to complete an emotional scene there in the middle of a typically chaotic Saturday night.

"I was shooting on this traffic island in the middle of the mayhem, with me walking along, and there are cars pulling up, people shouting at me.

"My favourite heckle was when I was crying my eyes out and this car pulls up and a guy shouts out 'Adrian! Adrian!' exactly like Sylvester Stallone does when he finishes the fight in Rocky. It was hilarious. I thought that was a fantastic heckle."

New York street
NY-LON is the first UK drama series filmed partly in New York

The programme's US contingent includes Rashida Jones playing record-shop worker Edie, alongside Rachel Miner as her wayward friend.

Moyer is full of praise for his American co-stars, although he says actors from opposite sides of the Atlantic have different ways of doing things.

"American actors are incredibly professional when preparing for a shot or getting into character, whereas we tend to be having a laugh and mucking about. We'll be more relaxed up until the point the camera rolls. That's not a criticism by any means, but there's a different way of working."

He also notes differences between the citizens of the two cities.

"I think New Yorkers and Londoners try to find comparisons with each other but they are very different. To New Yorkers, their city has a heart - it's a living breathing entity - and I don't think we think like that about London," he says.

Moyer appeared with Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet in Quills
"If you stop to take a picture of a monument in New York, people stop and smile at you. There's a real sense of being proud of their city. We don't have the same thing - not that we aren't proud of London. "

Moyers is certainly passionate about his home town however.

"I love the fact you can walk down a street in London and get lost even though you've lived here 20 years."

But he jokes that his co-star Rashida Jones had different feelings.

"I don't think she could ever live in London - she can't believe how amenable the people are. If something goes wrong they don't scream and shout, they just get on with it. She likes it when people scream and shout and get their frustrations out."

Moyer's numerous television and feature films include the historical drama Quills, in which he played an architect and worked with Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet .

'Pretty amazing'

"Geoffrey played the Marquis de Sade and never ever went out of character, and that was extraordinary."

He describes Rush and Winslet as "pretty amazing," but says the highlight of that shoot was relaxing between takes with another acting legend.

"The thing I'll always carry from Quills was watching the Cricket Test Series with Michael Caine with plates of food on our knees. He had a satellite dish on the roof of his Winnebago. I was very happy, I have to say."

Moyer's latest film is Deadlines in which he plays a journalist in war-torn Beirut. He hopes to do more movies, and having worked in the past with the Royal Shakespeare Company, may also return to the stage at some point.

"I would like do a short season in something, but I don't think I could do 18 months or 2 years again like I did at the RSC, because of my kids. I wouldn't want to spend that amount of time away from them."

He also says a return for NY-LON is not out of the question.

"The series is left open - as things develop we meet loads of more characters. I think it's got great potential. There's so many ways it could go."

Quills ruffling feathers
28 Dec 00  |  Entertainment

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