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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2006, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Davenport sets sail again for TV
By Keily Oakes
BBC News entertainment reporter

Jack Davenport returned to filming on the high seas for the mini-series The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant, playing an army officer charged with guarding British convicts sent out to the Australian colonies.

The actor has spent much of the past few years filming at sea, having starred in the 2003 blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean as Commodore James Norrington.

Jack Davenport in The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant
Davenport filmed most of Mary Bryant in Australia

He is now in the middle of filming the two sequels back-to-back, working with stars including Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley.

His experience at sea helped considerably in filming the forthcoming ITV drama, but his co-star Romola Garai suffered for her art.

"The boat we filmed on wasn't that big," said Davenport, the son of actress Maria Aitken and actor Nigel Davenport.

"It's just completely flat on the underside, so even a 4ft wave feels like a 20ft wave because you are not cutting through the water.

"I'm quite used to boats at the moment, I don't get seasick but Romola did, poor girl."

Filming on The Incredible Adventures of Mary Bryant was made tougher because of the extreme heat of the Australian summer.

"It wasn't an easy shoot. Never underestimate the heat as a factor in trying to have a coherent thought, remember dialogue and hit a mark," said the 33-year-old star.

Time pressure

The actor, best known for his roles in cult TV series This Life and Coupling, said filming on Mary Bryant and Pirates of the Caribbean were completely different experiences - despite the similar settings.

"Because it is TV, there is less time to do things and there is pressure to get things done fast," said Davenport.

Jack Davenport and Romolo Garai in The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant
Filming on the mini-series was tough in the heat
"And even though this was the most expensive mini-series made in Australia - and this is true of everything - you always feel you could do with more money and time."

Davenport added: "The Pirates films are among the most expensive ever made and you still felt you could do with more time and more money. It's the eternal dilemma really."

"Movies like the Pirates movies are defined by set pieces - one great set piece after another."

The second Pirates film, Dead Man's Chest, is due to be released this summer.

Sheer scale

Davenport believes the franchise will be the last of its kind because of the sheer scale and budget of the productions.

Disney took the risk to invest millions in a film based entirely on a rollercoaster at its Disneyland theme park. It paid off when the film became a huge box office success.

"To be around at that Jurassic moment is a bit of a privilege. It's where modern technology and old school actioneering have met, but no studio will ever go through the nail-biting terror again," said Davenport.

The actor, who rose to fame 10 years ago in This Life, expresses his surprise that people still hold the TV series in such high affection, constantly asking if it will return.

This Life
This Life remained a cult hit long after the series ended
"We did talk about coming back. We all met, the five from the first series and Amy Jenkins, the writer and producer, and we were all pretty up for it. We wouldn't have careers without that show.

"But because (producer) Tony Garnett killed it at the moment of maximum demand, which is an incredibly talented thing to do, to find the entry point to revive it - even for an hour - without it looking a bit tacky, was too difficult."

He added: "My favourite thing about the show was that when it ended everybody, except two characters, were miserable - and wasn't that just like life!"

In the future Davenport is considering going back to the stage, but he would welcome a role in a US drama - like his current favourite shows The Sopranos or Curb Your Enthusiasm.

"I would like to have a go at American TV that wasn't some network sitcom or a family drama that gets interrupted every nine seconds - so basically on job on HBO please!"

The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant is on ITV1 on Easter Sunday and Monday.


SEE ALSO:
Flawed pirates still swashbuckling fun
28 Aug 03 |  Entertainment


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