Hayley hand-picked for Restless
8:59am Tuesday 25th December 2012 in © Press Association 2014
Hayley Atwell has revealed how she was chosen by writer William Boyd to star as a spy in his latest TV drama.
The Captain America actress plays Eva Delectorskaya, a beautiful Russian emigrant to Britain who gets scouted for the Secret Service by spy boss Lucas Romer (played by Rufus Sewell) in BBC Two thriller Restless.
Eva soon becomes professionally and romantically involved with Lucas but, when a spy mission in the US goes horribly wrong, she has to go underground and on the run.
Boyd, who adapted his novel for screen himself, had a hand in casting Hayley as his Eva after they met on the set of his other adaptation, the Bafta-winning Any Human Heart.
"I had spent time with William Boyd and his wife on set and perhaps out of that relationship he thought of me for Restless," explained Hayley. "It did feel that I was his first choice for Eva but of course, it had to go through the producers and director who ultimately made that decision."
The actress, who said she's shied away from "sexy siren" roles because of the direction they might steer her career into, is proud to play Eva, who she thinks is an incredibly strong woman.
"She is a fighter but deeply emotional so I had to retain her emotional core as she transforms herself from one identity to another. I loved that her beauty is secondary to her skill and ability," she said.
Though her costumes as Eva are beautiful, the role was challenging and physical, especially as they were filming in the cold of a South African winter.
"When you are working in very cold conditions, trekking through wilderness or pushing a car down a ravine, what you really want is warmth and comfort," Hayley said. "So I was cold most of the time on set. There were hot water bottles on standby. Once I saw the film though, I had forgotten much of that and was swept away by the story and its beautiful visual style."
:: Restless is on BBC Two on Friday December 28.