Hannah Marks of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on Why Elijah Wood Is a Great Costar
If you need a reason to tune into the premiere of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency this weekend, look no further than its cuddliest cast members.
“Two of the show’s lead characters are animals,” the series’ star Hannah Marks told InStyle when she recently stopped by our N.Y.C. offices. “One is a corgi, and the other is a black kitten.” The eight-episode BBC America show follows the story of Dirk Gently (played by Samuel Barnett), a holistic detective who believes in the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things.” And the series packs some major mysteries—and mishaps—as its first season progresses. “It’s a detective show, but it’s sort of like if Sherlock Holmes was really bad at his job,” said Marks, who plays rebellious punk-rock lover Amanda Brotzman. “There’s a lot of magic, and things gets weird.”
While the world of Dirk Bently may be strange, Marks’s co-star Elijah Wood is used to being in a magical world. The Lord of the Rings actor plays Todd Brotzman, Dirk’s sidekick and Marks’s onscreen older brother. “Elijah basically plays the Watson character,” said Marks. “I end up joining him and Samuel Barnett in solving the crimes on the show.” And her character plays a key role. “Amanda has a fictional disease called Pararibulitis that causes hallucinations, so she’s always thinking that she’s in life-or-death scenarios,” said Marks. “But the hallucinations actually end up coming in handy when they’re solving cases.”
Playing a character who suffers from a fake disease “was really challenging,” said Marks. “Pararibulitis is a nerve disease where my character’s mind convinces her that she’s either drowning or lit on fire or something, and her nerves fire off as if it’s really happening. She’s a drummer in a punk band, and in the first episode, her drumsticks turn to knives. There’s really no way to prepare for pretending to be stabbed by your own drumsticks.”
Despite the fact that her scenes are so “intense” to film, the show is lighter at times. “It’s really a dark comedy,” said Marks. “Part of the humor with my character is that she’s afraid to go to the grocery store because the cheese looks like it’s going to attack her. So it’s not super serious, but it is very Big Lebowski-esque.”
While filming the show, Marks became close with her co-stars—especially Wood. “Elijah is like a real brother to me,” she said. “Sometimes it would get lonely while we were filming in Vancouver, and he'd just take me out to breakfast to hang out. It was very brotherly, which was cool.” And the actress learned from her onscreen sibling on the set. “I look up to him so much,” she said. “He’s good at everything, and he’s been doing this forever since he was a child actor. He’s just the nicest guy on the planet, and you’ll never hear a bad thing about him—plus, he has those big blue eyes that you could stare at all day.”
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