OC: This isn’t really the true story. There’s a big dollop of artistic license. If it was a more recent crime, it would be harder and irresponsible to make it really funny. Also, I think humans just use humor to cope with tragedy.
DT: No doubt, there will be some people who say, “I’m not quite sure this is the right tone for telling such a story,” or that it’s too soon. But, I think it’s perfectly appropriate. The story itself is so extraordinary that it requires a different kind of storytelling. There are times when you’re watching and thinking, “Is this a comedy? Is it not?” I don’t think we have to define it.
Also hard to define is the dynamic between Susan and Chris. Is one more dominant than the other?
DT: It shifts because she seems very placid for a long time until you suddenly see the fire in her, and it’s the same with him. They’re not predictable characters and they’re in a codependent relationship where they’re both enabling each other to cope with the life they’ve chosen.
OC: They’re also two people who genuinely love each other. In any relationship, you take turns to step up to the plate and look after each other. They have to do this in extreme circumstances. On the face of it, two people are killed and buried in a garden. So, they’re baddies. But then, you find out everything that’s happened historically. He is her knight in shining armor, the one good man in her life. They always protected each other.
How did the two of you establish that kind of closeness?
OC: We’d never met before. When I knew it was going to be David, I was so excited. I phoned Jessie Buckley [who’s worked with Colman on The Lost Daughter and Thewlis on I’m Thinking of Ending Things]. She was like, “Oh my god, I love him,” and I thought, “Great!” It’s easy to look into each other’s eyes the whole time because you get on so well.
DT: And we’re both in relationships that are deeply loving—you and Ed, and me and my wife. We understand what it is to adore someone.