NY TIMES – If Jane Campion’s first season of the crime drama “Top of the Lake” seemed remote and somber to some, the second season, “Top of the Lake: China Girl” has more of a sense of humor, even when delving into the darker recesses of life. (In this case, migrant sex workers, institutionalized misogyny, mental illness and more.) In the second season, which begins Sunday on Sundance, Elisabeth Moss’s detective Robin Griffin, who returns home to Australia after time in New Zealand, is assigned an overeager assistant, played by “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie.
Over the phone earlier this month, Ms. Christie spoke about becoming Robin’s reluctant partner, her own reluctance to take a stand on the issues the show raises and her meltdown on set. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation.
Jane Campion wrote the character of Miranda with you in mind?
I really wanted to be in this series, so I wrote to Jane, and I was lucky enough to have her write this part for me. It touches on aspects that I don’t always feel particularly comfortable with, but I think it’s important to highlight, and so we see Miranda being marginalized at work, the victim of misogyny. It’s not always comfortable to play those things. Yes, you’re at work, and yes, you’re just playing a part, but it’s so personal.
And yet at the same time, Miranda provides some of the comic relief.
I think the series is quite hilarious! It has a very, very dark sense of humor, but it’s extremely funny. Miranda is like an enthusiastic puppy. Miranda desperately wants to be friends, and she’s really governed by emotion in a way that Brienne of Tarth from “Game of Thrones” is not. Miranda is the complete opposite of Brienne. Brienne has a reflective thought process, and works things through with sustained thought. She takes her time. She pauses. And Miranda is totally impetuous. She’s also incredibly gauche. She’s gawky. She’s awkward. She’s too much. That’s a note that Jane gave me to constantly remember: “You’re too much.”