“They’re asking for too much, these dudes.”
VANITY FAIR – A brief cloud crosses actress Gwendoline Christie’s face when I asked her if she thinks her Top of the Lake: China Girl character—the hopeful, open-hearted officer Miranda Hilmarson—bears a close resemblance to her real-life persona. Anyone who has watched Christie in interviews or on a red carpet knows that the six-foot-three blonde—who made a name for herself playing severe, lethal characters like Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games, and Captain Phasma in the latest Star Wars trilogy—is, in actuality, one of the friendliest and easy-to-smile actresses in the business.
That goofy side is on display for the first time in Christie’s decade-long career in a role that Top of the Lake creator Jane Campion wrote specifically for her. Hilmarson will stoop to make friends with a dog, and does her best to crack the hard nut that is Elisabeth Moss’s Robin Griffin. But Christie is still right to distance herself a bit from Hilmarson—because, like everything in Campion’s work, this bright and cheery constable has a darker side.
Moss herself is fond of repeating Campion’s thesis statement for creating Top of the Lake, an ongoing dark feminist drama disguised as a crime story which follows Detective Griffin from a small New Zealand town in Season 1 to the faster-paced dangers of Sydney, Australia, in Season 2. “The placid lake of Season 1,” Moss says, paraphrasing Campion, “hides the danger underneath. But while Season 1 dealt with the wildness without, this year we’re tackling the wildness within.” And indeed, the second season of the critically acclaimed drama—which airs six new episodes on three consecutive nights starting Sunday, September 10, on Sundance—brilliantly juxtaposes the gray, ordered facade of a city like Sydney with the messy, violent passions of the people who inhabit it.