‘Harlots’ Star Breaks Down [Spoiler]’s Season 3 Death & Relationships
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 5 of Harlots.]
Harlots just lost another character in Season 3.
In Wednesday’s episode, Alfie Allen’s Isaac Pincher became the latest victim on the Hulu series — and this is the second character of his to die in 2019. His Game of Thrones death was harder to film, the actor told TV Insider.
“As an actor, I’d been living with that character for so long, and yeah, saying goodbye to it was tough,” he explained. “It was a real tough moment for me playing that character and then obviously there were tough moments for the character himself.”
Allen chatted with our Kate Hahn about his Harlots character and his relationships, his death scene, and more.
I was so happy when I saw you were cast in Harlots. I thought, “Oh my God, that is perfect for him! That is great for him.” Did you enjoy shooting that?
Alfie Allen: All female writers and producers and a female-led cast was something that really attracted me towards the project from the start. And I’d known about it beforehand, so when they reached out, it was something that I definitely grabbed with both hands. It was just great being in a program with people like Lesley Manville and Samantha Morton. It’s just fantastic.
The cast is amazing, isn’t it? Poor Isaac, though. Tell me how you see Isaac Pincher, why did he appeal to you?
Well, the relationship that he has with his brother. And kind of being the, I wouldn’t say brawn of the operation, but he is definitely the more rash-thinking one. So in terms of creating that relationship with Ash, just making sure that we had that chemistry as brothers was something that I found to be very interesting. But also, the kind of humanity that is within Isaac, the kind of need and want he has to have a kind of real relationship. That’s something that kind of starts from luck and then he wants it to develop into something more.
So to have those moments of truth that he obviously craves, but then also do these crazy, horrible things that he does. And obviously those emotions that make him want that familiarity are the things that also drive him to do the terrible things that he does. So yeah, having that shred of humanity and having all these kind of horrible things revolving around, that was something that was definitely interesting. He’s entering into a world of game-playing and dishonesty, and as an audience member, you don’t know whether there are real feelings there.
Why does he love Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay)?
I think that she is his match. I think that he is doing what he is trying to do in that world. He’s already been out and conquered it, so to him, he is trying to match her best efforts. He sees his equal in her, in a way. I think there is a certain amount of chaos in that relationship and I think Isaac thrives on that.
So tell me about working with Jessica. Did you guys have chemistry right away? Had you ever met her before?
No… I’d seen Jessica in many things she’s done before but I hadn’t met her or come across her. We just hit it off from day one. We have friends in common, so we knew a little bit about each other. It was just enjoyable from the start, we were just really, really great friends and I think when you allow yourself to be — not so much the comedy in those sex scenes — but if you just relax about it and are just making sure that you’re both doing OK then it was great. Because we were close friends, by the time we got to those sex scenes, everything was easy and she was just a fantastic person to work with.
The one thing I really liked about their relationship was the sex scenes weren’t always the same and they weren’t always driven by the same desires or needs. It would change different times they got together, which you don’t often see on TV. Usually it’s, we’re passionate for each other, we have to have each other, we love each other. But theirs was very different.
I think that there was a kind of knowing of potential consequences. That’s what drives people to be in those situations in the first place, isn’t it? So I think that there was a constant hemming and hawing about whether it’s the right thing or the wrong thing to do but it was just the physical attraction. They just couldn’t help it. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
Tell me about his reaction to her death. There are some really sad but wonderful scenes where he goes to her bed and he takes her dress. Then, towards the end, he’s writing a poem about her. Is it only in her death that he realized really how much he loved her?
Up until her death, it was just fun and games and then there was something more there. So I think, yeah, you’re right, when she died, he realized what could’ve potentially been and what he was really searching for. And also the fact that he’s partially responsible. It kind of drives a wedge between him and his brother about whose fault it really was, and you never really see that argument because it’s something that neither of them really wants to face. I think it’s an interesting approach to dealing with death, just carrying on.
Do you think it was his fault that she fell?
No, I don’t think it was. I definitely think it was Hal Pincher’s fault.
Tell me about shooting Isaac’s death scene. He’s so misunderstood in that scene. What is he going through when these three women confront him down at the docks?
Ultimately, he’s confused really because obviously the game plan that happens throughout Harlots and obviously with Isaac in particular, he has honest intentions until the end. He means to give that money to Emily and he wants her to leave, selfish [as] his motivations [may be] but his intentions are true.
So being confronted by these women, Margaret Wells and her crew — and he came across Margaret as being someone completely different — is something that would ultimately be confusing on so many levels. Also being confronted by this woman that was supposed to be dead is quite a thing to be thrown into the mix. Then, Emily is the person that his brother is in love with, so he’s kind of dealing with all these things and how to actually defend [himself].
Why does he fire the gun? He is the first to fire.
Like I said, he’s just acting out of self-defense. He sees the gun being drawn him and so he doesn’t quite know where to shoot or who to shoot. So I think he just shoots out into the air, I think that’s primarily what it is, and he misses.
Yeah, they don’t miss him though. Do you think he acts out of fear in other areas? Is that part of his character?
I don’t know, I mean, if that’s what you saw in him then perhaps. I would say that he’s more driven by his need for some form of honesty, because he knows within himself that he tries to elicit this kind of image of gentry and try to obtain some kind of class that he really isn’t. So perhaps that’s where his fear of not belonging really comes from.
Harlots, Wednesdays, Hulu