For Jude Law’s latest role in “The Third Day,” the actor has to stay in character live for 12 hours, while being filmed in one continuous shot. (Sept. 11)
Jude Law is about to enter his own version of “The Truman Show.” Or maybe “Survivor.”
Honestly, no one knows what, exactly, is in store Saturday, when Law and a group of actors will congregate on a remote British isle for a live 12-hour episode of their HBO series “The Third Day.”
The special episode, titled “The Third Day: Autumn,” will stream on HBO’s Facebook page Saturday starting at 4:30 a.m. ET/1:30 a.m. PT. After the initial broadcast, viewers can replay the event in its entirety on HBO’s Facebook page. The event serves as a bridge between the miniseries’ two halves, which are titled “Summer” and “Winter,” and consist of three episodes each.
“Third Day” is a psychological thriller co-starring Katherine Waterston and Naomie Harris. It follows a grieving father named Sam (Law) who rescues a young girl and returns her home to the mysterious Osea Island off the coast of Essex, England. He soon finds himself stuck on the island after the tide comes in, and is introduced to its creepy inhabitants, who are preparing for an annual festival not unlike the pagan cults of horror films “The Wicker Man” or “Midsommar.”
Pre-COVID, the idea was for members of the public to travel to the island for “Autumn’s” live broadcast, where they could interact with the actors and immerse themselves in the story. (The series was co-created by Felix Barrett, whose theater company Punchdrunk produced the popular “Sleep No More,” an immersive riff on “Macbeth.”)
Sam (Jude Law) finds himself trapped in HBO’s “The Third Day,” which co-stars Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”). (Photo: Robert Ludovic/HBO)
But given social distancing concerns, the audacious episode is now limited to the “Third Day” cast and other performers scattered across the island, including singer Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine) in an acting role.
“We are still confident that it will feel like an event,” Law tells USA TODAY. “We’re all getting more and more used to experiencing things online, through our TV screens, our tablets and phones. The original idea was that we would continue the drama that plays out after (Episode 3), about this festival and these sort of rites of passage. And we’ll be there doing that as such, just without 2,000 (visitors) witnessing it. But the islanders will be there, and it also plays strangely into the narrative of the piece, which is that the island is very exclusive and closed off.”
The actors in “Autumn” will follow a loose narrative over the course of the 12 hours.
“There is a very clear sense of what happens that day, because it’s a day of this festival that the island has followed for hundreds of years, and there are certain stages that (the characters) have to accomplish for it to be a ritual success,” Law says. “I’ve been working on that (storyline) with Felix for the best part of a year or so: talking it through and understanding it.
“But having said that, there are elements I’ve asked not to know about because I want it to be in the moment and real,” he adds. “And there are also elements where anything could happen.”
Law and his fellow performers will eat throughout the 12-hour shoot, and meals will be incorporated into the story. Technology, however, will be off limits.
“There won’t be any cell phones anywhere,” Law says. “I’m someone who quite likes to leave my cell phone as far away from me as possible, as often as possible. So the idea of having 12 hours away from it is my idea of heaven, actually. I don’t know that I want to go to these extremes every time I want to put my phone down for 12 hours, but you know.”
As for bathroom breaks, “they will probably be played in. I mean, there may be the old pit stop behind a bush if I need to take a pee. But there’s no pausing (filming). If you’re following Sam, my character, then what happens happens. I don’t know that that means cameras follow me into the toilet, but it will be played out in real time. I guess I’m just going to have to control myself.”
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