Showtime’s new drama The Affair follows two married people – a school teacher played by Dominic West, and a waitress played by Ruth Wilson — who embark on an affair. The first 10-episode season of the series, debuting October 19, looks at their relationship from their sometimes very different recollections. Showtime topper David Nevins and show creator Sarah Treem both said the series is an exploration of marriage; Treem said she wanted to tackle the subject “in a Rashomon” way, showing differing perspectives and without judging either character, both of whom are in “very vulnerable places and, by chance, meet someone who they come to believe is their true love.” (In the series, West’s wife is played by Maura Tierney, and Wilson’s husband by Joshua Jackson – watch a new teaser below.)
One critic noted West had played a number of characters who were married but involved with someone else, and characters who were not married themselves but involved with someone who was – and even a married person involved with someone who was also married, as in this series. The critic asked West if there is anything different about playing one of these characters and playing someone who’s involved in a relationship that’s adultery-free.
“I’m trying to think if I’ve ever NOT played an adulterer,” West replied, eliciting laughter. “It gives you a sort of evil edge, which is always interesting. I played a lot of villains, so I was delighted to be cast as a hero – but, as you can see, it’s in a villain context.”
He also got asked if it’s easier to do “steamy scenes” in a period piece or a contemporary one. “If it’s a steamy scene you don’t have your costume on anyway, so it could be any time,” he said, but admitted it “easier to remove your clothes in modern dress.”
Another critic asked Treem what “experience or knowledge” she had that helped her to write this series.
“Well played, sir!” West said, approvingly. But Treem, who wrote the original script from a story co-created with In Treatment creator Hagai Levi, seemed somewhat taken aback at the question, responding, “I don’t think I can answer that question.”
“She’s only been married two weeks,” West explained.
Here’s Showtime’s new teaser for The Affair: