John Goodman: Netflix & BBC Drama ‘Black Earth Rising’ “Rejuvenated” Me After Being “Burnt Out” From A “Long Year”


Roseanne star John Goodman has stated that his forthcoming Netflix and BBC drama Black Earth Rising “rejuvenated” him after being “tired” and “burnt out” from a “long year.”

The actor, who is set to star in Roseanne Barr-less ABC comedy The Connors this fall, said that it was “lovely” to be working on a series “where I look forward to going to work every day.”

Goodman plays lawyer Michael Ennis in the eight-part drama, alongside Chewing Gum creator Michaela Coel, who plays a legal investigator in Ennis’ law chambers, having been rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby, a world-class British prosecutor in international criminal law.

When Eve, played by The Crown’s Harriet Walter, takes on a case at the International Criminal Court, prosecuting an African militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever.

Goodman said that he was drawn to the series, produced by Doctor Foster producer Drama Republic, by Hugo Blick’s script, energy and humor. “I just loved working with him. I’d never played anybody quite like this and I thought it would be a bit of a challenge. So I hope I didn’t bite off more than I can chew. And I was also drawn to prospect of working in London.”

He said that his character appears to be a very “lonely, disconnected and disheartened” man. “I think he’s trying to fight his way back into a life. It appears that he’s a bit lost. He has cancer, his daughter is in a coma, and out of guilt and duty he feels he has to find to find the passion that drove him in the first place. Which came from Eve, I think. He quite fancied the passion that Eve had and that’s what got him started in the first place.”

The Honourable Woman and The Shadow Line creator Blick has previously said that he likes to cast actors with a comedic background because they bring a different energy. “It’s the energy of desperately trying to fit in,” said Goodman. “Yeah, sure I think it fights against audience expectations. It casts against type and brings a tension to the piece. I don’t particularly think of myself as very funny but I guess some people do. Michael Ennis is desperately sad and he overcompensates for this, and perhaps that’s where the humor comes from.”

Blick said, “John brought such intelligence and humor to Michael Ennis that I simply couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role.”

The Big Lebowski star revealed that he would like to work more in the UK. “Maybe 12 months out of the year I’d like to work in London. The talent there is matchless – I don’t want to get myself into trouble for saying that – but everybody is just so willing to pitch in. They’re so well-prepared and crafted. I have a great respect for them,” he added.

Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter & the Cursed Child), Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Lucian Msamati (Taboo) and Abena Ayivor (A United Kingdom) also star in the series, which launches on Monday Sept. 10 at 9pm on BBC2 in the UK, while Netflix has global rights.

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