The best music films on Netflix: Woodstock, Fyre to Taylor Swift and Lewis CapaldiMay 12 | 4 min read
Summer might not be here quite yet, but Netflix are ready to turn up the temperature of the nation with the new adult thriller, Obsession.
Based on the 1991 Josephine Hart novel Damage, Obsession is the story of a love triangle involving the enigmatic Anna Barton, her fiancé Jay and his father William.
As Anna attempts to keep both relationships alive, William slowly unravels as his obsession with their forbidden desire spirals.
A must-watch four-part drama – available to stream now on Netflix – this is one steamy and seductive series that you won’t want to miss.
Obsession cast list
- Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Stay Close, The Stranger) – Plays William
- Charlie Murphy (Halo, Peaky Blinders) – Plays Anna
- Indira Varma (Obi Wan Kenobi) – Plays William's wife Ingrid
- Rish Shah (Ms Marvel) – Plays Anna's fiance Jay
- Pippa Bennett-Warner (Chloe, Gangs of London)
- Sonera Angel (Red Velvet Revolution)
- Anil Goutam (Andor)
- Marion Bailey (The Crown)
Richard Armitage – Plays William Farrow
"I was fascinated by the psychology of what leads a very successful man, with a really good marriage, a great family and, really, nothing wrong in his life, to risk everything,” said Armitage.
"Was there a point when he could have stepped away, not crossed the line? Or was the attraction so compelling it was out of his hands? I wanted to explore the idea of choice. You could take one path and stay on the right side of the line or you could cross it and watch the rest of your life unravel from that decision.
"I wanted people to ask themselves what side of the line they’d be on."
Talking about the anxiety of having to bare all on camera, Armitage said that he reached an agreement with co-star Charlie Murphy to "not be British about it".
"[I said] let’s treat it how the French would deal with intimacy in films. For them, being naked with each other is not a taboo, it’s just a part of life," he said.
"It was the only way we’d achieve the intensity the script demanded."
Where have you seen Richard Armitage before?
North & South, The Hobbit, The Stranger, Stay Close
Charlie Murphy – Plays Anna Barton
Charlie Murphy said that her response to the Obsession scripts was "100 percent yes", praising the changes from writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm to shift the story towards a female perspective.
"It was the most dynamic and fun role I could ever have imagined," said the Happy Valley actress.
Talking about how her character is updated from the original story, Murphy said: "Beneath the veneer she’s been terribly broken by the things that have happened in her background and unfortunately, as she says in the drama, ‘Damaged people are dangerous.’
"Back in the bad old days she might just have been seen as the cliched marriage wrecker, the scarlet woman, but one of the things I loved about the drama was its willingness to explain and to understand her."
Murphy said that she ended up having "a real laugh" with Armitage in their intimate scenes and praised the work of intimacy coach Adelaide Waldrop for making them feel comfortable as they attempted to create the sexual chemistry between William and Anna.
"What it’s really about is the ability to feel playful and at ease with that person and Richard and I had that in spades," said Murphy.
"Ny the time it came to filming I wasn’t even nervous. It was like the first night of a play where you’re just completely ready."
Where have you seen Charlie Murphy before?
Halo, Happy Valley, Peaky Blinders, The Capture, Love/Hate
Indira Varma plays Ingrid Farrow
Indira Varma openly admits that she was initially unsure about getting involved in the project, because she was wary of playing ‘the victim’ of William and Anna’s affair.
However, after reading the script to Obsession, her opinion quickly changed.
“She knows she’s a catch in her own right and if she wanted to be with somebody else, she could be,” said Varma.
“But she chooses to be with William, this person she loves and has created a world and a life with and has been with far longer than she’s ever been single. And for me, there’s a kind of steadfastness and nobility in that choice.”
Varma said the big difference between Obsession and similar stories is the focus on giving women space to tell their stories.
"It isn't all about William and what motivates him. It’s much more about what motivates every character - from Anna with all her damage to Ingrid and her desire to sustain her perfect family life," she said.
"It also rejects a lot of the labels that used to be put on women. Nobody’s the virgin or the whore, the slut or the homemaker. Ingrid isn’t the wife that’s being traded in for a younger model. Just look at the clothes that costume designer, Keith Madden and I felt the character should wear.
"We wanted her to still be attractive, and hip, and a sexual being. We wanted to avoid all the usual cliches."
Where have you seen Indira Varma before?
Game of Thrones, Luther, Carnival Row, Rome, Obi Wan Kenobi, This Way Up
Rish Shah plays Jay Farrow
Ms Marvel star Rish Shah knew from the start that he wanted the role of Jay, describing the dark and erotic thriller as a “dream come true”.
Explaining how Jay fits into the dynamic between his father and his partner, he said: “He has this big weight on his shoulders because of his father’s success and accomplishments. It’s really hard for him to fill his father’s shoes and he desperately wants his approval and validation.
“To some extent, his relationship with Anna is an extension of this. Maybe he feels being with this strong, older, independent woman, who appears so driven and knows what she wants is a way to prove to himself – and to his father - that he’s a grown up man that can handle it.”
Talking about working opposite Charlie Murphy, he added: “She’s such a giving actor and such a great listener that she really made the work a lot easier for me.
“I’ve done a few other intimate scenes, but none like the ones with Charlie in Obsession, so I was pretty nervous going into it. But having [intimacy coordinator] Adelaide [Waldrop] there to talk us through the scenes and choreograph the moves, almost like a stunt coordinator, was beyond essential.
“It made Charlie and I feel so comfortable with the scenes and with each other. It’s something I’d advocate now on pretty much every project I’d be a part of.”
Where have you seen Rish Shah before?
Ms Marvel, Do Revenge, The Long Goodbye
Watch Obsession on Netflix now.
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