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‘3 Body Problem’ Interview: Benedict Wong and Liam Cunningham


Premiering on Netflix March 21st is the new series ‘3 Body Problem,’ which is based on the popular Chinese novel ‘The Three-Body Problem’ by author Liu Cixin and was created by ‘Game of Thrones’ co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo (‘True Blood’).

The series stars Benedict Wong (‘Doctor Strange’), Jovan Adepo (‘Babylon’), Eiza González (‘Ambulance’), Jonathan Pryce (‘The Two Popes’), and Liam Cunningham (‘The Last Voyage of the Demeter’).

Benedict Wong and Liam Cunningham talk '3 Body Problem'.

(L to R) Benedict Wong and Liam Cunningham talk ‘3 Body Problem’.

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Benedict Wong and Liam Cunningham about their work on ‘3 Body Problem’, the book the series is based on, how they approached playing their characters, and shooting the game sequence.

You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Wong and Cunnigham, as well as Jess Hong, Jovan Adepo, John Bradley, Alex Sharp, Rosalind Chao and Zine Tseng.

Related Article: TV Review: ‘3 Body Problem’

Liam Cunningham as Wade, Benedict Wong as Da Shi in '3 Body Problem.'

(L to R) Liam Cunningham as Wade, Benedict Wong as Da Shi in ‘3 Body Problem.’ Photo: Ed Miller/Netflix © 2024.

Moviefone: To begin with, Benedict, were you familiar with the book the series is based on before you signed on for the project?

Benedict Wong: No, I wasn’t. I met the guys on Zoom whilst I was filming ‘Doctor Strange.’ I was just immediately very suspicious, why did they need three showrunners for this project? Then delving deep into the first novel is so dense, this science and this world of the game world. I was thinking, I don’t even know how this is going to be filmed. It’s such a challenge. I just picked up the gauntlet and ran with them.

MF: Liam, did you read the book before you started shooting?

Liam Cunningham: No, I’m going to wait till I’m done. I generally don’t do it. Even the last project I did with David and Dan (‘Game of Thrones’), I never read those books. I didn’t want two voices in my ear. My blueprint was the scripts and that’s what I was employed to deliver. If I read the books, if I’d had trouble with any of it, I would’ve used that as a reference. But that’s when I think I might be in trouble when I must go somewhere else for information. So, I didn’t want two voices in my ear, the book voice and the script voice. So, I am going to keep that treat until we’re all done on this. Then I’ll sit down on a beach somewhere under a palm tree and I’ll dig deep into the book.

Liam Cunningham as Wade in '3 Body Problem.'

Liam Cunningham as Wade in ‘3 Body Problem.’ Photo: Ed Miller/Netflix © 2023.

MF: Liam, can you talk about your preparation and approach to playing this role?

LC: We do enormous amounts of preparation. Enormous amounts, but we prepare for the scene. Our showrunners are very good at formulating a character that is not about, he went to school here or anything like that. In fact, I had a couple of small questions, but I don’t think I ever talked about where he comes from.

MF: Benedict, how did you prepare to play your character?

BW: I think the world builds around you and within this center of your universe, you have everyone at your command. The calls that you make are answered and there’s so much power within that, and that builds that level of who this person is. We did get the blessing of Cixin, the author, and he knew that this was going to be inspired from the books because they were telling a global story but then it still had this Asian spine of myself, being from Manchester and Jess (Hong) being from New Zealand, and then the character of Ye Wenjie played by Zine Tseng and Rosalind Chao. But to tell much more of a global story of look, we have someone who’s Irish in command with this duo and its fascinating to watch because it’s almost like, well, how did they get there? And they have every right to get there too.

Benedict Wong as Da Shi in '3 Body Problem.'

Benedict Wong as Da Shi in ‘3 Body Problem.’ Photo: Courtesy of Netflix © 2024.

MF: Finally, Liam, can you talk about shooting the game sequences?

LC: It was very much what the guys are very good about it, but they kept it to a minimum. So, these cinematics as they call them, the room we were in was very high-tech. It wasn’t that volume that they used on ‘The Mandalorian,’ that semicircular LCD wall. It was a very particular lighting setup on an enormous level. They gave us this huge amount of room to wander about in this place. There were minimal sets. What you hang your hat on is what happens. What’s the information that’s given? You’re seeing this AI representation of whatever word the threat is. So, there was a certain amount, and you did have to use an enormous amount of your imagination and paint the pictures in your head, which can be interesting if it’s very important to the storytelling. It was a joy to do. It was quite a challenge, but a real joy.

'3 Body Problem.'

‘3 Body Problem.’ Photo: Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

What is the Plot of ‘3 Body Problem’?

Ye Wenjie (Rosalind Chao) is an astrophysicist who saw her father brutally murdered during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Later, she was conscripted by the military because of her scientific background and sent to a secret radar base in a remote region. Her fateful decision at the base echoes across space and time to a group of scientists in the present day, forcing them to face humanity’s greatest threat.

Who is in the Cast of ‘3 Body Problem’?

  • Benedict Wong as Da Shi
  • Jess Hong as Jin Cheng
  • Jovan Adepo as Saul Durand
  • Eiza González as Augustina “Auggie” Salazar
  • John Bradley as Jack Rooney
  • Alex Sharp as Will Downing
  • Rosalind Chao as adult Ye Wenjie
  • Jonathan Pryce as Mike Evans
  • Liam Cunningham as Wade
Sea Shimooka as Sophon in '3 Body Problem.'

Sea Shimooka as Sophon in ‘3 Body Problem.’ Photo: Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

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