7 Questions With... Hanna star Mireille Enos: ‘I love doing the action sequences’

BT TV speaks exclusively with The Killing and Good Omens star Mireille Enos about the return of bone-crunching action thriller Hanna to Amazon Prime Video.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 3 July 2020 - 11.55am
Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

One of the most significant changes in Amazon Prime Video’s TV adaptation of Hanna from the Joe Wright movie is the character of Marissa Wiegler.

Played by Mireille Enos (The Killing), the character evolved in season one from the chilling and calculating villain of the film into a more layered, textured, worn down character who ended the first season on a cliffhanger.

A senior CIA operative and central figure in the shady Utrax operation, Marissa began to show chinks in her icy demeanour, forming an emotional bond with Hanna (played by Esme Creed-Miles).

BT TV caught up with Enos to talk about where Marissa’s actions at the end of season one have left her in the battle between Utrax and Hanna…

1. You have a brutal fight scene with Esme Creed-Miles early in season two. How was it to film?

Mireille Enos as Marissa in Hanna season two Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

It was so fun. I love doing the action sequences. It’s a very visceral way of spending your day. We had an incredible fight team, who choreographed it and taught me the fight. Then we spent the day picking through those pieces and I was so grateful that my stunt double on that day was also my teacher.

She would sit in front of the monitor and then on any given movement, she would duck in and say, "You’re head needs to move this way, you’re elbow needs to be here". All that minutiae was incredibly helpful.

2. What is the trick to bringing fighting and acting together to make it feel real?

Esmé Creed-Miles in Hanna season 2 Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

All acting is about having an objective. Having a set of given circumstances and a goal. And I think fighting is the same. You have an opponent and you have a goal. At least fighting in the context of a film, that fight is supposed to tell a story. My fighting in season two is definitely telling a story.

We spent a lot of time talking about how the choreography needed to tell a story of this journey. And luckily we have the director, the fight choreographer and everyone is watching to make sure you are staying on track.

3. Marissa gets some fantastic costumes. Did you keep any of them?

Mireille Enos as Marissa in Hanna season two Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

They’re not always very practical for fighting! Although, this season, she is in flat shoes for the entire season. Last season, I had some tall boots and I said that because she is in a mission mode, she needed to be in flat shoes. I’m in sneakers the whole season, which I just love.

I didn’t keep any costumes from the show, but one of the pairs of sneakers Marissa wears, I bought my own pair. I loved them.

4. Where do we pick up with Marissa at the start of season two?

Mireille Enos as Marissa in Hanna season two Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

At the start of the season, all she is thinking about is a cover story that will save her place in the CIA and keep her safe. She’s been trapped in this recovery hospital and she feels uneasy. She’s been there a long time. Her loyalty is being questioned.

She’s not thinking too much about Hanna at the start of season two. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her again. Marissa is back to being her own number-one priority.

5. We have a new villain this year played by Dermot Mulroney. What was he like to work alongside?

Mireille Enos as Marissa and Dermot Mulroney as Carmichael in Hanna season two Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

Dermot is wonderful. He’s such a good actor, such an interesting actor. The way he can slide so easily between comedy and drama makes his character very interesting.

His character Carmichael  is a villain, but Dermot has such warmth that Carmichael becomes this incredibly disarming character. A disarming villain is a very dangerous villain.

Marissa and Carmichael do have a respect for each other, but they also know that they are keeping big secrets from each other.

On any given day shooting with Dermot, we would always say, "Remind us - what is the truth? What is the lie? How good a liar am I being?". It’s all those little details and layers which make that dynamic so much fun to work on.

6. What's the biggest challenge of making Hanna? 

 

The scope of the project. We are all over Europe. Incredible locations. A big cast. All of that makes for a challenging five months of your life. Everyone did an incredible job keeping it running, but it definitely requires stamina.

7. Why do you think Hanna is relevant for 2020?

The girls in the Utrax programme in Hanna season two Chris Raphael/Amazon Prime Video

On the one hand there is this huge conversation in season two about women and their identities. How, in this coming of age moment, they have to answer the questions of nature versus nurture. Are they going to be the person that society tells them to be or are they going to follow their own intuition and how to untangle that?

It’s also entertainment and a thriller.

And also - I don’t want to be too heavy-handed - but there are a lot of conversations right now about weighty government and unchecked government, and the danger of that. I think Hanna touches on that as well.

Hanna season 2 is available on Amazon Prime Video from July 3.