Exclusive: Dominic Monaghan Talks AMC+’s Moonhaven and Audible’s Moriarty: The Devil’s Game
Dominique Monaghan is currently promoting AMC+’s new futuristic sci-fi TV series Lunar Haven and the Audible Original Series Moriarty: The Devil’s Game, but before our interview begins, we exchange notes on how to care for houseplants. Although it may seem like an arbitrary place to start our conversation, the idea of understanding and preserving life and our natural world is very relevant to Lunar Haven especially. In its first season, the AMC+ series tells the story of a future in which Earth has fallen into severe and violent decline, prompting a last-ditch effort to secure life elsewhere in our galaxy. After 100 years, and with the help of advanced artificial intelligence known as “IO”, the moon has become a thriving place to live. There are, however, forces at play that threaten to destroy the utopia (and, by extension, the last chance for survival for the majority of humanity) established on the moon, which has since developed its own culture, customs and even his tongue.
In Lunar Haven, which IndieWire hails as “one of the most exciting new sci-fi stories in years”, Monaghan plays Paul Sarno, one of the detectives in the idyllic eponymous township, who must solve a murder during the darkest times. more crucial on the moon. “He’s naive and innocent and kinda nice in a way that you probably wouldn’t see in most police officers,” Monaghan said of Paul. “It’s kind of an interesting juxtaposition of working in crimes, very serious crimes against other humans – which is kind of a cynical world because you obviously start to feel what humans can do to each other – and then to maintain that feeling of idealistic naivety.” Indeed, it turns out that Paul is one of the few “Mooners” (as they call themselves) who believe wholeheartedly in their original mission to be the scouts of the “Earths”, to help establish life on the moon before those on Earth can finally join those on Moonhaven.
“I’m always looking for ways as an actor [to] play a type of character that I’ve never played before. I’ve definitely played detectives before, but I don’t think I’ve played someone from another part of the galaxy before,” the actor says of what initially attracted him to the AMC+ series. and, more specifically, Paul.Monaghan’s most notable performances, both in film and television, have taken him to different worlds across multiple genres and major franchises, from the Lord of the Rings movies at Lost. What, he says, was his goal as an actor, especially in his performance in Lunar Haven, is to “make all the characters you play as real as possible” and that relativity is paramount. “What’s fascinating to me, watching TV shows that I enjoy, is [that] you might see someone struggling with something that is hard for you to understand […] and then you suddenly see them driving a car or sleeping in a bed or crossing the street, and you think, “Oh, they’re like me. I can identify with them. And then all of a sudden they’re doing something, and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy.'”
Moonhaven’s overarching question about humanity
The biggest question about humanity that Lunar Haven The issues we face – perhaps the most timely too, albeit cynically – are not about how humans will be saved, but whether we deserve to be saved in the first place. From various environmental documentaries to fictional stories that explore real-world issues like war, hate, and climate change, it’s easy to see that Earth’s decline is the result of human interference and, as Monaghan suggests it in our interview, arrogance. “What will remain [on this planet], and what will ultimately prevail is nature. We are obviously part of nature — we are an animal, we live in the natural world — [but] we sort of separated ourselves from the animals. I think this is a major problem for our species. We think we are the bosses and we can do whatever we want. It won’t be nature that will struggle with it [environmental decline]it’s us.”
Monaghan nevertheless feels “positive about [our] future and positive that we can solve a lot of the problems that we’ve gotten ourselves into”, but he doesn’t do it “naively”. That’s where he and his character in Lunar Haven to differ. Unlike Monaghan, Paul is naive and idealistic about humans: he understands that the first generation of Mooners were sent to the moon for the sole purpose of establishing a new world for the Earthers; it’s a responsibility he takes firmly, saying continually throughout the show that “they [meaning Earthers] are us, and we are them” despite humanity’s history of violence against each other, selfishness and destruction. “Paul is a lovely guy. I love huge aspects of his personality, but this naivety that seems to get him in trouble – [his belief] that all humans are inherently good and everyone is there to help you – that’s probably something that was a little harder for me to understand.”
Moriarty: The Devil’s Game Puts A Spin On The Famous Sherlock Holmes Character
Monaghan’s second project is a reversal of his detective role in Lunar Haven. In Moriarty: The Devil’s GameMonaghan voices Professor James Moriarty, the famous villain of sherlock holmes cannon. This time, however, Moriarty leads the story as a framed fugitive who desperately tries to prove his innocence when his fiancée ends up murdered. True to the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary universe, darker forces are at play, especially at a time when Moriarty stands on the brink of a mathematical breakthrough (one that can predict the future). “He’s a brilliant mind, a brilliant mathematician, a chess champion, very smart like Holmes. And if anybody wants to take on Sherlock Holmes, you’re going to need that level of intelligence,” Monaghan of Moriarty says. “Instead of constantly approaching the world of sherlock holmes Looking at our hero in quotes, we want you to think, “What if the hero of the story was Moriarty and everything was turned upside down?”
Voice and audio work is certainly part of Monaghan’s wheelhouse – “I did a few radio plays when I was younger”, he says – while he and the Lord of the Rings co-star Billy Boyd is currently a host of Kast Media’s The onion of friendship, a podcast in which the two look back on the set of Peter Jackson’s hit trilogy. Of course, with Moriarty: The Devil’s Game, Monaghan’s experience recording the Audible original is not unlike being on a movie or television set. “As an actor, I always bring my body and my face to it – you just don’t see those things. All you can do is give your voice. But, for me, it’s really well. I’ve been listening to it for the past few days, driving in Los Angeles and being transported to this time in London is quite lovely.”
Lunar Haven premiered on AMC+ on July 7. Its current episodes are now available to stream, with new ones added on Thursdays. Moriarty: The Devil Game is available exclusively on Audible.