Rebecca Hall Talks Violent Marriage To Benedict Cumberbatch In HBO’s ‘Parade’s End’

Don’t let the title fool you — the parade is just beginning for “Parade’s End.”

Tonight (February 26) at 9 p.m. ET, HBO airs the first two installments of “Parade’s End,” director Susanna White and writer Tom Stoppard’s five-part miniseries based on author Ford Madox Ford’s novel series set in Europe during the threat of World War I. But the soldiers heading for the battlefield aren’t the only ones at war; the miniseries focuses on the tumultuous marriage between Christopher and Sylvia Tietjens — played by future blockbuster stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“Star Trek Into Darkness“) and Rebecca Hall (“Iron Man 3“) — and what happens to their lives over the course of ten years.

Hall stopped by MTV News to talk about tonight’s premiere of “Parade’s End” and what viewers can expect to see. (Spoiler: expect the unexpected.)

On the setting: “It could be placed in the bracket of ’World War I drama,’ but it’s really a domestic drama. It spans the ten years of a highly, highly dysfunctional marriage. The warzone is at home, rather than on the front.”

On her character: “I play a character called Sylvia Tietjens, who is married to Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, Christopher. She is an example of a woman who is highly, emotionally intelligent and instinctively intelligent, but has no real education, no outlets, no career — no ability as such, and no analytic facility. Essentially, all of that instinctive intelligence goes to waste and gets bored and gets played out in manipulation, deceit, acts which border on the sadistic, and general naughtiness.”

On her relationship with Christopher: “They meet on a train … Sylvia at that point is in need of a husband, shall we say; she’s gotten herself into a situation. She traps him in a sense. From the get go, he’s captivated by her exoticism and she’s everything he’s not. She’s a character where all of her emotions are on the surface. She says what she’s feeling, as well as being deceitful. She’s extreme in that sense. He’s reserved and has no ability to express his emotions. She thinks that he’s an easy mark and will be a fine husband who won’t give her too much trouble. But they both underestimate each other. The big turn of the plot is that his saintliness, in a sense, becomes the thing that she adores and loathes about him. She wants to punish him for it. Instead of doing what one expects — which is to get angry and castigate her for it — he forgives her every time. That drives her crazy.”

On the love triangle at the heart of the series: “The character of Valentine Wannop comes into the story and she’s a symbol of the woman of tomorrow. She’s a suffragette. She’s everything and the opposite of Sylvia. She comes in, and her entrance into the triangle, presents an impasse: Christopher is incapable of committing adultery, or likes to think he is. These three characters head-butt for ten years in various different ways. A lot of the drama comes from that; those contradictions.”

On what to expect going forward: “I can safely say that whatever you think you’re going to be in store for, you’ll be wrong. It’s incredibly unpredictable. It’s very rewarding, so stick with it. It gets better and better and richer and richer as the story goes on.”

Will you be tuning into “Parade’s End” this week? Tell us in the comments section below or let us know on Twitter!