In her native Australia, Essie Davis is well-known as the clever and spirited Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. The period crime-drama series aired on the country's ABC channel from 2012 until 2015, lasting 3 seasons with a total of 34 episodes. Now, almost a full five years after the series ended, Davis returns to the beloved role in a sequel movie, titled Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears.
Recently, while speaking with PopCulture.com, Davis opened up about coming back to the franchise with a film, and shared that it was important to her that the "cinematic experience" of the project "wasn't dependent on the series." She continued: "I work in film a lot and I love going to the cinema and I wanted it to be a story in itself that didn't start from scratch so the fans who'd seen the series could definitely enjoy it what happens next for their own enjoyment of storytelling, and that it needed to be a complete story in itself. And I think that it is, and lots of people who've seen it have said the same thing; they thoroughly enjoyed it and had never seen the series before."
Achieving this was no easy task, however, as Davis explained that there were many series actors that simply would not be able to appear since they had already had established roles. "It was complicated because it meant there were lots of actors that we couldn't use because they'd been in the series. And I kept on saying, 'No, can't use him, no, can't use him.' Lovely actors, but I think the fans would go, 'Hang on a minute, wasn't he...' And so, that also presented its own challenges."
The five-year-long distance between the end of Murder Mysteries and The Crypt of Tears may feel like a lifetime to fans, but for Davis, it was more about her desire not to repeat something just "for the sake of success."
"I think that everything is about story, character arc and also trying things that you've never done before," she said. "And I like to be challenged and try different things all the time. So for me, it's always had to be a bigger landscape. I love Phryne, there's no question. I can imagine a life where I play her forever and people I'm sure will enjoy watching her little black bob become a little salt and pepper bob and then a little platinum bob."
In Crypt of Tears, Phryne Fisher frees "a young Bedouin girl from her unjust imprisonment in Jerusalem" and then "begins to unravel a decade-old mystery concerning priceless emeralds, ancient curses and the truth behind the suspicious disappearance of Shirin's forgotten tribe."
The film is full of exciting stunts, which Davis jokes that she did many of while in high heels. "I can run in heels but only when I'm working. It totally ruined my feet. This is not something you should try at home, ladies," she quipped.
When it came to making the film a reality, Davis says that both Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes were "huge inspirations" for the story, "not just as domestic, tall murder mysteries, but a real bop, a proper adventure that is filled with action and romance and sassiness and beautiful clothes and amazing locations."0comments
While she confesses that this is "not the only thing I want to see in a cinema," Davis is excited that the themes are "so appealing for multiple generations." She explains that "it's a date movie, it's great for older people, it's a fantastic family, multi-generational get-together and lots of women love it because they feel inspired and sort of getting liberated by how brave and bold Phryne is and all the men love it because why wouldn't you love Phryne? She's like the woman every woman would like to be, and the woman every man would like to be with. Crazy."
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears premiers stateside today, and is now streaming on Acorn TV. Fans can sign up for a free trial of the streaming service here, by using the code FREE30.