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On this edition of THE INTERVUE, we return to the lives of Nikki and Jason as we embark on the third season of Trying, now playing on Apple TV+

Trying is the sweetest show on streaming media right now. The Apple TV+ sitcom follows a couple on their journey to become parents.  After a dramatic end to season two, the third season picks up with Nikki and Jason waking up as new parents to two children they are still getting to know. Now they just have to keep hold of them, which proves to be trickier than they initially thought. Thrown straight into the parental deep-end, Nikki and Jason’s relationships with each other and with their nearest and dearest are tested as they desperately try to navigate the ups and downs of parenting — while hanging onto their kids, and their sanity.  

I recently sat down with lead actors Rafe Spall and Esther Smith (Jason & Nikki) to talk about the third season and the big changes within!

This show feels very optimistic especially through all three series. How has being on the show impacted your lives?

Esther Smith (ES): Well, I guess I’m one level in the impact of doing a store a story about adoption, which is something I completely didn’t know about properly. I didn’t fully understand what that process meant. I guess it’s given me more of an insight to that. Well, I’d have so much respect for people going through that process, because it’s such a hard process. So, it’s impacted it on that way.

And also, because the show initially came out during the global pandemic. And because it’s such an optimistic show, and it’s full of joy, and hope. I guess the impact of that being part it’s just really lovely thing to have been part of, and to put that into the world, particularly that time, especially, and continue to coming out of it.

Rafe Spall (RS): it’s been a very important time for me, you know, like, very, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. And I was doing a film in Atlanta, about three years ago, with and I was playing the district attorney of Alabama, Just Mercy. And I was like, the only English person around doing a southern accent. I was like, I’d really love to do something in my own accent, I really love to do, I’d really love to do something where I can play a version of myself.

And then this literally landed on my inbox, as I was contemplating running away from that set, because I was so overwhelmed by it. And like I was putting out into the universe that I wanted really great writing, that I wanted to be able to play a version of myself, and then a show that I would love to watch. And this ticks all of those three boxes. And it was exactly what I was after. It’s exactly what I wanted in my career, and it came along. I’m so grateful.

 

At the start of the season, we see that Nikki is going to get to focus on her job. Esther, how is she adjusting to the power dynamics there?

ES: It’s really nice to see her step into that kind of role. I think it’s something she really struggles with wanting to show that she’s kind of this “adults and grown up”. I think one way of doing that is by becoming a manager at the place that she works in. I think she’s such an empathetic, empathetic person, having that kind of power, and then the fact that she might have to disappoint certain people or being that kind of authority figure. I think she does find that tricky, but she just handles things in her own way. And that’s what I love about the show. She kind of, as the series, goes on that she manages things, just in a very kind of niche fashion, which is just lovely.

And to you Rafe, we see that Jason gets to deal with things on the home front a little bit more than what he did. What can you say about that home storyline, and the cost of living in London?

RS: Well the cost of living crisis is, is affecting most places on earth. And, you know, one of the things that I like about this show is it’s about normal folks. They don’t have like fancy jobs. You know, they’re struggling to make ends meet. And they might not have a great deal of status or material wealth, but what they lack in that department they have in, they make up for love. And they have a huge amount of love to give.

In fact, the love between them is so great that it’s spilling over that they need to personify it in another human being, which is why they go through the adoption process. But yeah, you know, they’re juggling things. Jason decides that he’s going to be a stay at home dad. And as the series develops, they realized that they didn’t have enough money for that. So, then he gets another job. It’s a juggle and it’s the thing that people are confronted with all the time and you have two parents who need to work just to support the children. I mean, that’s eminently identifiable for a huge tranche of the audience.

That’s what I have to do, I have to go out and you know, I do act, because it’s the only schools that I can exchange for cash. And that’s how I put, that’s how I pay my way, which means sacrifice, which means not seeing my kids as much as I would like to because I have to go off and go and do my acting. I think everyone watching will be able to identify with the fact that it’s splitting your time between being a present parent and a provider. It’s a very, very difficult balance.

I have a great feeling that a lot of our audience here will definitely relate. My question is to both of you next question. We have been on a journey with them for the past three season, it’s so nice that they got to a point where they finally have what they want it a family. But as you say, it’s not without its challenges. But for the two of you, what were some of your biggest challenges playing the role of parents that wanting to adopt and they finally got their wish?

RS: I think he’s very interested in dramatic device, actually, is, when you are given the thing that you’re that you’ve been seeing your heart’s desire on for a long time, and how you deal with getting the thing that you always wanted, and it not looking like how you imagined it to look, right. So, they always want to kids, they decide that they’re going to adopt older kids. I think that in their minds, they thought that well, you know, the kids will instantly love them, the kids will instantly see all the great benefits and wonderful personality traits that they bring to the table. But obviously, people are complicated.

I don’t imagine that Nikki’s a sort of mother that she thought she was going to be in Jason is either, you know, kids have a way of doing that. Parenting isn’t as you imagined it to be when it happens to you. I imagine that parenting would be like sitting on wingback chairs by the fire and importing pearls of wisdom. It’s tricky and difficult and demanding. It’s shows a great look into that.

ES: yeah, I think that as well. With just kind of life, life just continually, continuously happens to these two people as well. It’s never just an end point. I think every series, they come up against something, wherever they are in that journey. And if this was if this story was to continue, there would be more things that they would come up against. It’s not just the end goal isn’t just like getting these kids. It’s kind of what happens after that and after that, and after that. To me as a reminder that, yeah, like you were saying, like, you might get what you’ve wanted, but then things, things will still happen after that life happens in his goodness and his badness. It’s a constant challenge.

RS: It’s never finished, never completed. You never go right. I got the partner I always wanted. Got the kids got the house live in the city, there’s always some other shit.

Always is, always

RS: And that’s part of the delight and horror of the human condition. And, in its own little way, this show is a is a contribution to that conversation is a representation of what it is to be human. And even though it’s a comedy show, it deals with very weighty subjects. I think that everything is dealt with, with a realness a truth in the show, which is really important to always be important to us. As if it feels real, you know? And, yeah, I really like it.

The only absence this season is, of course, the wonderful Imelda Staunton who as we know has been busy filming another show. Do you guys miss her and is there a chance she could return when she’s less busy? 

ES: I mean, definitely miss her. She’s such a lovely energy to have around. She’s such a brilliant. Yeah, she’s so brilliant to watch as well watching her do her work. She’s so effortless.

RS: And extremely prepared. She is very aware of the fact that we do a job which is fun. And he’s supposed to be fun. And the best activity that you work with, really have fun, and have a laugh as always, a great sort of camaraderie between actors. Yeah, because no matter what level you’re at, you come on to your first day on a set and it’s like your first day at school. It’s still nerve racking, it’s the great equalizer. And she’s a really wonderful person. I think there’s room for it to come back in, in later seasons. If she’s finished her reign as the monarch by then, we may be very lucky to happen. I think we both love that!

Did any real-life families or stories of adoption inspire how you approached your roles and help you understand what it is like to adopt children because as we’ve seen, it’s not been an easy process for your characters?

ES: And I get so before we started, I just I like to read up on what we might be doing or touching on. So, I read this book called “How I Met My Son: A Journey Through Adoption” which was is by this journalist Rosalind Powell, and she talks about her fertility journey. She’s unable to have children naturally. Then she goes on a selection process, and it’s one of the most. It’s such an involved story. And so truthful and honest, and I’m reading that kind of definitely gave me a really good step into the wild that we were going into.

Everything that we need to know I think, as actors is there in the writing as we’re doing it, because these two characters don’t know the pros, the process at all. So, we’re, as two actors are kind of meeting them with it. I guess the things that I read up on didn’t necessarily inform the character that’s in the writing that Andy had written out, but it just gave me an idea of the world that we were stepping into, and the hardness of it, the ups and downs of it. I listen to a couple of podcasts as well. And it’s just making me more aware of what that process is, I think, personally,

RS: Esther gets a lot of people getting content, getting in contact with him on Instagram and stuff, talking about how accurate the show is, you know, and how, how grateful people are to be represented in that way. And it all checks out, and its representative of people’s experience we’re going through and we’re like that was very important, because it’s an incredibly sensitive subject. There’s a whole community of people that have adopted children and you want to do that properly. And 100% of the feedback which has come back has vindicated us.

ES: And it’s also really lovely because you get people that have been in touch with me on social media from series one through each series have been in touch to talk about their journey so far. So, there’s a few people that have been like from the very start of their journey and who now have been matched with kids or who are meeting kids this summer in and that’s really lovely to be entrusted with that those personal stories and to be able to celebrate that with them as well. I think people just want to be seen in their circumstances and I think we this show gets to show that which is yeah, really special.

One last question. We only been through six episodes so far six episodes coming out tomorrow what has been your favorite moment of this series so far season?

RS: I genuinely cry every episode watching. I think it’s like got like, weapons grade emotion in the show because seeing this couple trying to give love to these kids, you know, like it’s really moving.

ES: I love the scenes when you’re giving advice to Tyler, and he’s just kind of because, you know, I think you and Nikki have got such a special bond in the show and that really shines through. I think they’re just beautiful scenes.

RS: And also, the stuff the stuff that I love shooting the most. And enjoy doing is all the stuff in the apartment with Esther and I because that to me feels like the heart of the show. is where the show like sings and always has sung and like, when we shot or in the first season it was like, “Oh wow, this was it was enormously enjoyable to do” and I think it’s just got such a natural ease and realness to it like a couple together. I think they look like you know, it was very real. And I love shooting those scenes because it was so beautifully written as well.

The first six episodes of Trying season three are now available to stream on Apple TV+. New episodes will drop every Friday through to September 2nd.