The Gloaming: Emma Booth chats about the show’s moral complexities

The Gloaming Episode 1 - Courtesy of Michael Brook / Starz
The Gloaming Episode 1 - Courtesy of Michael Brook / Starz /

Tomorrow night, the Australian series The Gloaming makes its American debut on Starz. The chilling, supernatural crime drama stars Emma Booth (Glitch, Once Upon a Time) and Ewen Leslie (The Luminaries) in the starring roles as detectives Molly McGee and Alex O’Connell.

Together as teens, Alex and Molly split after a tragic incident unfolded that left them both traumatized. Twenty years later, a new murder of an unidentified woman shares a disturbing link to the old cold case and suddenly finds Molly and Alex reunited once more.

We had the chance to chat with Booth about her role in the series, her character (and the show’s) moral complexities, shooting on location in Tasmania and much more!

The premiere episode will air tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST on Starz with new episodes airing weekly thereafter. The eight-part series originally debuted on the Australian streaming service Stan last year.

Chatting with The Gloaming star Emma Booth

Show Snob: I know it has actually been a while for you, since finishing The Gloaming. Is it strange to see it about to air in the states?

Emma Booth: It is because it aired in Australia and then it went quiet for a while and now it’s back and getting a lot of publicity so it’s exciting and exciting to have a little piece of Tasmania being seen all around the world now. I’m excited about that and also because I think it’s a pretty cool show.

Show Snob: Do you think that Americans will react to the show any differently?

Emma Booth: We got a pretty good reaction in Australia, but I assume it might actually get a better reaction, only because most people don’t know that much about Tasmania, so when you’re from Australia you’re like, “oh well, it’s Australia,” we know what it looks like –– even though Tasmania is a separate island it’s still part of Australia, and a lot of Australians haven’t seen it, still I think Americans will find it really intriguing because Tasmania is so beautiful and unusual. It’s very otherworldly and it doesn’t get showcased much.

Show Snob: Right and that plays well into the storyline which is grim and has a supernatural element. Is that darkness something that attracted you to the role?

Emma Booth: Yeah, absolutely, I’m so intrigued by all of that. Crime and supernatural are my two favorite genres. For me, this was the ultimate role. You just have to look at it to see how spooky it is, and Tasmania has a really dark tragic history, very violent, there was a lot of death. And so strangely enough, or not strangely enough, you can feel it when you’re there.

And I think that kind of adds to it, it’s the perfect place. It’s actually where [Victoria] Madden, the writer and creator, is from, which is why she was like I’ve really got to make a series here, over winter –– so it’s even darker!

Show Snob: Apart from the otherworldly stuff, the show has very human characters. They all have some kind of trauma to deal with, did you like exploring that?

Emma Booth: You always know you’re going to be stretched as an actor when you get a character going through something like this, that has experienced so much loss, grief and abandonment as well and then you look at all of the characters and see they’re stuck in this liminal space, the gloaming, they call it because you can’t move forward or back.

They’re in the “in between,” so everyone had their work cut out for them as far as performance goes on this. We had to give it our all. There is definitely a very human element, grounded in reality, and we knew we had to because of the supernatural element, we knew we had to make it as believable as possible.

Show Snob: A lot of your character, Molly’s, trauma is tied to Ewen Leslie’s character Alex, could you talk a little bit about their relationship?

Emma Booth: Molly and Alex used to be together 20 years ago, and a huge tragic event happened and he left and never said anything to her. Then 20 years later he comes back to help out with this crime and she’s like, “what are you doing here?” Then they realize the new crime they’re investigating is tied to the crime that happened 20 years ago that they were both involved in.

It’s so, kind of, convoluted in a way, this whole storyline, and so intertwined. And there was one point where we were like, “how is this going to work out!?” The scripts weren’t all written, we were kind of writing as we went, which made it challenging for an actor like me who likes to be prepared. But we had to just go with it.

There is a very heavy past and they have to really work through a lot but I think that’s what is awesome about this show, is that there is redemption, justice and closure for all of these characters who are all seemingly stuck.

The Gloaming
The Gloaming Season 1 – Courtesy of Starz/Bradley Patrick /

Show Snob: Then on the flip side, you have her relationship with Gareth McAvaney which is much more antagonistic, what was it like working with Martin Henderson?

Emma Booth: He’s great. Martin is a fantastic actor, a very very nice human being so that was awesome. I loved that relationship because Molly is out to get him because she’s convinced he’s responsible for the murder of her friend six months earlier. She just won’t give up on it. She’s convinced, even though it was ruled as a suicide, so it’s this cat-and-mouse thing going on there. It was great, we are antagonistic toward each other but get along very well in real life.

Show Snob: The opening scene is her breaking into his house, messing with his stuff like she wants him to know she was there. I immediately wanted to know more about their specific relationship!

Emma Booth: Right, it is a really interesting opening scene because it’s like, who is this girl and who is this dude!? What is she doing? Which is what Vicky’s aim was, so I’m glad you felt that because that’s what she was after.

Show Snob: And you know she’s the main character, but she breaking into someone’s house, which makes you question her morality. As a whole, this is a show that explores the gray area, or the gloaming, as you said, so that’s fascinating.

Emma Booth: It definitely does and it keeps you thinking the whole time. It’s the kind of show where you have to be paying attention, like Game of Thrones.

Show Snob: I had to rewind a few times to be like, wait what just happened?!

Emma Booth: I just ask my husband what’s happening, because I don’t have a large attention span [Laughs], but you’ve got to be listening because there are so many clues throughout the show and a lot of information, but of course, it all ties together at the end!

Show Snob: Speaking of the end, would you consider returning for another season? I know the show finished filming a while ago so I’m not sure how that would work but…

Emma Booth: I think I would for sure. I love this show. Who knows, if it’s really well-received it might happen. Obviously, it’d be an entirely different storyline with Molly and Alex going off and doing their thing, but it would be interesting to see where the next plotline would go, so yes for sure!

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The Gloaming premieres tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET on Starz with new episodes airing weekly after that.