Michael Dorman on his creepy new Sundance thriller, ‘The Secrets She Keeps’
Veteran actor Michael Dorman stars in the new Australian thriller “The Secrets She Keeps” on Sundance Now.
The six-episode series finds Dorman (“For All Mankind,” “Patriot”) as Jack Shaughnessy, an ambitious TV sports reporter who’s married to Megan (Jessica De Gauw), a mommy blogger pregnant with the couple’s third child — a source of friction in their marriage.
Their domestic troubles eventually dovetail with the story of Agatha Fyfle (Laura Carmichael, “Downton Abbey”), a creepy, unmarried store clerk and expectant mother who’s stalking Jack and Megan while dealing with her turbulent personal life.
As the series unwinds, it’s revealed that all three characters are hiding their own dark secrets — setting the stage for an epic showdown.
The New Zealand-born Dorman, 39, spoke to The Post about “The Secrets She Keeps” and shooting in Australia.
Is this series a change of pace for you?
I’ve done a bit of [this [this genre] in the past but sort of steered away from it. I was doing two projects at same time — shooting “The Secrets She Keeps” and [the movie] “The Invisible Man” — both with a thriller element. It wasn’t something I was seeking out but I found myself in those shoes at that time and it was the perfect place I needed to be. It was a turbulent time for me, personally, outside of the stories we were telling, and I sort of played into that headspace and emotional space. It was very bizarre.
Tell me a little about Jack
The main part of the story, for me, is the relationship between Jack and his wife and their kids, the family unit, and what that means to him — and what he’s done to either keep that family unit together or fracture it. When you meet him he has his own secrets that eat him up because of his sensibilities; he’s at a place where he’s just not moving anymore and is becoming stale and grasping at straws. Then you watch him go through this whole journey of losing himself and coming back to what matters the most, to his truth. And in that emotional journey he spirals down to the point that, at the end of it, he’s relieved of his shortcomings because everything is exposed.
Where was the series filmed?
We used the north side of Sydney, and when you watch the show you’ll see some sights of the city, including the Harbor Bridge. It was an absolute treat to be back in Australia. I did a television show years ago in the eastern suburbs at the beach. It was a really great location but I was so engrossed in the work that I didn’t stop and smell the roses. This time … I was able to sit back and enjoy those moments on the set and take in all the locations. It was fulfilling.
Where are you from in New Zealand?
I grew up in Auckland and on the North Island. My mother has Maori heritage and her family comes from the East Coast, a place called Te Araroa. That’s where their tribe is.
What other projects do you have in the hopper?
I was working on “For All Mankind” for AppleTV+, which was one of their tentpole series that launched with “The Morning Show.” We were two episodes out from finishing the second season when we stopped on March 12 [due to the pandemic]. We’re still waiting to get back together so we can tie it up. I’ve been working non-stop from when I first walked onto the set of [the Amazon series] “Patriot.” I’ve been so blessed.
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