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Dominic West: 'As in life, there is no objective truth'

Published 09/05/2015

Dominic West (centre) and the other cast members of The Affair
Dominic West (centre) and the other cast members of The Affair

Everyone's raving about Golden Globe-winning drama The Affair ... and star of the show, Dominic West, thinks we're all going to love it.

1 The low-down

"The Affair is about Noah, a city boy [me], who is a writer from Brooklyn, happily married with four kids. He goes out for the summer with his kids to Montauk, a hamlet in Long Island, and hits it off with a local girl, Alison, played by Ruth [Wilson]. She's a cool surfer girl and he's a not very cool, family guy. She gives him what he needs. And he gives her whatever she needs, which is what the show explores really."

2 The creative brain behind the story

"Sarah Treem, who's the creator and a young, brilliant writer, is interested in the consequences of desire; of what happens when an honest, good person, or two honest, good people, can't control their feelings for each other, and how that affects everyone around them, which is, of course, what happens in an affair. And in this show, it gets pretty sinister and pretty dark. As honest as they try to be, and they do deceive, they have a conscience about that, but it all goes horribly wrong."

3 It's shot from two perspectives

"The show is shot from the two different perspectives, so you never really know what's going on. It's either from his perspective or her perspective. It's very subjective reality and, as in life, there is no objective truth, so you're guided through the prism of the character's viewpoint."

4 The truth behind the lies

"Why does Noah have an affair? Well, that's a good question because they've both got pretty good marriages. But then why does anyone have an affair? I think he feels claustrophobic in his marriage. His wife is the main breadwinner, or her parents are. They have a very wealthy lifestyle, but he doesn't earn the money. So, I think he feels a bit out of place within his own family life, and rather emasculated in some way."

5 A search for anarchy

"Noah and Helen [played by ER's Maura Tierney], have a good relationship and they have a good sex life. But she is so good, and so high-achieving - she's a super mum and she runs a store, runs the family and pays for everything. I think that's probably what he wants to get away from - get a bit of anarchy in his life. But the other difficulty is that's Alison's husband Cole, played by [Dawson's Creek's] Joshua Jackson, is a dreamboat. Why anyone would leave him for an older guy, I don't know, so that's part of the show."

6 Victim or predator?

"The biggest challenge in playing Noah is trying to make him a convincing Brooklyn dude, which I have limited experience of. It's a challenge, but what's also great about playing him, is I really get to play two different characters, because he's being seen from two viewpoints. So, on the one hand, from his viewpoint, he's an unsuspecting victim. And from the other viewpoint, he's a very active sexual predator."

7 A feast for the eyes

"Words to describe The Affair are, hopefully, it's very sexy, hopefully it's very romantic, and I think it will be very beautiful, because of where we are on the beach in Montauk. And we are trying to make, I suppose, a classic genre or a classic tale of an extra-marital affair something very immediate and contemporary."

8 What lies beneath

"The setting is so often this other character in the show, [in this case] Montauk, the community of Montauk and the clash between the locals and the weekenders who come out to the Hamptons and party. It says a lot about that and the tensions between those two communities. It talks about running drugs. There is a homicide - or there's a death, anyway. So, there's a crime that is being solved as we go through."

9 Rooting for an ever after

"Hopefully, you root for Alison and Noah. And what's interesting about it, is because we've set up that the two marriages are pretty strong and they're pretty good with their partners, the stakes are much higher about what they're sacrificing. The difficulty is trying to get the audience to want them to be together, which hopefully the audience will. In spite of breaking up their family, you sort of want the lovers to come together."


The Affair, Sky Atlantic, Wednesday, 9pm

Belfast Telegraph

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