There’s something about Hayley Atwell — she’s a very beautiful young woman but there’s something about her in that period look of the 1940s that makes her like Vivien Leigh or Ava Gardner — a classic movie star of the past. She’s got that kind of beauty — the severity of the hair and make-up seems to suit her unbelievably well. I was stunned at what a perfect Freya she was (Logan Mountstuart’s wife in Any Human Heart) and so when we were thinking who could possibly be Eva Delectorskaya, I had but one thought in my mind.
She has to jump out of windows and stab people in the eye with a pencil and seduce American politicians and fall in love with this charismatic spymaster, so it’s an incredible rollercoaster of a journey for her. She’s really versatile as well as having that magnetic factor X that all stars of the screen have to have.
Hayley would fit to a T almost any female role I’ve written — she would be a fantastic Hope Clearwater in Brazzaville Beach. Let’s get her fighting some chimpanzees.
Restless, based on William Boyd’s novel, is on BBC1 in December.