What if you had a second chance at love? It’s a question that’s posed in Tobias Menzies (The Crown) and Sophie Okonedo‘s (Flack) installment of Modern Love, poised to drop alongside Season 2’s other episodes on Friday, August 13.
But they’re not downtrodden strangers who are unlucky in love. No, their characters are long-divorced exes who co-exist as parents to two young girls. Beginning a casual fling in the episode, the pair reignites an old flame but there are hurdles ahead. “It’s quite light and then it goes quite heavy,” Okonedo teases, adding: “There’s a rom-com element to it.”
“I enjoyed the kind of gentle sweetness of the story,” Menzies says of his initial draw to the anthology episode. “It was like a really attractive romantic idea about second chances and rediscovering someone that you’ve lost.”
Filmed during the pandemic in Dublin, the episode titled “Second Embrace, With Hearts and Eyes Open” forces Emmy-nominated performers to convey a sense of familiarity with one another that was aided due in part to the health and safety protocols.
“We had much more time than unusual because we were doing a quarantine,” Okonedo reveals. “We were in this bubble together… and nobody was really allowed to come near us so we [had] this luxurious time and got to know each other in an intense, quick way.”
The actress likens their experience to what it’s like working on a play, “it ended up being a bit like when you do a theater rehearsal. So by the time we got to the first day, we were very bonded.”
Menzies echoes his costars sentiments, adding, “it was one of the odd side effects of the COVID situation… I think that hopefully feeds into the stuff in the episode because you have to arrive with a sense of what their life has been like before and then what they’re refinding. So there has to be a bit of history between us.”
One of the helpful elements was the inclusion of the stars’ onscreen children. “It was a bit of a leap for me because I don’t have kids. So I had to do use my imagination a bit,” Menzies admits. Thankfully, the actresses playing their daughter, Savannah Skinner-Henry and Ellie-Mae Siame, are naturals.
“We were very lucky,” Okonedo shares. “They are just the real deal and they hadn’t acted before. Everything you see is just how they are, and John [Carney] created a real atmosphere so that they could do their best work by not being too aware they’re being filmed.”
The result is a sweet tale that even tickled the stars. “I was touched by the idea of being able to rediscover something that has sort of fallen apart and a chance to maybe do it better,” Menzies says. “I found that it’s a really heartwarming idea, and so, if we can conjure that in a few people’s hearts, then that would be a nice thing.”
“There were some bits that were really funny as well,” Okonedo adds. “So, hopefully they’ll laugh too.”
Modern Love, Season 2 Premiere, Friday, August 13, Amazon Prime Video