Olivia Munn teams up with 'strong actresses' in HBO Go's supernatural thriller 'The Rook'

Shiela Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2021 04:19 PM

Joely Richardson, Emma Greenwell and Olivia Munn in 'The Rook.' Handout

MANILA – For the first time, the eight-episode STARZ original series “The Rook” is coming to Asia to reach more viewers who are fond of supernatural spy thrillers.

The series will be streamed exclusively on HBO Go beginning January 25, with fresh new episodes every Monday until February 22.

Based on its official synopsis, “The Rook” follows an empowered young woman who chooses to become the invaluable asset her agency always wanted her to be, but entirely on her own terms. 

The series begins with Myfanwy Thomas (Emma Greenwell), a woman who wakes up in the rain beside London’s Millennium Bridge with no memory of who she is and no explanation for the circle of dead bodies splayed out around her. 

The only clue to her past is a letter in her pocket, the first of several she planted for herself knowing her memory would be wiped out. 

When Myfanwy discovers she’s a high-ranking official in the Checquy, Britain’s last truly secret service for people with paranormal abilities, she’ll have to navigate the dangerous and complex world of the agency to uncover who wiped her memory and why. As Myfanwy searches for her past, she is tasked with protecting those with supernatural powers from the dangerous world of high-dollar trafficking, and along the way, she uncovers the truth about herself and her past.

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Aside from Greenwell, the series also stars Olivia Munn and Joely Richardson, among others.

Richardson plays Linda Farrier, Myfanwy’s mentor and ally who must defend her tenuous hold on the agency’s secrecy, while Munn plays Monica from the US Bureau of Variant Affairs, who arrives in London following the mysterious incident at Millennium Bridge to investigate the death of her former lover.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News and other journalists from Southeast Asia on Wednesday, Munn shared why she agreed to do “The Rook.”

“I loved being part of an ensemble and I loved that there were going to be two other strong actresses leading that with me. I loved that it was a world where people had superhuman powers. Instead of superhero abilities, these were superhuman abilities. I liked the idea of how far you could go if you were extremely capable at any of the abilities that we had as human beings. Things like that, I thought that was really interesting. I loved the story. It was a mystery. I liked those kind of shows and I was excited to be a part of something that would have to be pieced together,” she said.

As an Asian-American actress, Munn also discussed how she selects her roles to avoid being stereotyped.

“Being a daughter of an immigrant is a huge part of who I am and my family. I am so proud of my mother and my family so it’s an important thing to me. But I think not getting typecast takes a lot of saying no to things,” she said.

“I have one rule before I take on any role which is ‘Does she exist if he doesn’t exist?’ if we are telling that story and it’s me and this other guy, if you take him out of the story, would my story still be there? Would you still understand and believe who I am as a human being in the story? That’s very important for me. That’s a way for me to choose roles that allow the women to be seen as full people, even if it means that it’s not the biggest role or it’s not the one that I was wanting initially but it’s one that I am most drawn to,” she added.

When asked what was the most challenging part of filming the series, Munn said it was the part of not knowing what was going on in the story.

“We’re playing everything in real time. We weren’t really told what was happening episode to episode until we got it. That was probably pretty challenging, not really knowing where we’re going with it but at the same time, it was meant to be so that we could be present and in the moment so my character was figuring it out as every episode unfolded,” she said.

Having said this, Munn is optimistic the audiences will resonate to “The Rook” because of its mysterious plot.

“I think they will really love it. I think it’s a really interesting mystery show with elements of supernatural. I think they will have a lot of fun trying to piece it together as the show starts coming together episode by episode,” she said.

On a lighter note, Munn shared what special ability she would want to have in real life.

“If I could have any ability that is grounded in reality, I would have the ability to speak every language on earth. That way, I could go everywhere and talk to everyone,” she said.

As for what she would tell herself if she knew she would also wake up one day without any memory, Munn said: “I would say ‘You have two dogs and they need to fed. This is the dog food.’ And then I would probably put down the number of my best friend who I’ve known since I was 13 years old in Japan. And I would say, ‘Call her and she’ll tell you everything else.’ I’d also say, ‘Don’t call your mom until you figure it out.’”

The series is produced and distributed internationally by Lionsgate.

Other cast members include Adrian Lester, Ronan Raftery, Catherine Steadman, Jon Fletcher, Shelley Conn and James D’arcy.

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