Christopher Eccleston on Keeping Quiet About his Religious Beliefs and The Hardest Scene to Shoot in ‘The Leftovers’

Christopher Eccleston
is no stranger to TV — after all, he is the actor who brought Doctor Who back to life after a sixteen year absence and was also on another cult favorite TV series, Heroes — and he recently returned to the small screen in the HBO series The Leftovers. On the series Eccleston portrays Matt Jamison, a former reverend who is distraught and confused about why he wasn’t “chosen” to disappear in a rapture-like event that caused 2% of the world’s population to disappear that happened three years before the start of the series. He spoke to Vulture about why he doesn’t think he should talk about his own religious beliefs and what was the hardest scene to film.

In the past, Eccleston has identified himself as an atheist. When asked how that worldview affects his performance as a former reverend, Eccleston retreats from his earlier statements on religion. He explains why by saying, “You know, I think I said I was an atheist years ago when I was young and headstrong. I don’t know what I would say now. I’d probably say nothing. I actually think it’s quite important when you’re playing a character like this to keep your mouth shut about that. So, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”

He also spoke about the most difficult scene to film, and explains why he doesn’t plan on watching it. He reveals, “The scene where Matt puts his camp bed next to his wife, who is in a semi-vegetative state, and stares at the portrait of Job. That’s his darkest hour. How to pitch that … crumbling was a challenge, and probably one I won’t look at. That was hard. It’s those quiet moments where the camera pulls into you and and you try and open yourself outward … I don’t want to sound too much like an actor here but you know what I mean? Those moments of fragility are the hardest.”


  1. Sarah

    July 16, 2014 at 8:43 am

    The third episode of the Leftovers, which features Mr. Eccleston and has the scene he will not watch, was one of the best performances I’ve seen on TV since Breaking Bad. I was truly blown away by the writing and his execution of this character, a man so desparately clinging to religion in a world that has seemingly given up on God. I myself am not religious and at times even criticize it for the fanaticism it can induce, but I watched this episode and felt this character’s struggle and found myself rooting for his cause despite his flaws. I look forward to more scenes with this character.

  2. Lance Carter

    July 16, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I’m behind so I haven’t gotten to that episode yet… but now I can’t wait. thanks for the comment 🙂

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