If you've seen Moss in "Mad Men," you may think you've seen her stretch. But she may surprise you, too, as Robin, trying to discover who impregnated Tui, uncovers some unsettling things about her own past.
Even the always ready-to-surprise Holly Hunter, who threw on a long gray wig for her 20-year reunion with "The Piano" director (who cowrote "Lake" with Gerard Lee and codirected it with Garth Davis), manages to be mildly unexpected.
She's playing a character called GJ, a sometimes reluctant magnet for a group of mostly middle-aged women who've followed her to a lakeside commune in New Zealand in search of some sort of healing. As a result, she's incurred the anger of the local drug lord (Peter Mullan), who also happens to be Tui's father.
New Zealand also reintroduces itself in "Top of the Lake," a multilayered mystery that unfolds in what has to be one of most beautiful spots on the planet, only to reveal the same ugliness beneath the surface that can be found anywhere.
"People are so used to 'The Hobbit' or 'Lord of the Rings,' and that beautiful representation of that country," Moss told reporters in January about the setting, most of which was within an hour of Queenstown. "But this, you know, we show a very different and much more modern, much grittier and much more raw side of it."
Earlier this year, Campion brought "Top of the Lake" to the Sundance Film Festival, where all seven episodes were shown in one day, a marathon that's probably preferable to the TV schedule, which begins with a two-episode premiere this week, followed by one installment each Monday until April 15, when it concludes with two back-to-back episodes.
(Honestly, if you have a DVR, you might be better off setting it to record all seven and then watching them later, with fewer interruptions.)
"When I work with Jane, it's kind of like falling in love with someone, you know, but you're falling," Hunter told reporters in January. "And you might stumble and she might push you or you might leap, but you're falling. And it's deep and dark and fun."
Campion "called me with this one and just said, 'Look, I want you to do this.' And I read it and I was like 'Why? Why do you want me to do this? Why? I don't even think that I can,' " Hunter said.
"She was, like, 'Oh. No. Just come to New Zealand.' And I was like, yes. I mean, you can't say no to Jane. It's just like [speaking robotically], 'Yes, I will.' "
Moss began filming "Top of the Lake" only a few days after finishing Season 5 of "Mad Men" (whose sixth season begins April 7 on Sundance's sister channel, AMC) and got to do things she'll probably never have the chance to do in that '60s show, like cut up a guy in a bar.
"I was bleeding and I had bruises the next day and my voice was gone and, sorry to say, but that stuff's really fun for an actor," Moss said. "At least fun for me."
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