Tom Beasley

Watch: Harry Melling reveals strange inspiration for his Edgar Allan Poe

Harry Melling has revealed he spent a lot of time watching the work of silent cinema legend Buster Keaton before taking on the role of Edgar Allan Poe in Netflix thriller The Pale Blue Eye.

The 33-year-old said he’s not sure this research had a direct and obvious impact on his performance, but it definitely informed aspects of the character.

Melling plays a fictionalised young version of Poe in the movie, teaming up with Christian Bale’s veteran detective Landor to investigate a murder at his secluded military academy.

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“The only film that I kind of weirdly came back to — and I don’t think it really impacted my performance whatsoever, to be honest — was I watched a lot of Buster Keaton,” Melling told Yahoo UK.

Harry Melling said watching Buster Keaton (right) inspired his portrayal of horror writer Edgar Allan Poe (left) in The Pale Blue Eye. (Photo12/Universal Images Group/Getty)

Harry Melling said watching Buster Keaton (right) inspired his portrayal of horror writer Edgar Allan Poe (left) in The Pale Blue Eye. (Photo12/Universal Images Group/Getty)

He added: “I just thought maybe there’s something in terms of his strangeness that might be useful. But that was it.

“I saw that and I thought maybe just go back to the script. But there was something interesting in terms of how expressive [Keaton] is.”

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Melling said it was an ‘absolute gift’ to be able to play someone as interesting as Poe and praised writer-director Scott Cooper for his script, based on the 2003 novel by Louis Bayard.

He added: “Poe had so much range to him in terms of what he goes through in the story. He has this, to me, very beautiful relationship with Landor that I was excited about exploring. Everything about it was such a gift, it really was.”

Christian Bale plays a detective alongside Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe in Gothic mystery thriller The Pale Blue Eye. (Netflix)

Christian Bale plays a detective alongside Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe in Gothic mystery thriller The Pale Blue Eye. (Netflix)

As well as his mystery-solving bond with Landor, the film’s version of Poe also begins to form the start of a romance with Lea Marquis — the daughter of Toby Jones’s academy doctor.

Lea is played by Bohemian Rhapsody star Lucy Boynton, who said it was ‘easy’ to find her chemistry with Melling on and off camera as he is ‘such a nice guy’.

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She added: “He’s such an easy guy to be around and just so kind and generous and collaborative. I just loved the way that those characters came together.

“They both have such a sense of otherness that they share in when they’re with each other and they see each other really clearly.

Lucy Boynton and Harry Melling form the beginnings of a romantic relationship in The Pale Blue Eye. (Netflix)

Lucy Boynton and Harry Melling form the beginnings of a romantic relationship in The Pale Blue Eye. (Netflix)

“There’s such a breath of ease and honesty when they’re together, so it was quite easy and beautiful to find those moments of recognition and comfort.”

Boynton said Melling’s intensity in the role only enhanced how easy it was to work with him in their scenes together.

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She added: “It’s intense, but there’s something really approachable about it, I think. It’s like an intense curiosity and it’s very open and inviting.”

The Pale Blue Eye is available to stream on Netflix from 6 January.

Watch: Trailer for The Pale Blue Eye

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