Stars say 'Trying' relatable to those doing their best in pandemic

Rafe Spall (L) and Esther Smith can now be seen in the romantic comedy, Trying. Photo courtesy of Apple TV+
Rafe Spall (L) and Esther Smith can now be seen in the romantic comedy, "Trying." Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

NEW YORK, May 1 (UPI) -- Rafe Spall and Esther Smith say they hope their new television comedy, Trying, resonates with people doing their best to thrive at home while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's about a couple trying to adopt, but I think we all know what it's like to strive, to get to a point in your life where you feel like something's missing, or to feel like you're not where you want it to be," Spall told UPI during a video-conference call Monday.


Written by Andy Wolton and directed by Jim O'Hanlon, Trying will debut on Apple TV+ Friday.

The show depicts Jason and Nikki, a loving, working-class, thirty-something, London couple struggling through infertility and enduring a rigorous adoption process that forces them to scrutinize their habits and defend their life choices to strangers evaluating whether they are worthy to be parents.

Because of the real-life pandemic, people are going through an unprecedented time of introspection during which they are reevaluating their own lives and finding things to be grateful about -- just like Nikki and Jason, Spall noted.

"They're not violent or vindictive or mean," Spall said of his and Smith's characters.


"They're kind, and I think most people are. At the moment, we're seeing huge shows and acts of altruism and kindness and a real yearning for community and I can't wait to be among people again."

Smith agreed the timing of the show's premiere was fortuitous.

"It probably would have meant something different had it come out when we weren't in this pandemic," the actress said of the series being aptly named Trying.

"We're all constantly trying as people," Smith said. "We're all constantly trying to do better, trying to figure ourselves out, trying to figure our life out, and we've been given this mad opportunity right now to try and come together as people, as a community, and maybe leave this mad situation we're in, in a different head space into a different world."

Men in Black: International and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom actor Spall said Wolton, who was adopted, brought sensitivity and humor to the serious subject matter at the heart of Trying.

In fact, Wolton was such a tremendous resource, Spall and his co-star didn't do much outside research on fertility and adoption and, like their characters, learned as they went.

"Everything is kind of in the script already," Smith said, recalling how she laughed, cried and fell in love with the characters the first time she read the screenplay. "Their relationship is so well written. That really attracted me to it."


The show also gave the actress -- an original cast member of the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- the chance to work for the first time with Imelda Staunton, a scene-stealer from the Harry Potter film franchise.

In Trying, Staunton plays Penny, a big-hearted social worker and enthusiastic advocate for Nikki and Jason in their campaign to adopt.

Smith called the experience of sharing the screen with Staunton "dreamy."

"She's so lovely," Smith said. "You can't help but learn off her. She's incredible. Incredible. Kind of a real 'pinch yourself' moment, working with Imelda Staunton."

Spall described Staunton as "a really fun, original person, with a sort of a very playful, naughty sense of humor."

"She's a reminder that it's supposed to be fun, it has to be fun, you can't take it too seriously because you are in an extremely privileged position to make believe for a living."

Season 1 ends with Nikki and Jason becoming stronger as a couple, having shored up their support network of family and friends, and being approved to move forward as prospective adoptive parents.

Spall hasn't read any scripts for Season 2, but said he imagines it will be about matching the couple with a child.


"There's lots of dramatic and comedic situations that will arise out of that," he predicted.

Added Smith: "There's so much scope, there's so many options where this could go. I'm really excited to see what happens to them. And I'd quite happily do this for many, many years to come."

Latest Headlines