Dominic Monaghan: 'Moonhaven' inspires hope for the future

Dominic Monaghan (L) from "Lost" and Kadeem Hardison from "A Different World" can now be seen in the sci-fi series, "Moonhaven." Photo courtesy of AMC
1 of 5 | Dominic Monaghan (L) from "Lost" and Kadeem Hardison from "A Different World" can now be seen in the sci-fi series, "Moonhaven." Photo courtesy of AMC

NEW YORK, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Lost and Lord of the Rings icon Dominic Monaghan says his sci-fi series, Moonhaven, suggests the future of humanity can be brighter in reality, but not without a lot of hard work, dedication and optimism.

"The major concept on the moon, which is that the future is better, is something that we need to get behind, not as an empty promise ... not as this naive thought of 'We don't need to do anything. All we need to do is have this mindset that everything will be OK, and it will,'" Monaghan told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


"But, if we want to be proactive about our future and about solving things and making things better and making the right choices, the first place it begins is a positive outlook," he added. "It can be seen as a little naive, but if you're naive and kind and sweet about things, it's better than being bitter and twisted and awful."


The six-part suspense-thriller from Lodge 49 and The Leftovers scribe Peter Ocko wraps up its first season Thursday on AMC+. It already has been renewed for a second season.

Set 100 years in the future, the story follows Bella (Emma McDonald) as she transports Earth leader Indira Mare (Amara Karan) to the moon, on which a small utopian colony of people work with artificial intelligence to try to cure the biggest problems of the moon's troubled planetary sister.

When Bella is accused of a crime, she finds herself working with detectives Paul (Monaghan) and Arlo (Kadeem Hardison) to clear her name and find out who is trying to gain control of the powerful computers that limit the moon inhabitants' freedom, but allow most people to live in peace.

"Lunar detective was a great way of selling me on that character," Monaghan said. "I got a chance to speak to Peter Ocko pretty early in the process, and he pitched it to me as a new way of looking at detectives."

Police here are surprisingly tasked with helping the perpetrator and victims survivors heal from the trauma of the moon's rare homicides.

Instead of focusing on identifying victims and sussing out what became of them and who was responsible, cops carry handheld devices that instantly tell them who the victim is, how and when the person died, who killed them and where the suspect may be found.


"I was like, 'OK, I'm in. This is great,'" Monaghan recalled.

Kindred spirits

The actor described Hardison as a "lovely guy," noting how his favorite days on the show's set were when Paul and Arlo, who are almost like brothers, set off on adventures together.

"They care a lot about each other's safety and well-being," Monaghan said.

"They are detective partners and they enjoy each other's company. There's a camaraderie with the two of them, in terms of being completely invested in moon life. Arlo is a surrogate uncle to all of Paul's children. They both enjoy the work of Sherlock Holmes and enjoy that they are playing Sherlock Holmes and Watson. They are very, very close."

Speaking of Paul's children: he has three of them and the situation is a bit complicated.

"On the moon, you don't raise your own birth children. You raise other people's birth children to try and create a community," Monaghan explained.

"I have three children from three different people that I am raising with my wife, who also has another lover, who lives with us," he added. "Paul is completely and utterly charmed and in love with the idea of having three children from his community that he can raise. He tries his best to be a devoted father, but I think he struggles a little bit with sharing intimacy with his wife, as maybe we all might do."


Although the moon inhabitants are human, they have more open minds and higher standards of what they can deal with than those who live on Earth. Monaghan teased that Paul might enjoy a bit of "extracurricular love" of his own in Season 2.

The character of Bella represents the more cynical, "slightly more bitter" outlook Earth people have.

"Human beings aren't to be trusted. She probably thinks we are all a bit naive," Monaghan said about how Bella views her cousins on the moon.

The actor pointed out that he and McDonald are English, so they became fast friends, bonding over TV shows, biscuits, Marmite, football and pubs.

'Moriarty: The Devil's Game'

In addition to Moonhaven, Monaghan recently starred in the Audible original series, Moriarty: The Devil's Game, with his lifelong friend and frequent co-star Billy Boyd. The pair also co-host a weekly podcast called The Friendship Onion.

"Looking at this fantastic, very dense, rich world of the London of [author] Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, who is a brilliant man, and realizing that the only man in that entire canon who in any way came close to besting him or equaling his intelligence or his verve for life was Professor Jame Moriarty," Monaghan said.


It was his idea to "turn that whole universe on its head" and cast Moriarty as the wronged hero of a new mystery, set in the late 19th century.

"Sherlock Holmes and the police are out to get him, and he has to go into the underworld of London in that time, which we know is a very interesting, charismatic period," he said. "It was brilliant to work with Billy. It was brilliant to work with that cast and, as with Moonhaven, it is finding an audience."

Monaghan said he approaches new adaptations of well-known material differently than when he is helping to create new mythologies and characters out of whole cloth.

"If you are approaching something that has been established before, you need to know that world or universe," he emphasized. "When it's original, all bets are off, and that gives you the chance to start painting on a blank canvas. It's probably slightly easier for an actor."

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