Rafe Spall and Esther Smith, the stars of Apple TV+’s new series ‘Trying,’ open up about Jason and Nikki’s journey to becoming parents, the ‘invasive’ adoption process, and more.
Trying exclusively debuts on Apple TV+ on May 1. The series centers around Nikki and Jason, a couple who live a pretty typical life. They have jobs they’re not particularly crazy about and they live in a small house. They planned on starting a family, but when they find out they can’t pregnant, they’re understandably heartbroken. Despite the fact that they are unable to conceive, Nikki and Jason’s feelings about becoming parents don’t fade. They just have to amend their plans, and this leads them to adoption.
When they apply for adoption, the couple is confronted by a roller coaster of ups and downs that they never expected. HollywoodLife spoke with Rafe Spall and Esther Smith about Jason and Nikki’s adoption process and how it will impact their relationship. “That was all new to me. I didn’t know how difficult it was to achieve and what an invasive process that was into your own life,” Rafe told HollywoodLife during Trying’s virtual press junket. “Every aspect of your life is investigated when it comes to trying to adopt a child. What that does is it puts a spotlight on your relationship and your life. When they’re going through this process, they’re having to ask themselves questions about one another, about their own approaches to life, and about the nature of their relationship. It shines a spotlight on their relationship, which for a lot of people, doesn’t happen unless you go through adoption. They’re asking themselves big questions. You’ve really got to go through this whole process and there are lots of times to pull out and decide you don’t want to do it. You’ve really got to want it. I think that they realize that the most important thing is each other and they love each other. That’s what they discover: the true depth and solidity of their relationship.”
Esther added, “Just like Rafe was saying, Nikki and Jason have each other. They have love for each other and they’ve got that bond, but I think they really don’t see that and don’t recognize that within themselves. It’s a journey where I think they are able to realize that towards the end of going through their own obstacle, which is trying to adopt a child.”
For both Rafe and Esther, they connected to their characters from the moment they read the scripts. “I’ve been looking for a while for a character where I was able to bring a lot of myself to something which was both comedic and also real and dramatic with moving elements to it,” Rafe said. “This was just a no brainer. It was a character I knew I could play, and then I met Esther. When I knew Esther was going to do it, it was easy for me to want to do it because I very much liked working with Ms. Smith.”
Esther noted that she and Nikki are “quite similar.” She was also ready for a role that would challenge her in a new way. “I’ve worked mainly in British comedy and tend to very much play the kind of girl next door characters or girlfriend characters,” Esther told HollywoodLife. “This felt like something I could really stick my teeth into and tell a story about a subject that I don’t think is often represented — and it shouldn’t be shied away from — with elements of comedy as well as tragedy.”
The actors were both stunned by the intricacies of the adoption process. “They really go through everything with a fine-toothed comb. I didn’t realize that at all,” Esther admitted. Rafe followed with, “It was the speaking to ex-partners which I found particularly alarming.” All episodes of Trying are now available on Apple TV+.