[This story contains spoilers for A Murder at the End of the World through “Chapter 6: Crime Seen.”]

From Lady Diana Spencer on The Crown to a hacker-sleuth named Darby Hart on A Murder at the End of the World, Emma Corrin’s latest role is a fitting left turn for the thriving actor.

Co-created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, A Murder at the End of the World chronicles Corrin’s amateur detective, as Darby attempts to get to the bottom of her former lover’s (Harris Dickinson’s Bill Farah) death at an exclusive Icelandic retreat. Six years earlier, Darby and Bill became partners in true crime through a cold case subreddit, before embarking on a road trip out West in pursuit of a serial killer. The limited series is told through a dual narrative, and the predominantly Utah-based flashbacks are partially meant to show that this atypical gumshoe has the prowess necessary to solve the present-day mystery in Iceland.

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Knowing that Darby would be underestimated, Corrin was eager to reimagine the P.I. for a modern-day audience.

“To reinvent that character, what a cool thing to do. It’s a character we know so well. We’re surrounded by these male detectives who solve murders in a very typical way. It doesn’t matter how many times that story is redone; it’s always a similar person at its center,” Corrin tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So it was a wonderful challenge, and it was important for me to not infuse my want to reinvent that character with Darby’s want, because I don’t think she has that.”

With A Murder at the End of the World’s finale still to come, Darby’s own fate has yet to be decided, but Corrin is making it clear that they would love to reprise the character in whatever manner the finale allows. After all, Batmanglij recently told THR that the limited series has become “the new pilot,” so it remains to be seen if Murder will go the way of Fargo, Big Little Lies and numerous others.

“I would always love to play Darby again. She’s the most intriguing character to play, and I grew so much as an actor,” Corrin says. “That is not to say there will be [more]; I haven’t heard anything. But I would love to [play her again], obviously.”

Below, during a recent chat with THR, Corrin, who’s currently shooting Deadpool 3, also discusses how it felt to return to the Marvel set after the 118-day SAG-AFTRA strike.

Growing up in Iowa, Darby was basically raised by her single father in his coroner’s office. Her mother wasn’t in the picture. And she came of age at a time when true crime was all the rage. So how do these puzzle pieces explain her relentless drive to solve murders and cold cases?

A lot of it has to do with unanswered questions from her own life that she’s running from, which the series touches on a little bit, but quite a few of those are also left unanswered. There’s a question of her mother, and you get a sense of her relationship with her dad. It seems that the intimacy is there without much language to it, but it also doesn’t seem the warmest of relationships. And her being around at a time when so much of our lives is lived on the Internet and so much of our communication is through there, it gives her something to hide behind. It gives her a confidence in herself and her own abilities, and it gives her a purpose. A lot of her drive is not wanting to leave anyone behind, and that suggests that she might’ve felt that way at some point in her life.

A Murder at the End of the World

A Murder at the End of the World (l-r) Emma Corrin as Darby Hart, Harris Dickinson as Bill Farrah. Chris Saunders/FX

She meets Bill Farrah (Harris Dickinson) through a true crime subreddit, and they soon take their show on the road and fall in love. But they eventually butt heads because she’s more committed to the case than their romance, which shouldn’t surprise him considering that they met in the name of true crime. But what do you make of that divide that we see as early as the first episode?

Although they met with the purpose of tracking down the serial killer, I think that it was very evident from the start. When they meet face-to-face for the first time at the end of episode two, there’s something electric there, and I love that scene for that reason. There’s so much nostalgia in those flashback moments, and they’re so full of feeling, whereas the Iceland chapter of her life is driven by really wanting to find answers and who the killer is. So I don’t blame Bill for getting the wrong end of the stick. Those chapters in Utah, when they’re on the hunt for that man, are so infused with love and huge amounts of intimacy, and I just think that Darby is probably too scared of it. She’s got one of these brains where certain things make sense to her and others really don’t. And she hasn’t even started wrapping her head around what it would mean to love someone, let alone the person who you are embroiled with during this whole fantastic adventure. The stakes are almost too high.

A Murder at the End of the World

A Murder at the End of the World‘s Emma Corrin Chris Saunders/FX

You shot the Iceland narrative before the flashbacks, thus you experienced Bill’s tragic demise before playing their first meeting in person six years earlier. So, having that future trauma already in your back pocket, did it prove to be useful when you shot their flashbacks much later?

Counterintuitively, it really did, actually. To be in New Jersey and shoot all of those bits in the [Iceland] hotel, they really established what Bill means to her, given the lengths that she goes to try and get the answers to his death. And when we went to Utah, it was just euphoric to be in this wildly different setting from a soundstage in New Jersey. Utah just takes your breath away, and it filled us all with this childlike want to play and to be on this adventure, and we were all so up for it. 

There was this amazing moment when we were filming that scene in the diner where [Darby and Bill] first meet, and Zal came up to me and went, “I want you to imagine when you first lock eyes with Bill that you know he’s going to die and that you’re going to lose him.” He had just said “action,” and then he went, “Wait, wait, wait.” (Laughs.) And he ran up to me and gave that note, and then he ran away. And I was like, “Oh my God, what!?” But it was such a good note because he articulated what I was sensing in that moment, and it’s why I love that scene so much. She knows there’s something so heavy in that first meeting, and there’s something so poignant about their relationship even at that point. So it was actually really informative to do those [Iceland] bits before.

A Murder at the End of the World

Emma Corrin in A Murder at the End of the World Chris Saunders/FX

Brit told me that one of the purposes of the flashbacks is to prove to the audience that this young woman has the capacity to be an effective sleuth in the present. 

Yeah, because so many people would doubt her.

Precisely. If she looked like Daniel Craig, no one would think twice, and I suppose we see a version of that at the bookstore. As soon as she walked up to read, people judged her and walked off until she started talking about a dead woman. So how did you wrap your head around reinventing the image of a P.I. and sleuth character? 

I thought it was a really fun challenge, and I’m so grateful to have been given the chance to do it, because, to reinvent that character, what a cool thing to do. It’s a character we know so well. We’re surrounded by these male detectives who solve murders in a very typical way. It doesn’t matter how many times that story is redone; it’s always a similar person at its center. So it was a wonderful challenge, and it was important for me to not infuse my want to reinvent that character with Darby’s want, because I don’t think she has that. This need she has to solve cases is not that. It comes from somewhere really innate. 

A Murder at the End of the World

A Murder at the End of the World‘s Emma Corrin and Brit Marling Chris Saunders/FX

It’s very rare for an actor to act opposite their writer, director and boss. So what was that dynamic like between you and Brit?

(Laughs.) It was so much fun. I adore Brit. I adore her as a director and I adore her as an actor. She has such a peaceful aura on set. When she’s on set as an actor and also when she’s on set directing, and sometimes at the same time, it taught me a real thing of how a director sets the tone of the set. She says everything really calmly and really quietly, and everyone immediately listens. It’s extraordinary. Everyone’s energy also shifts to match hers, and she just has the most compelling presence. She’s also so present as an actor, and I was so amazed by that because she was spinning so many plates at once. So I just thought it was the coolest thing that she could let all of that go. She could let go of everything she must have been thinking about as a director in the scene and just be Lee opposite my Darby, and give an incredible performance.

When you now hear someone sneeze in close proximity to you …

I immediately hear Vivaldi. (Laughs.) 

That, too! Do you also look for a light transition?

I actually haven’t, but I’ve never met anyone who has that [condition]. And I wonder about the people out there who have that [Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst]. But I think it’s so fun and such a good twist. Brit and Zal are geniuses. It’s such a specific thing that someone would have, and yet it explodes and implodes the plot to such a degree. It’s huge.

A Murder at the End of the World

A Murder at the End of the World‘s Emma Corrin and Kellan Tetlow Chris Saunders/FX

Did you ever ask Brit or Zal about the inspiration behind that monstrous concoction of Coca-Cola and coffee?

It’s a fun quirk, right? People love quirks in these protagonists that we put at the forefront of these shows and films. If you infuse them with quirks, then they become more and more beloved, and so part of it was definitely that. And then part of it is also just practicality. If you’re mixing coffee and coke, it’s basically Adderall in a cup, isn’t it? You’re going to be up for ages, and that’s definitely a part of Darby. [Writer’s Note: We also see Darby abuse Adderall at certain points, especially when she’s consumed by a case.] She leans towards pragmatism, and that’s also what Bill struggles with. She could go and have a really nice oat latte, but she’s actually going to have coffee and coke. They could also turn this adventure into a really romantic fling or really romantic love affair, but she can’t. She needs to be pragmatic. She needs to have her feet on the floor and know exactly what she’s doing, and following a trail of dead bodies to a serial killer makes much more sense to her than love. And that is reflected in that drink a little bit.

Since you wrapped in December ‘22, the conversation around AI has only intensified due to its threat to livelihoods in the entertainment industry and beyond. Did your perspective on AI and this material involving an AI character change over the last year?

Yeah, it was really spooky filming this last year, and even the conversations that were happening then, we were thinking, “Oh my God, we’re really filming something incredibly relevant.” Discourse is evolving, as we speak, every day, and it was really incredible. We were having these conversations on set about it, which were just terrifying. So I hope our show has fallen at a time to be a bit of a warning, no matter how helpful AI might seem in the way it can expediate work and offer new solutions. What our show does really well is to expose the fact that it cannot be a moral judge. It cannot replicate the human soul, and that’s where the problem lies.

Zal told me that the limited series is basically the “new pilot,” as lots of limited series come back for more. Would you want another crack at Darby?

I would always love to play Darby again. She’s the most intriguing character to play, and I grew so much as an actor. I loved working with Brit and Zal, so, yeah, I would. That is not to say there will be [more]; I haven’t heard anything. But I would love to [play her again], obviously.

I’m not going to ask about the “chamber piece” [Deadpool 3] you’re currently shooting, but after months and months of inactivity due to the strike, did it take you a minute to shake off the rust?

Yeah, it really did. That’s a very relevant question because it really did. I’ve really been feeling that in the last few weeks. I haven’t had a break that substantial since I started working. It was five or six months. My first day back on set, I was just there, thinking, “What the hell am I doing? I’ve totally forgotten how this works.” So it took a while to get back into it, but I should have expected that.

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A Murder at the End of the World is now streaming via FX on Hulu.

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