3 Body Problem stars Alex Sharp and John Bradley on their original characters and their relationship with Jin Cheng

Estimated read time 5 min read

3 Body Problem is out now, though ahead of the show’s Netflix release, we got to interview Alex Sharp and John Bradley, the actors who play Will Downing and Jack Rooney.

In the series, Will and Jack are part of the “Oxford Five,” a group of characters who may not be familiar to those who have read the source material. That’s because in this Netflix series, this group is a mix of new characters, as well as characters in the later novels in the trilogy.

NOTE: There are 3 Body Problem spoilers in our interview with Alex Sharp and John Bradley, so proceed with caution.

Specifically, Will Downing is taken from the third novel in the trilogy. Meanwhile, Jack Rooney is an original character that was made with John Bradley in mind.

Given this, we asked Alex and John about the origins of their characters, as well as their approach. After all, their characters have completely different origins even if they’re incredibly close in the show.

Here’s what the two have to say about their characters and their approach for the series:

Alex Sharp: Since it’s a trilogy of books, my character is in one of the [later] books. Because they’ve sort of changed some of the timelines around because the chronology of the books is very out of order, they sort of brought him forward in a way, so it was helpful to read my character on the page and the novel of course, but sort of to a certain point. Then you have to focus on the task at hand which is to be part of David, Dan, and Alex’s visual story of it and how you can best flesh that out under their guidance.

John Bradley: I’m in a slightly different position because David and Dan said that the character was written for me and kind of based on my own personality. So in terms of that, I felt much freer to improvise slightly and introduce parts of my own personality, my own quirks into that performance, probably more than I ever have before and probably more than I ever will again.

I remember during the script stage, I got a text from David and Dan saying, ‘What would a Manchester person or what term would a Manchester person use for somebody miserable and sort of killed a party vibe?’ So, there’s a line in the show where Jack says she was a bit of a killjoy, and that’s a very sort of Manchester phrase. So, in terms of in terms of the quirks that I was able to put into it, they consulted me about that to try and make that character as authentic as possible. It felt like it was a real collaboration and I felt that they gave me license to bring a lot of myself to the role.

Aside from being close with each other, the characters Will and Jack both have a close relationship with Jin Cheng, a character who is arguably one of the most important ones in the series. While the Will x Jin pairing is romantic, the Jack x Jin connection is definitely platonic.

Despite these differences in dynamics, both Will and Jack have quite the chemistry with Jin (played by Jess Hong). As for how they were able to develop that chemistry, Alex and Jack shared:

Alex Sharp: I had a very exciting experience at the beginning of this job, which I never had before. Other than John, I think I was among the very first to be cast. So, I got the privilege of being part of the chemistry readings. And so, I had this incredible experience watching all these really strong, sensational, and varied actresses give their take on Jin. And then seeing Jess Hong, [it was just] undeniable that it had to be her. She just came in and blew everyone away. And in a way, I found that was a really [memorable] bonding experience. Jess and I since that moment on have just been pals, and it’s been beautiful to watch her work on this, come from New Zealand, and just become such a huge part of such a huge show, and navigate all that with grace. She’s an easy person to love, so that was pretty helpful.

John Bradley: Yeah, very much the same [for me]. Although Jack and Jin have a very different dynamic than Will and Jin, there’s something about their relationship that feels very organic. You have those kinds of friendships in your life where you clearly love each other very much, but you don’t really have a good word to say about each other a lot of time. Like they seem to be a constant thorn or a constant irritant on each other. You know, Jack Rooney isn’t low on confidence, but she tends to be the one person who brings him back down to earth with a bump and will tell him when he’s being ridiculous which kind of punctures his pomposity a little bit. I think that Jin is a very important character in Jack Rooney’s life, Will as well, but there’s something about the Jin and Jack relationship which is like, as soon as he starts to get ideas above his station, she’s gonna be the one to tell him that he’s a dick.

3 Body Problem is now streaming exclusively on Netflix. Want to know more about the series? Check out our review here:

3 Body Problem Review | A Unique Sci-Fi Tale

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