Jared Harris On His Difficult ‘Chernobyl’ Role And The Importance Of Staying Lighthearted On A Heavy Set


While Game of Thrones prepares its audience for an inevitably bleak ending, HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries will help to usher in the post-Thrones era. The TV event will shed light on one of the worst man-made disasters in history — the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in the Ukraine region of the Soviet Union that occurred on April 26, 1986 — and the radioactive and political fallout that followed. Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) plays a central figure who struggles to illuminate the truth as other chess pieces maneuver into place.

Chernobyl showrunner and writer Craig Mazin recently gushed to Uproxx about Harris’ remarkable performance as Soviet scientist Valery Legasov, and Harris was nice enough to speak with us as well. Even though this is an intense and horrifying series to watch, the Morbius (and former Mad Men) actor kept things as jolly as possible for us, all while praising his co-stars (Stellan Skarsgard, and Emily Watson). Harris also told us why the madness of HBO’s Chernobyl will provide a unique perspective for audiences that one won’t find in the history books.

I wanted to thank you upfront for talking with us, I’ve enjoyed so much of your work over the years.

Oh, bless you! Thank you.

So you’re promoting a super serious project and also filming a comic book movie right now?

Yeah, the Spider-Man spinoff, Morbius!

Well, I know you can’t really talk about that movie, but Chernobyl is extraordinary. How did you find yourself playing Valery Legasov?