Harris Dickinson on Why Filming Bill’s Death Scene Was ‘Peaceful’

Harris Dickinson may have been the first actor whose character is killed off in the new Hulu mystery series A Murder at the End of the World, but fortunately, the end of the premiere is not the last we see of him.

That’s because in addition to telling the story of the group of guests, which includes amateur sleuth Darby (Emma Corrin) at the retreat hosted by billionaire Andy (Clive Owen), the series also features flashbacks to Darby and Bill (Dickinson) crime-solving. Here, Dickinson talks about filming Bill’s death, teases what’s ahead in the flashbacks, and more.

Talk about filming that death scene.

Harris Dickinson: Death scenes are hard. You feel like an idiot, having to try and convey dying is a very difficult thing to do. There was a big part of the filming for a day or two where I was just laying under a sheet, and it was honestly the most peaceful I’ve ever been because the sheet was a clear plastic material and the light on the other side of it was so bright and beautiful. I felt like I was sort of laying in some sort of heaven or another realm, and I remember them coming over to me and lifting up the sheet and being like, “Are you okay? Do you need anything?” I was like, “Honestly, I’m really happy down here. I really like it under this sheet.” So I learned something about myself. I don’t mind playing dead. It’s okay.

And this is a little different because usually when someone films a death scene, that’s the end of their time on the show, but then you had all these flashback scenes.

Yeah, that was the start.

Talk about filming the flashbacks with Emma and building and, since we know where they were in the present day, deconstructing Bill and Darby’s relationship.

Where they meet online is pretty typical for that generation. And so then to be in that very intense environment where they’re solving crimes and trying to find answers to unsolved mysteries, it’s incredibly intense. I think their relationship mirrors that because it goes from zero to 100 really quick and then it just abruptly stops. And so it was about trying to find the dynamics between us, and Emma and I had a lot of fun doing that and also a lot of challenges doing that because you have to do it in a short period of time and you have to convey stuff that needs to feel very truthful. So you are working on things, and we had such good writing, and we had great directors, and we both sort of have similar sensibilities, and we want to challenge and interrogate stuff. So yeah, it was great. We loved it. Emma’s a force of nature, led the show fearlessly, so I was just happy to be a part of it.

Emma Corrin and Harris Dickinson — 'A Murder at the End of the World'

Chris Saunders/FX

How was Bill feeling about where his life was and where he’d ended up at the time of his death?

I think in many ways, he was kind of content at where he was. He had obviously bigger things he wanted to do, but weirdly, I felt like he knew he was going to pass on. And in many ways, that’s even more beautiful, if someone can sort of leave this world knowing that they’ve done a few things they’ve wanted to do.

How did he feel about Darby at the retreat? Their relationship was very complicated, and they did briefly reconnect before his death.

Yes, they did. And it’s interesting the conversation they had before he died, about the previous relationship in the past and why he couldn’t stay and her inability to connect, truly connect. And so yeah, it was tough. It was a short period of time, but also it was tainted with so much history, their relationship, that it was always going to be a bit tricky navigating that.

He said she left him many times before he left her, but from the moment they met, was it always inevitable that they go their separate ways or was there a world in which they could last?

I feel like maybe there was a world in which they could last after that conversation. Maybe there was potential for reconnection, potential for something more perhaps, who knows?

But they need it to separate where they were back in the flashbacks. They couldn’t have lasted then.

Oh, yeah, they couldn’t have lasted. No. It was going down a rocky path.

Bill said he was at the retreat for Lee (Brit Marling). What can you say about their relationship?

They were together for a short period of time. They met at one of Bill’s exhibitions, one of his installations. I think there was an element of Bill wanting to arrive in order to preserve her safety and dignity and see what was going to happen with that situation as well.

Because of his past relationship with Lee, what did he think of Andy?

I don’t think he understood him. I think he was cautious of him. I think he was impressed by him in many ways as well. But yeah, cautious.

How do you think Bill would’ve handled being stuck in the retreat with a killer on the loose if he hadn’t been the one to be killed first?

I think he would’ve just been just as tenacious as Darby trying to figure out who it was. I think he had a very busy, inquisitive mind, so it would’ve driven him mad trying to figure it out.

What can you say about what we’re going to see in the flashbacks from Darby and Bill’s relationship going forward?

I think we get to see a real truthful relationship blossom between them. They have a lot of fun on this strange old adventure they go on, and they go on this road trip that inevitably connects them forever. So it’s just a really sort of sweet story about love and friendship and companions and the strength in that.

What did you enjoy more, filming the scenes at the retreat or the flashbacks? Because you are one of the few actors who got to do both.

The flashbacks, for me, were really fun. We were in Utah in July. It was really hot and we got to be in these incredible locations. So being in Utah and being on the road and just having a sense of freedom and openness and it felt like a smaller crew, it was just fun.

What do you think Bill’s number one regret was at the time of his death?

Not being totally honest about everything.

With himself, with others?

Himself. Darby. Because he was also hiding something else.

A Murder at the End of the World, Tuesdays, Hulu

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