After an 18-day shooting schedule, I, Darwin starring Henry Ian Cusick has just wrapped shooting. The made-for TV film is set in 1858, and Charles Darwin's voyage on the Beagle will be shown in flashbacks. Henry Ian Cusick discussed what it was like to play Darwin as a young man:
For Cusick, assuming the mantle of a man who changed the way we look at life on this planet is a much different task from running through the jungle and tripping through time on Lost, although he previously held the role of Darwin’s predecessor, pioneering 19th century palaeontologist Gideon Mantell, in National Geographic’s documentary The Dinosaur Hunters. His portrayal is a far cry from the common image of an aged Darwin, bald and heavily bearded, and confined to his home in Kent by a series of illnesses.
“We never think of Darwin as a young man, but imagine him doing the Beagle voyage around South America for five years; you’d have to be fit, strong, brave and adventurous to go to all of these places," says Cusick, looking pretty fit himself under starchy layers of Victorian finery. “It’s not like travelling now; you’d arrive in some remote place and not know how you would be greeted by the natives. You really had to have your wits about you, and when we think about Darwin, we don’t think of the adventurer or the brave man, we think of the intellectual.
“But he was a crack shot, a fantastic horseman, although when he came back to England he developed these illnesses. He might have picked up a parasite on his journeys, or perhaps it was stress-related because he had this answer to something that he really didn’t want to give to the world, until Wallace’s paper forced his hand." [TheChronicleHerald.ca]