Exclusive Interview with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’s Alison Thornton

Photo Credit: Liz Rosa
Photo Credit: Liz Rosa

Alison Thornton is a young up and coming actress currently playing Lydia Spring on BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Alison can also bee seen on the Bravo drama Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. Recently I got to chat with Alison about her time on the Dirk Gently set, working with Max Landis, and meeting Elijah Wood.


Had you read the Dirk Gently novel before auditioning for the role?

No, I had read it before auditioning, but I was familiar with Douglas Adams from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Once I got the job, I listened to the audio books, though. 

What was the audition process like for you?

The audition process was just like any other audition. I went in, I read the scene, I met with the casting director. It was a taped audition actually, so I didn’t meet any of the producers or writers till I was actually on set. But it was just like any other audition except when I read about the character, and I read about the show, I knew it was something I really wanted to be a part of. 

The cast is all pretty cool. Was there anyone you were nervous to work with?

(laughs) Oh definitely Elijah Wood, because I am the biggest Lord of the Rings fan ever. I mean, my ringtone was literally ‘In Dreams’ for three years. So when I met him, I was kind of freaking out. I had to change my ringtone because that would have been the most embarrassing thing ever if it went off and he was there. He’s just such a nice guy, and it was really a pleasure to work with him. And everyone! Everyone was super cool.

What was it like working with Max Landis?

He’s great! He’s the funniest, coolest guy ever. When I was working with him, he had rainbow hair, which was the best thing I’ve ever seen. (laughs) He’s super warm, and he’s super fun. His writing is incredible. Whenever I got a script it was like Christmas; I wanted to see what happened to the characters so badly. At the wrap party we did karaoke and stuff, he’s just a blast to hang out with. 

How different was it working on the Dirk Gently set versus the Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce set?

It’s very different. On Girlfriend’s Guide, because we’ve been doing it for a while, everybody knows each other super well. It’s much more like an everyday thing for me. On Dirk Gently it was much different. We had more stunts. We had animals, which was super fun. And it’s a sci-fi show, which is my favorite genre. They’re very different in a lot of crazy ways. There are a lot more women on Girlfriend’s Guide, which is a treat for me, because I now have these four women who I look up to, and aspire to be like. They’re both fantastic shows!

Dirk Gently's BentleyI saw your picture with the kitten, and there is also a corgi in the show, did you spend a lot of time with the animals?

I did! We had a lot of kittens on set, which was great because whenever they’d call cut, I’d run to the kittens and go play with them as long as they’d let me. And the corgi, his name is Bentley. I worked with him a lot. He’s the sweetest dog ever. We’d play fetch and stuff, it was really fun.

In the first episode, you don’t have a lot of screen time, but you make quite the impression with your expression. How was it coming up with those movements and that look you’ve got?

Coming up with that, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the movements are all very important in the next couple episodes for the audience. There will be a lot of people rewatching that. The way that I had to move in that scene is very specific. And you’ll see why, in the next couple episodes. There is something very important behind that. That scene where I pop out at the end was my first day, and it was a blast.

All of the characters are fascinating. If you could play a different character who would you want to play?

I would want to play Bart. That looks like so much fun. The way that she talks and the way that she just kills anyone she feels like. And her costume, she’s always covered in blood and dirt. Her dialogue is so hilarious. I’d love to play Bart.

Is there anything you can tell us about Libby’s story going forward, without giving anything away?

Her situation is kind of horrible right now. She’s the missing daughter of Patrick Spring, the billionaire. Her relationship with her father is not the best, which is why she ran away and got herself kidnapped. Her life right now, is falling apart. And that’s where I will leave you. (laughs)

Last but not least, we like to ask what makes you nerdy? What do you nerd out about?

Oh my gosh, so many things. I am such a huge fan of Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock. I’m nerdy in the way that I love Anime. I am a huge nerd. Fifth Element is probably my favorite movie; I’m not sure if that’s nerdy. (laughs) I feel like I’m kind of a secret nerd. I get obsessed with things, but I don’t really talk about them. 


Check out more of Alison Thornton on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America.

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