Elisabeth Moss Calls Her FX Miniseries ‘The Veil’ a ‘Subversion of Any Genre’

The actress and EP Denise Di Novi tell TheWrap how Steve Knight’s spy drama “feels completely original”

The Veil
Elisabeth Moss as Imogen Salter in "The Veil" (Photo Credit: FX)

Elisabeth Moss has always been attracted to the antihero story. That’s a large part of what drew the actress to the role of Imogen Salter in FX’s newest miniseries, “The Veil.”

“Even though she is our heroine and she is seeking truth, justice and all of that, there are elements to her that are very flawed,” Moss told TheWrap. “She is perhaps following the wrong instinct sometimes, or she’s perhaps looking for something that, maybe, she shouldn’t be looking for in that moment and gets herself into trouble. There are things that are more in the shadows with her that are really fun to play.”

Imogen Salter is not a role many actors would be able to handle. The thriller, written by Steven Knight, follows two women as they travel from Istanbul to Paris and London. One is an undercover M16 agent, the other — Yumna Marwan’s Adilah — a suspected ISIS leader. Part road trip, part spy drama, Moss called the tense series a “subversion of any genre.”

For her part, executive producer Denise Di Novi emphasized that the series is less about the geopolitically complicated role of ISIS and more about delving into these two characters. “Steve [Knight] calls it these two women dancing on the head of a pin against this backdrop,” Di Novi explained.

As they travel together and sift through each other’s secrets, Imogen dips in and out of half a dozen roles ranging from obsessive governmental agent to clueless but kind companion as she tries to get to the truth of Adilah’s identity. “That’s what really got me excited,” Moss said. At times for other roles, Moss has had to work on making her characters feel multi-dimensional. For “The Veil,” that complexity was already baked into the script.

“The pitch was already, ‘How do I do that? I’m playing this woman who’s playing this person, who’s then covering up for that person, who’s then going to discover she’s over here,’” Moss said. “I get to do all of these characters at the same time in one person. That just seemed so exciting and challenging.”

It’s that sense of excitement and originality that brought Di Novi to the project. In fact, originality is a quality Di Novi looks for in all of her projects. The iconic producer has been behind such seminal works as “Heathers,” “Edward Scissorhands” and both the 1994 and 2019 versions of “Little Women.”

“I don’t want to make a movie or a show that people feel like they’ve seen before, or it’s a variation of something they’ve seen before,” Di Novi told TheWrap. “It’s a lot of work. It’s really hard. And to do all of that, you want to make something that feels completely original.”

Di Novi emphasized that she prioritizes castability when it comes to her projects. “If there’s a great role, or hopefully multiple great roles, that I feel optimistic can attract great actors like Elisabeth Moss, that excites me. That’s what I’m looking for,” Di Novi said.

As for what she prioritizes when looking for projects, Moss initially pointed to the script. But over the past 10 years, she’s started to prioritize working with “top notch” producers.

“They really are the people who can execute that material and make sure that the good script you just read is actually going to be on the screen,” Moss said. So when she saw the interesting script that would become “The Veil” was written by Knight and had FX and Di Novi attached, Moss was in. “That’s a stamp,” the actor said.

“The Veil” releases new episodes Tuesdays on Hulu.


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