Jessica plays Jules Sutter, the troubled British wife of a search and rescue Pilot in the isolated but close-knit fictional town of Fortitude, an Arctic Circle community that is torn apart by a shocking murder. Here Jessica gives us the inside story.
How would you describe Jules, your character in Fortitude?
JESSICA: “She and her husband Frank (Nicholas Pinnock) have moved to Fortitude to save their marriage. Then their son falls ill, so she starts out very low. It’s interesting playing someone who is at rock bottom. As she goes through this trauma, she is strengthened by it.”
How did you find playing a mum?
JESSICA: “I’m not a mother myself, but the little boy Darwin, who plays Liam, was great. You just have to put yourself in her place and imagine he’s the most precious thing to you.”
What was it like working with that amazing cast?
JESSICA: “unbelievable! When I read the script, I didn’t know who was involved, so when I found out it blew my mind. I never thought I’d be working with these people.”
Who did you particularly enjoy working with?
JESSICA: “Jules has an unlikely friendship with wildlife photographer Henry, Michael Gambon’s character. It was amazing to watch him work but he’s very naughty and twinky and a joker. To see someone who’s been in this business for so long and still has so much passion for it its infectious.”
What was it like filming in Iceland?
JESSICA: “Incredible! I always wanted to go there, but we went to the most eastern tip, which isn’t a tourist destination. It’s completely isolated and the landscape is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s freezing and very bleak, which is perfect for the show.”
What did you do in between filming?
JESSICA: “I’d go for long walks, which made people nervous, because that landscape can be quite dangerous. We were all holed up together in a hotel, so there would be boozy meet-ups in the evening I was more social out there than in London.”
your exit from Call The Midwife was a well-kept secret?
JESSICA: “I’m good at keeping secrets! I spent four years after drama school incredible theatre but I never knew when the next job was coming, so leaving Call The Midwife wasn’t that terrifying for me. I just want to do a variety of roles, so the timing of Fortitude was incredible.”
Would you hesitate to appear in a returning show?
JESSICA: “No, I look at exciting dramas like Breaking Bad or Orange Is The New Black that have the timescale to develop. I wouldn’t shy away from that because you get an opportunity to build a character and live with them for ages.”
Do you feel you’re in a special time in your career?
JESSICA: “Well it’s healthy to keep some blinkers on with regard to that sort of thing. I’ve worked hard but I’m also aware of how lucky I’ve been. The only power I have is to say no to things that I don’t want to do. No actor has a career plan, but I’m happy to be in the place I am, it’s all very exciting!”
Interview by Caren Clark TV Times January 2015
Photo: Jessica Raine as Jules Sutter