“I do miss the pub, and the weather being sh*t”: Rose Leslie takes on America

STYLIST – Rose Leslie is distracted. Outside her window in Brooklyn a passer-by has fallen over on a patch of black ice and she can’t stop giggling. Storm Stella recently hit and New York has only just re-emerged from the state of emergency called by its mayor. It’s fine to laugh, she tells me, because the passer-by has got up and walked off, but she’s now positioned herself away from the window in case any more slapstick comedy strikes.

Although she’s a big fan of comedy, the Scottish-born actress made her name playing serious-minded characters who are British to the bone. She first came to attention in 2010 as Gwen, a housemaid who betters herself and waved goodbye to Downton Abbey before the end of the first series. Next, in that other globally successful television juggernaut Game Of Thrones, she nailed the Yorkshire accent playing the fiery wildling Ygritte, Jon Snow’s enemy-turned-lover. There has also been a brief spell as a policewoman alongside Idris Elba in Luther.

Right now, Leslie is feeling a bit nostalgic for ol’ Blighty, which may explain why she’s binge-watching The Replacement and This Country on BBC iPlayer. “I am obsessed with This Country,” she confesses. “The script is so astute about who they are representing – it manages to find the delicate balance of being truthful without belittling.” It’s been five months since the 30-year-old left her London flat for America to play a role that is completely different to her previous work: a high-flying lawyer in modern day Chicago.

In The Good Fight – a new 10-episode spin-off from the eminently watchable The Good Wife, which finished last year after seven series – senior partner of the parent show’s law firm Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) loses her life savings in a financial scam. But, in the tenacious female fashion of the original show, she sets up shop afresh with her goddaughter Maia Rindell (played by Leslie) and Lucca Quinn (played by fellow Brit Cush Jumbo) in another distinguished Chicago legal firm. Already critically acclaimed in the US, The Good Fight does not shy away from contemporary politics, covering topics such as fake news and police brutality.

Leslie admits that the opportunity to live in New York for five months while filming the show was a perk she couldn’t refuse, but Brooklyn is a long way from her family’s 15th-century castle in Aberdeenshire where she grew up with her four siblings (a stint in a Somerset boarding school put paid to her Scottish burr) before arriving in London aged 18 to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Her background may be lofty but in conversation Leslie is anything but. She is naturally warm, engaging, laughs often (and hard) and has impeccable manners. Until someone falls over on a patch of ice, that is…

With the success of Downton Abbey and Game Of Thrones, it seems like you have the golden touch when it comes to choosing TV shows to work on. What attracted you to The Good Fight?
I was late to the party with The Good Wife but so many of my friends loved it. When I finally gave it a go, I thought the writing was fantastic and I was pulled in by the fact that [writers] Michelle and Robert King wrote so powerfully and beautifully for women. The characters are intelligent, passionate women who are struggling with climbing the prickly ladder to the top of the legal profession. It’s not an easy path but the story lines aren’t obvious. The script was completely engrossing.

It features a lot of strong women who show a sense of solidarity with one another. How significant is that element to the show?
There is definitely an aura and an atmosphere on set, which hopefully translates on screen, of solidarity among all the female lawyers within this particular firm. You don’t see perfect women who can juggle all the aspects of their lives. They are struggling with the workplace environment. Something that I greatly believe in is the fight that one should have for those who are being unjustly targeted, and I think the writers execute this brilliantly by highlighting the political climate right now in the US. I don’t necessarily believe that I should be a political commentator but I’m proud to be working on a show that feels it has a duty to hold up a mirror to the political landscape and therefore provide an element of accountability.

Was there anything that bonded you and Cush Jumbo as Brits on set?
It sounds ridiculous but honestly, from the beginning it was tea. We were asked whether we wanted water on set and both Cush and I replied, “Er, can we have some tea?” We fell into the trap of being a cliché but the first thing that bonded us was our love for tea.

What have you found challenging about working away from home?
I’ve missed my friends’ 30th birthdays and I’ve missed weddings. But please, that’s fine, this is not a violin session right now. I am working with some wonderful people, but I do miss the pub, our sh*t weather, being able to hop on the Victoria Line and cross the city. But that’s only because I’ve lived in London for about 11 years and I very much consider it home. But I have most certainly embraced New York, it’s a fabulous city.

Was growing up in a castle in the Scottish countryside as idyllic as it sounds?
My siblings and I spent most of our days rolling around in puddles, clambering through bushes and climbing trees – it was glorious. As soon as I hear a wood pigeon I’m immediately transported back there. It’s the one place on earth where I feel very settled and grounded and at peace. My parents still live there and it’s an amazing place to come home to.

In The Good Fight, your character Maia comes from a very privileged background but is desperate to prove her own worth. Is that something you’ve ever identified with?
I was never oblivious [to] the challenges that an actor would face leaving drama school. At the time I felt lucky to get into LAMDA. Then you’re going to need a huge amount of luck on your side. I loved it so much though; there was never a feeling of having to prove my worth to anyone.

Ygritte’s most famous line – “You know nothing, Jon Snow” – has now become a catchphrase. How did you become so talented at accents?
At drama school we had an hour-long accent lesson every other day for almost three years. One of the dialects I responded to most was the northern one and I ended up playing a northern lass in a touring production for five months before Game Of Thrones, which was lucky as it helped me sound relatively authentic. There are still so many I can’t do though. I long to be able to do a South African accent but I’m terrible at it and am too ashamed to attempt it in public.

If you weren’t an actor, what would be your Plan B career?
I would have pursued a career in psychology – it’s so interesting. I think this leads into why I am an actor – it’s a fascination I have always had with behaviour, body language and the reasoning behind why one reacts the way they do.

I read that Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in Game Of Thrones, told a police officer about his character’s fate to get out of a speeding ticket. Is there anything you would spill Game Of Thrones secrets for?
Probably something horribly self-involved like getting into a Bear’s Den gig. I happened to see them when they were here a couple of months ago and they packed out the Williamsburg Music Hall. I respectfully paid for that ticket but if I couldn’t have seen them? Well, I would be tempted… But I don’t know any spoilers. I’m actually completely clueless as to what is going to happen next season.

What do you do to switch off?
I am currently in Williamsburg and there is a pottery studio about two blocks away from me, so in the evenings I’ve been taking classes to entertain myself. So far I’ve made a couple of bowls and handle-less mugs – there’s no way I could set a handle on there! I’d like to think I’m channelling Demi Moore in Ghost but I really am so bad at it. The lovely instructor does most of it for me.

Finally, what’s the first thing you’ll do when you get back to London?
Have some baked beans on toast. I was devastated when the supermarket here didn’t have Heinz ones and I don’t trust the American version. They are my ultimate home comfort. (source)

‘Thrones’ alum Rose Leslie still ‘emotional’ about dying in Jon Snow’s arms

NEW YORK POST – As the lady’s maid Gwen on “Downton Abbey,” Rose Leslie captured the spirit of an independent-minded woman, circa 1912, who saved up enough money to buy a typewriter and taught herself to type. So long, place settings and candlesticks. Hello modern world.

In 2017, Leslie fully entered the modern world in terms of her TV roles. Following her smashing success as the doomed Ygritte on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the Scottish actress was cast as rookie lawyer Maia Rindell on the CBS All Access series “The Good Fight,” a 10-episode, post-Julianna Margulies extension of the long-running series “The Good Wife” — already renewed for a second season.

To film the series, Leslie moved from London to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and just like “Downton” and “Thrones,” immersed herself in a foreign world, this one marked by legalese and power suits. She didn’t have to take a crash course in the American court system. “So far, I haven’t really come across a word I haven’t been able to pronounce,” says Leslie, 30.

Maia gets a job working at a primarily African-American law firm under the tutelage of her parents’ friend, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski). On camera, it’s a complicated relationship. Shortly after taking Maia under her wing, Diane learns she has lost her life savings in a Ponzi scheme apparently engineered by Maia’s father (Paul Guilfoyle). Off camera, Leslie has joined the Baranski fan club. “She is the most gracious woman I’ve come across,” she says, suddenly aware of what a kiss-up she sounds like. “That’s not just me, brown-nosing.

While Baranski receives star billing, of course, Leslie has benefitted from one of the show’s best subplots: the young idealist realizing her family may be completely corrupt.

Through the arc of the 10 episodes, it’s interesting to see the eroding relationship with Maia’s father,” she says. “The momentum is really gathering speed around the Ponzi scheme and it’s crashing down around her.

The series has tackled some contemporary issues such as fake news, and plays more like a cable series with features you’d never hear or see on an ordinary CBS series (including nudity and four-letter words). Maia rarely curses, but Leslie did film some nude scenes with Helene Yorke, who plays Amy, Maia’s lawyer girlfriend. “It’s a fantastic way to see the relationship between Maia and Amy,” Leslie says. “You can observe them as two loving people. It expresses how strong they are as a unit.

With production completed, Leslie has returned to England, and to her boyfriend of four years, Kit Harington, whom she famously met on the set of “Game of Thrones” (he played Jon Snow). She seems to know she has landed the most popular (and coveted) hunk in the medium, but all she’ll say about him is “My boyfriend is a phenomenal man.

Their romance on “GoT” offered a welcome break from the series’ trademark carnage. Fans fell in love with the pair, putting together YouTube montages of their story, like any popular soap opera couple. Ygritte’s death scene, with her memorable last line, “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” was truly moving. Which raises the question: If every woman wants to die in Jon Snow’s arms, what was it actually like to do so?

This is me going back,” Leslie says. “It was very emotional. The love that she felt for Snow overrode any frustration she felt. It was very painful. Ygritte was happy to be dying in the arms of the man she loved. It was a very lovely storyline to be a part of.” (source)

Town & Country Magazine Interview

TOWN & COUNTRY — If television is to be believed, Chicago’s law firms are some of the most dramatic places on the planet. Take, for example, the burgeoning legal career of Maia Rindell, played here by Game of Thrones alum Rose Leslie. She’s barely begun her post as a newbie at Lockhart, Decker, Gussman, Lee, Lyman, Gilbert-Lurie, Kagan, Tannebaum & Associates when her life explodes—something about a billionaire father turning out to be a fraud can do that—and a chain of events is set in motion that will drive the first season of The Good Fight, the new series airing now on CBS All Access.

If the name of the series alone didn’t tip you off, the show is a sequel of sorts to The Good Wife, which ended its celebrated run last year. Fight was also created by Robert and Michelle King, and follows some of Wife’s characters (namely the brilliant Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart and Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn) as they continue to navigate the Windy City’s turbulent legal scene. It’s Scottish-born Leslie, however, who’s at the heart of the show, and here the actress chats with T&C about what made it a part she couldn’t turn down.

In the very first episode of this series, Maia’s life is almost completely turned around. She’s gone from anonymous legal associate to being attacked in elevators by strangers her father might have bilked out of their savings. I can’t imagine it’s every day you find a part this complex.
The fact that Maya is almost unjustly targeted was a hook for me. We watch this young woman fight–in her personal and professional life—and I love that she’s someone whose career is about to take off when the rug is pulled out from under her. I wanted to explore someone so resilient, who people can root for through such an awful event.

You’ve previously been on series like Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. What made you go looking for something like The Good Fight?
I feel incredibly privileged to give you this response: I was offered the part. The Kings got in touch and asked me to read the pilot. So, I did that and the how was written so brilliantly that I immediately responded to the character.

The series is fictional, but some of the events do have that pulled-from-the-headlines feeling. Did you take any inspiration from real-life situations of the same ilk?
Before I started, I read Stephanie Madoff Mack’s memoir, The End of Normal. Reading that book was heartrending, as a human being learning about the way someone else’s life has been flipped upside down. That was something that allowed me to almost get an understanding of just how appalling it must have been to be in her situation. You can really only imagine; it’s catastrophic.

Again, this all happens in the first episode! What does the rest of the first season hold for Maia?
What’s within Maia is an innate desire to prove her worth, to show to everyone that she can handle everything that’s thrown her way. But there’s also the realization that her father might not be as innocent as she wants to believe. You really see her mindset develop.

The series certainly stands on its own, but there are winks to anyone who watched The Good Wife. How did you feel about joining that world, which already has such a history?
I did watch The Good Wife, and when I started having conversations about this series, I knew it would be similar—there’s still « good » in the title—but I chose it for the writing and because of the talent that’s attached. Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo are so fantastic! So, being able to carry on some of that story was something I was thrilled to be a part of.

The show takes place in Chicago, but you’ve been filming in New York. How’s that been for a Londoner?
We’ve been in New York since October and have about a month left. It’s been treating me incredibly well! I’m living in Brooklyn and have such an affinity for this city. I’ve never been in New York for longer than a week at any one time, so the idea of coming for a five-month stint was such a pull, and it’s been everything I hoped it would be.

So, you get to go home in a month! How will you spend the time off?
I’m thinking of parking myself in my favorite pub and holding court. I’ll tell people I’ll be there for about six days and they can all stop by. (source)

Franchise Fred Interview: Rose Leslie On The Good Fight

WE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT  It’s official, The Good Wife is a franchise now. The spinoff The Good Fight stars Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo as their characters Diane and Lucca. Rose Leslie plays the brand new character of Maia Rindell, Diane’s goddaughter who ends up working with her.

After the Television Critics Association panel for The Good Fight, I spoke with Leslie in the scrum, as we call it, where reporters follow up with stars from the panel. The Good Fight premieres tonight on CBS All Access, a streaming service without the restrictions of broadcast.

Since you were on Game of Thrones, is the language and sexuality of streaming still tame to you?
Do you know what? For the first time, I have now been filmed in a shower. So I felt that that was a new way of exploring the character’s sexuality without it being too gratuitous. I am hopefully very discreetly covering my breasts with my arm.

How awkward is it to film those scenes?
It was my first ever. I felt incredibly supported by the director, Brooke Kennedy. Then the wonderful actress who plays my girlfriend, Helene Yorke, she and I bonded and we realized that yes, this was something that was very true to the relationship that these two ladies have. It’s very loving, very comfortable in their own skin, incredibly comfortable with their own sexuality and they are there for one another. So it suddenly became the two of them, two souls together supporting them. So it was awkward for both of us. Of course, we didn’t do it in one take. We did it in a couple of takes but after the first take it was then kind of like okay, here we go. Let’s make sure that we can show them in the best light possible.

Honeymoon had some intimate scenes too.
Absolutely. That had some intimate scenes and you’re bang on, because we were in a shower as well. It was far more, as you say, intimate and behind the curtain as it were so it didn’t feel so much of a wide shot. Yes, that had some very intimate scenes. I actually saw the director last night at a viewing party which is really lovely. Leigh Janiak, that was a really lovely thing. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years.

Tell us about Maia personally and professionally.
She is a young lawyer. We basically see her as a law student, literally on the cusp of taking her bar exam. Then suddenly very rapidly, the cushy life that she lives, a very privileged life she lives suddenly gets swept and taken out from beneath her feet. All the revelations of her father’s fraud and the Ponzi scheme spins everything out of control. Then she is taken into the wonderful, welcoming arms of Diane Lockhart. We see her process and struggle with the damage that something like that can do, and the understanding just how it ripples through everybody’s life. Obviously we kind of pulled it from the Madoff situation and just how appalling a catastrophe like this can be and the effects that it has on your day to day life and your mental health. It must be an awful thing to go through.

Is Maia going to be a lawyer?
She managed to pass the bar exam, yes. So she’s a lawyer herself.

Do you get some fabulous courtroom monologues?
So far, I still feel that I haven’t been given them yet. So yes, I think possibly Robert and Michelle [King] are hopefully waiting for that to happen. So far no, I haven’t had any court monologues. I can’t wait. I’ve heard the court days are very, very long so there’s a little bit of trepidation in approaching one of those long days but yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I think they are treating the character as a newbie in terms of having to see that process develop for her finally to own the courtroom and to own that floor and to make sure that she comes across as talented as she is.

What was the last thing you fought for?
Can it be something really ridiculous and trivial? It usually is. I fought for a bagel this morning. Somebody was going to reach for it and I was like, “No, sorry. That’s the last one. I haven’t had breakfast yet.” Here, backstage. It was very rude of me.

Is doing a real world set show very different from fantasy, or is it all the same to you?
I would say that of course it’s different. Of course, it is. The wonderful thing about The Good Fight is that we are in present day. This is modern time and I get to wear some clothes that aren’t shrouded in fur. I get some high heels which are painful after a while. I would say the storyline particularly for The Good Fight is something that absolutely keeps me engrossed in this particular genre, in this particular world so it’s wonderful to b able to dip your toes in and out of all the different fantasy elements and go back to kind of reality.

How many times did you go in for this part?
I feel incredibly honored, the Kings asked me to play the role of Maia so obviously I jumped at the opportunity at being able to work and collaborate with them.

How is New York treating you?
What a fabulous part, to be able to accept a job and then live in New York City. It’s one of the world’s greatest cities so I feel incredibly privileged. Beautifully, because I’ve got the East River quite close to where I am, I think it’s rather wonderful. I am in Williamsburg so it’s really, really lovely. That area is just fabulous. You’ve got your parks and the water, but it’s cold. I’ve done one day of that.
Rose Leslie

What was growing up in a castle like?
I’m from Scotland. My parents live in Scotland so that was my upbringing. It was cold. It’s very drafty. There isn’t any central heating so there’s no romantic element to living in a castle. It’s pretty freezing but wonderful to be able to play hide and seek with your siblings. I had an incredibly happy childhood.

So kingdoms have been in your blood.
You could say that, yes.

And your castle is available on Airbnb?
Yes, it’s wonderful. I’m one of five children. My parents, with all of the children having flown the nest, it is a house that needs to be lived in. So it’s wonderful that it’s open for people to come and explore Scotland. It’s in the countryside. I’m biased but the countryside is beautiful. It’s in Aberdeenshire.

Do your parents still live there?
They still live there.

What do you miss the most from home?
This is going to sound bonkers, and I kind of get a little bit of relief from New York, but the weather. I love it cold, man. It was raining today. It was really full on. I woke up this morning and I was like, “That is a proper kind of shower happening outside.” From everyone I’ve spoken to, I think L.A. needs a bit of rain is what I’ve heard.

Do you still hear “You know nothing, Jon Snow” every day?
Delightfully, I am. It’s so lovely that it is something that is adored by so many people.

(source)

‘The Good Fight’ Team Reveals How « Fake News » and Politics Factor Into ‘Good Wife’ Spinoff

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Like its predecessor The Good Wife, spinoff The Good Fight will and has been heavily affected by the current political climate, with its characters tackling some of the same issues the government’s addressing. But beyond the Trump administration, the phenomenon behind one of the president’s favorite phrases, « fake news, » will also factor into the legal drama, star Rose Leslie teased at The Good Fight premiere in New York earlier this week.

Leslie, who plays Maia Rindell, a young lawyer and goddaughter of Christine Baranski’s power attorney Diane Lockhart, told The Hollywood Reporter that she’d just finished filming an episode in which « fake news is very relevant. »

« There are some falsehoods being spread on the Internet about Maia that are jeopardizing her profession and her reputation, » Leslie said. « That is scary to see how something can just grow, spread like wildfire, in terms of reliable sources that begin to believe something that isn’t true. We see the danger in entering a world whereby truth is no longer relevant. »

[…]

To understand Maia and Diane’s backstory, Leslie told THR that she and Baranski spent an evening together talking about the relationship between their characters and « built it backwards. »

« It was more breaking down the character and how long she’d been in my life. If she’s a godmother than that’s presumably from the beginning. And we realize that she was a mentor for Maia and someone who was that strong foundation, a rock, in terms of a moral compass, » Leslie said. « So, yeah, Diane is integral to Maia’s happiness and realization that you need to stay true to what you believe in. » (source)

Sticky Notes nominated at the 2017 National Film Awards UK

Sticky Notes has been nominated for Best International Film in the 2017 National Film Awards UK ! In order to vote, you have to take one minute to register here: http://www.nationalfilmawards.org/voting/ and then select Sticky Notes in the Best International Film category. The movie official Facebook page also announced that Sticky Notes closed out 2016 with screenings at 3 more festivals: The Stockholm International Film Festival, Film Fest Tucson, & The Marbella International Film Festival, where Director Amanda Sharp was nominated for Best Director & Ray Liotta was nominated for Best Actor. There is no release date for the movie yet but it is available to rent and download on Itunes Store UK where it is entitled « The Last Dance ».

The Good Fight gets February premiere date

COMING SOON – CBS All Access, the CBS Television Network’s digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, today announced its first original drama series, The Good Fight, will premiere on Sunday, Feb.19. The Good Fight premiere will be available on-demand on CBS All Access beginning at 8:00 PM ET. In addition, a special broadcast preview of the premiere will air on the CBS Television Network that same night, Sunday, Feb.19 at 8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT. After premiere night, all new episodes will be available weekly on Sundays exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers.

“CBS All Access has built tremendous momentum in the past year – passing one million subscribers, launching our first original with ‘Big Brother: Over the Top’ and, most recently, bringing live ‘NFL on CBS’ programming to the service,” said Marc DeBevoise, President and Chief Operating Officer, CBS Interactive. “We’re continuing this momentum with the upcoming launch of ‘The Good Fight’ which promises to not only deliver more ambitious premium programming for our subscribers but an opportunity for world-class creators like Robert and Michelle King to push the envelope in new ways.”

The Good Fight picks up one year after the events of the final broadcast episode of The Good Wife. In the new series, an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of a young lawyer, Maia Rindell, while simultaneously wiping out her mentor and godmother Diane Lockhart’s savings. Forced out of Lockhart & Lee, they join Lucca Quinn at one of Chicago’s pre-eminent law firms.

The series, from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King, stars Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Rose Leslie, Delroy Lindo, Sarah Steele, Paul Guilfoyle, Bernadette Peters, Justin Bartha and Erica Tazel. (source)

‘The Good Wife’ Spinoff Title Revealed

TV LINE CBS’ forthcoming all-digital spinoff of The Good Wife will be titled The Good Fight, it was announced on Monday.

The offshoot — debuting in February 2017 on CBS, before moving exclusively to the network’s streaming service CBS All Access — picks up one year after the events of last May’s polarizing finale and stars Good Wife vets Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo and Sarah Steele (reprising their respective roles as Diane, Lucca and Marissa).

In the new series, an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of Diane’s goddaughter, Maia (Game of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie), while simultaneously wiping Diane’s savings. Forced out of Lockhart & Lee, they join Lucca at one of Chicago’s pre-eminent law firms.

The ensemble also includes Good Wife newbies Delroy Lindo (Chicago Code), Paul Guilfoyle (CSI), Bernadette Peters (Smash) and the just-cast Erica Tazel (Justified).

Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King return as showrunners and EPs on The Good Fight. Longtime Good Wife director Brooke Kennedy, meanwhile, is set to helm the premiere. (source)