THE WEST AUSTRALIAN – To many she’s renowned as Kit Harrington’s other half.
But Rose Leslie’s gripping turn in The Good Fight, a sassy and slightly edgier spin-off of the Emmy award- winning series The Good Wife, will see the Scottish- born, London-based actress well and truly step out of her famous boyfriend’s shadow.
The 30-year-old portrays Maia Rindell, the daughter of a well-known billionaire couple who also happens to be Diane Lockhart’s (Christine Baranski) goddaughter.
The 10-part series picks up a year on from where The Good Wife finished, with Diane eyeing a cushy retirement — until she becomes entwined in a financial scandal involving the Rindells.
With her retirement dreams up in flames, Diane’s reputation, as well as her financial status, is in ruins.
Fresh-faced law graduate Maia, who had been offered an internship at Diane’s firm, is thrust into the public spotlight and struggles to come to grips with her predicament as a result of her family’s tarnished name.
Growing up at Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire, Leslie also hails from a well-to-do family — her mother is a descendant of King Charles II while her father is the chieftain of Clan Leslie — but, much like her character, she remains incredibly grounded.
“That’s what piqued my interest,” explains Leslie, whose acting credits include Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.
“Being aware of her background and being told that she is a daughter of billionaires prior to filming the pilot, I was surprised and also impressed by the idea that she wasn’t entitled and that she has this strong desire to prove her worth.
“She is determined . . . to make sure that she carves her own path in this world, and then of course before any of that can happen, her father is caught in this horrendous scandal.
“I loved the idea of being staged as a stable woman and then for that to be turned on its head and have the relationship with her parents begin to crumble . . . and also to test her financially, professionally and mentally. That was also something I enjoyed grappling with.”
The drama airs in the US on streaming service CBS All Access, giving writers and creators Robert and Michelle Kingmore scope to push the boundaries on The Good Fight, with episodes abounding with references to cases of real-life social injustice as well as the current state of US politics.
One particular episode sees the head of a top African- American law firm, Adrian Boseman (Delroy Lindo), scout his office for a Donald Trump voter in an attempt to reinstate a client they believe pulled their lucrative retainer as a result of the firm’s largely anti-Trump sentiment.
“I think that is the beauty of what the Kings, and what CBS do,” Leslie says.
“They are boldly holding up a mirror to society, to political commentators, to politicians, and hopefully drip-feeding the idea that the one cannot get away with such behaviour, it will not be tolerated, it will not be normalised and we will hold it up in our episodes for what it is, without leaning to the Left or to the Right, by just presenting the situation and realising that it has to be talked about.
“I feel that it is powerful and brave and that it is something I am proud to be a part of.”
Leslie laments she had little time to prepare for the role, having been cast as Maia just days before filming was set to begin in New York.
“I wish I could tell you I had shadowed a lawyer,” she laughs. “I have to say it was a very quick turnaround. I was here in London and I happened to read the pilot and when I managed to get it, I was off to New York five days later.
“As a result, the run-up to the first day of shooting wasn’t long after I arrived, so the preparation that I did other than the wonderful excuse of re-watching The Good Wife, but I also read The End of Normal, the biography of Stephanie Madoff Mack, who was married to the eldest son of (jailed financier) Bernie Madoff.
“I felt like it was just the tip of the iceberg in the atrocity which comes with being at the centre of such a horrendous scandal whereby they are ruining the lives of millions, and the way that your world is turned upside down, with your family, your loved ones, your day to day lives, it was something I could read and go back to, and I found that very helpful.”
Leslie is eager to return to New York to film a second season later this year.
“It’s very scary times but I very much enjoyed being taken in by New Yorkers and I loved living there,” she says.
“I’m very much looking forward to going back there for season two.” (source)