Filed in Gallery Interviews Photoshoots

Rose Leslie for InStyle Australia (May 2022)

New cover for Rose to promote ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’, this time for InStyle Australia ! The gorgeous pictures of the shoot have been added to the gallery, and don’t miss her interview below.

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On a crisp spring day, flanked by fields of luscious greenery in a small village in Suffolk, you’re likely to find Rose Leslie walking her 15-month-old son. “If it was left to me, I’d be taking my boy out for a walk three times a day,” she laughs, telling InStyle about her small pleasures. If it’s just the two of them, she’ll put in a podcast – often Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, or How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, but she’s also recently been loving My Therapist Ghosted Me with Joanne McNally and Vogue Williams. “I’m kind of chuckling away if it’s just me and my boy, but obviously if it’s the whole fam, then we’re chatting.”

Leslie and husband Kit Harington bought their second home in the English countryside four and a half years ago, and haven’t looked back. Living on the outskirts of a little village, they’ve “slowly but surely” gotten to know the local community, with Leslie attending mother’s groups and the young family participating in the nightly clap for the NHS that took place during the COVID-19 lockdown. “It was a real camaraderie and a real kind of bonding experience in the village,” she remembers. Life in Suffolk, two hours away from the bustle of London – and the attention that comes with being known as Jon Snow and Ygritte from Game of Thrones (the couple met on set 11 years ago) – is simple. “It’s lovely when we come home, and return here,” Leslie shares fondly of their retreat. “There’s less anxiety here.”

When I speak to Leslie, it’s Saturday morning and she’s sitting in a room in their house, the walls painted a warm lemon. She seems at ease, dressed casually in a white t-shirt, hair down, sipping from a large teacup of coffee. “I love it. I feel very much at peace in the countryside,” she says.

It makes sense. A descendent of King Charles II on her mother’s side, the 35-year-old grew up in the 15th-century Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Yes, a real castle. So she’s accustomed to wide open spaces, rolling hills and green as far as the eye can see. But forget those idyllic images of turrets and rooms laced with flowers conjured by the likes of Disney princesses. Leslie says the reality of growing up in a castle was, in a word, “freezing”. “I was surrounded by love, but I wasn’t surrounded by warmth,” she laughs. “It was drafty and so we kept to the rooms that were warm and they wouldn’t be our bedrooms. It would be the sitting room with the telly and the kitchen.” The actor remembers lots of jumpers and “huddling together” to stay warm. But despite the chill, there were obvious benefits, too. “It was wonderful with regards to kind of roaming and exploring one’s imagination. My siblings and I couldn’t have asked for a more fantastic set up to help a little child’s mind grow and explore,” she recalls. “I feel very lucky to have been brought up in a large family because you constantly had someone in the middle of nowhere to play with.”

The third of five children, she puts her career as a performer down to middle child syndrome. “This is a self-diagnosis,” she explains, describing an older brother and sister who were sporty and academic. “Subconsciously, I assume I ended up going, ‘Okay, well, if that box is ticked with my bro, if that box is ticked with my sister, how is it that I can stand out and carve my own identity?’ And so, who knows, if I was the youngest of the pack, I might not want to be an actor. ”

She left home at 18 to pursue that career, studying at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (which counts Benedict Cumberbatch and Kim Cattrall as alum) and landed her first screen role, at 21, in New Town, a television film that also won her a Scottish BAFTA. She went on to build a career of steady work, with roles in TV juggernauts like Downton Abbey and, of course, Game of Thrones as well as starring in films like Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile. The connective thread woven throughout her performances, no matter their size, is a steely and almost unrelenting humanness – you can’t help but root for her characters. For her upcoming turn as Clare Abshire in Steven Moffat’s adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, she stars opposite Theo James as Henry DeTamble, a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to spontaneously time travel and who Clare falls in love with. Over the six-episode series, we watch their relationship unfold from when she first meets him as a child right up until her seventies, where she looks back on how they managed to stay in love despite his condition.

It’s a beloved story. Published in 2003, the book has sold over two million copies, won the British Book Prize and a film adaptation, starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, was released in 2009. Leslie says she read the book in preparation for the role, but still hasn’t seen the movie. “That was something that I deliberately chose because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with variations with Clare,” she explains. “I felt that everything that I was receiving from Steven Moffatt’s adaptation was enough to make me feel like I had a big juicy bone to chew on.”

Beyond that, Leslie’s approach to the character was grounded in intuition and simply trusting herself. “I mean, it’s an extraordinary setup. Something very bizarre has happened to her, I suppose. How is it that you prepare for playing that role?” she wonders. “I just decided to embrace the chaoticness of what she’s going through and try and portray that as best I can, without feeling under-prepared.”

It paid off. Her interpretation of Clare imbues the character with a raw emotional honesty that captures the toll of being with someone who disappears randomly and for undefined stretches of time. It’s the same kind of empathetic grounding that elevated her turn as Ygritte into something more than what she was in the original source material. Her characterisation renders the somewhat outlandish proposition as believable.

The fact she plays Clare at ages ranging from 16 to 70 is also notable, though Leslie concedes that nailing the older Clare was a challenge. “Oh man, I struggled,” she says, telling me that it had her remembering a time during drama school where she and her classmates would question their teachers casting them as older characters because “we’re only ever going to play the ages that we appear to be. You’re never going to put on a prosthetic and play an 80-year-old.” Fast forward a decade or so, however, and “I find myself in a very awkward position of being like, ‘Fuck! How can I pull this off whilst not doing our grandmothers a disservice by making them feeble?’…I actually had to watch it [back] with one eye open.”

Arguably though, Leslie’s most impressive feat was happening off-screen, as production on the series began a mere ten weeks after she gave birth in February 2021, requiring the family to relocate from London to New York for six months while she filmed. She confesses it wasn’t without challenges, not limited to having to express milk on set. “It was tough. Of course, I was aware that it would be challenging. I had been told by girlfriends, and particularly with the way that I was feeling, I knew that it would be difficult for that transition to go back into work and to do it at a level that I was comfortable with.”

“And so there were days when it was brutal,” she confirms. “There were days when I wouldn’t see our son for, oh gosh, I mean I know that many mothers and parents go through this as well, but yeah, there were days in a row whereby he wouldn’t have seen me. It was difficult to carve out the time when everything was so full on, but I recognise that I’m saying that with the privilege of having my husband around.”

She and Harington have a trade-off approach to parenting; when she works, he will be the primary carer, tackling the late nights and early morning shifts and when he has a job, she’ll take on the load. “We know each other so very well. And we knew that, creatively speaking, we would love to be able to give the other the opportunity to do the roles that they wish to do,” Leslie explains of what went into their arrangement. “It’s paramount to us both that we are a unit and a tripod for our son to feel enveloped with love and his parents being present as often as they can…It was [an agreement] that arose naturally for us both knowing that we wouldn’t want to curtail the other’s career.”

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t personal consequences that come with the decision to pursue one’s dreams when raising a child. While she’s quick to acknowledge her privilege in having a supportive partner and workplace that allowed for some leniency with her schedule, she admits the mum-guilt was acute. “That shit is real. It’s brutal,” she says solemnly. How did she push through? “I didn’t. I allowed it to take over and I allowed it to send me into a frenzy…Which is something that I wish I didn’t allow. But it is what it is.”

Looking back, Leslie says that if she could give herself one piece of advice prior to his birth, it would be to simply “chill out”. “Your son feels loved and cocooned, even though you are not holding him as often as you would like. You can allow him to feel safe and secure despite your presence not being there,” she shares. “It is enough for you to be giving the love that you give him when you see him. And know that you are fortunate in your husband being around for him. So it’s all good.”

In conversation with Leslie, you discover this kind of transparency is trademark: she’s so open and considered in her perspective on any topic, you tend to forget she’s not actually your friend. A week before our conversation, an interview had circulated in which she discussed, honestly and candidly, living with Harington’s alcohol addiction. (In 2019, Harington checked into a rehab facility for alcohol addiction and has spoken since about his struggle with substance abuse and depression in the wake of Game of Thrones ending.) Of course, as is often the case, a single quote had been taken and regurgitated for millions to pick apart without much thought for the humans at the centre. Leslie seems cautious to speak out of turn, and when the subject is broached she is thoughtful with her words. “Something that I have learned over the last couple of years with regards to addiction is to not make it a taboo,” she says. “What works for us is an open acknowledgement that this is the case and an understanding of – and I’m repeating myself here – the hard work that lies ahead. The onus is on him to stay sober. And I will be endeavouring to always support that sobriety, but recognising that it’s on him, it’s not on me.”

She pauses, before continuing: “I want to be careful going forward because I feel like there’s nothing more for me to say with regards to us as a team and addiction being in our lives. You know, it’s like ‘you’re not an alcoholic, what the fuck do you know?’ I don’t ever want to come across like that. Because it’s something that I can’t relate to. It’s just something that I live with, in my husband.”

What’s important is the life that they’re building together, with their young son. I comment it seems almost as impossible to have a relationship in the public eye as it might to be with someone who spontaneously time travels. “Communication is key,” she offers of what sustains a relationship, though stressing she doesn’t have all the answers. “I think for us right now, where we feel most happy and comfortable with one another is communicating and voicing the concerns that we have then and there, if we feel that the other one is not necessarily partaking in the parenting duties or the household duties or whatever it is.”

Returning to the bond between Clare and Henry, Leslie says she hopes audiences who watch the series finish it with a sense of optimism and investment in their relationship, “that people come away with the feeling that it’s as beautiful a portrayal as an out-of-sequence, fantastical relationship could be. I hope people end up rooting for this relationship to continue to develop, and seeing the resolve that these two characters have in wanting to make it work, that people end up backing them to live a life together.” Certainly, you end up backing them, but you end up backing Rose Leslie, too.

source : InStyle Australia

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