Rose has started promoting her upcoming movie “Death on the Nile”, set to be released next month, with a new interview (finally !) for Stylist Magazine. No new pictures were featured in this issue, but stay tuned for more interviews and photoshoots in the coming weeks ! 🙂
Like most of us, lockdown forced Rose Leslie into a period of reflection. Ahead of her new Agatha Christie adaptation, the actor shares what she learned with Stylist.
“If I come across a lake or stream I’m always drawn to jumping in and immersing myself in the cold water; it’s a thrill.” Rose Leslie is telling Stylist about her love of cold water swimming, which she braves, without a wetsuit, year-round.
It’s one of the reasons she’s excited about returning to Glasgow next week to resume filming new BBC drama Vigil (which was paused for – well, you know why: the c-word), a police thriller by the creators of Bodyguard, likely to air in 2021. Leslie stars alongside Suranne Jones, as they investigate the disappearance of a fishing trawler and a death on a nuclear submarine. It’s not only the water that draws her back north of the border, it also feels like home. Leslie was raised in a castle in Aberdeenshire, although she now lives in London with her husband Kit Harington, also an actor, and the whippet puppy they have been raising during lockdown.
The last few months have been a time to reflect on her fast-paced life and a career that has been as varied and chameleon-like as any young actor might hope for, taking in huge American dramas Game Of Thrones (she met Harington on set) and The Good Fight and hit British shows including Downton Abbey and Luther. Next month we’ll see her in Death On The Nile, an all-star cinematic adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel. In conversation, Leslie is as refreshing as that cold water she likes to throw herself into. She’s smart, funny and open, and our chat runs from anxiety and social media insecurity to the joy of Daisy Cooper in This Country.
I FIND SOMETHING REASSURING ABOUT AN AGATHA CHRISTIE NOVEL OR ADAPTATION. WHAT WAS THE APPEAL FOR YOU OF MAKING DEATH ON THE NILE?
“The appeal was not only to work with Sir Kenneth Branagh, but who doesn’t love an Agatha Christie? Detective stories are right up my street. I’ve always found it quite cathartic that justice is served at the end. It’s also the decadence of Agatha Christie and her world, the costumes are so fabulous and the world is so polished. It’s a warm hug.”
ARE YOU ADEPT AT FIGURING OUT WHO DID DO IT?
“No. I can work it out several pages before [the reveal] but that’s it. I remember reading Big Little Lies and a good friend worked out that it was the horrendous abusive husband. That had not landed with me. Despite revelling in those books, I’m not good at sussing them out.”
IS THAT BECAUSE YOU’RE GOOD AT BEING IN THE MOMENT RATHER THAN LOOKING AHEAD? OR MAYBE IT’S JUST NOT HOW YOUR BRAIN WORKS?
“I’d definitely take the first comment because it makes me sound far more intelligent. There is that idea of being immersed in a tale. The onus is taken off the reader to figure out who the murderer is, you’re just along for the ride and that’s a pure joy.”
HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS?
“Firstly, I feel incredibly grateful. My husband and I were fortunate to spend lockdown in the countryside. Having birdsong and greenery and hedgerows was such a blessing. We raised a puppy in lockdown. We were trying to eke out conversation over the dinner table, talking about nothing but what we should eat the next day. It has been an extraordinary time for all of us; it certainly slowed us down. I have become aware of why I love London so much: it has to do with the abundance of distractions that we have readily available. If you don’t have bars and restaurants or theatres or museums, if there isn’t that distraction, then you have to confront your thoughts. Which is something that we humans are very good at burying. It’s been a real eye-opener. It’s not been productive in a way that I’ve actually done anything, but it’s been mindful.”
WHY WAS BEING IN NATURE SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU?
“It brings me peace. It feels like a sinking stone from the throat being dropped in a delicate way to the pit of my stomach. There is a grounding. I feel reassured by green spaces and I feel calmer because of that. It sends me into a peaceful mindset that I wish I could hold on to once I leave the park. It gives me 20 minutes of reassurance that we’re plodding along and some worries don’t feel as big when you’re confronted by a massive oak that’s been there for 400 years.”
SOMETHING I’VE FOUND SURPRISING IS THE EXHAUSTION OF THE LAST FEW MONTHS. CAN YOU RELATE?
“Kit and I, we were in the countryside and [initially] revelled in the idea that ‘this is going to last for three weeks, let’s lap it up’. But my inability to slow down reminded me of what happens if I’m lucky enough to go on a holiday; it takes me 10 days to come out of my fast pace of life, and then I begin to relax, by which point I’m on the way back home. With lockdown I had to confront just how wired I had become and that possibly wasn’t serving me in the right way. If it weren’t for the six months of being forced to slow down, I know I would have carried on. So, while I’m not claiming I’m not experiencing mental exhaustion any more, I felt it far greater back in March.”
YOU’RE NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, HAS THAT PROVED HELPFUL DURING THE LAST FEW MONTHS?
“I’m a relatively private person, and always have been. I remember being in the drama school common room and people saying have you heard about Facebook? [But she didn’t join up]. It sounds corny, but I know me. And I am anxious. I’m an anxious lady. And I have always felt that it would be adding to that anxiety. I know that I would respond by thinking, ‘Oh God, I’m boring to the people who have followed me. I’m not saying anything witty enough.’ I would break myself down in a negative way that just doesn’t serve me. I recognise that now that I’m 33. I wouldn’t have recognised that when I was in my 20s, but there was a gut instinct of knowing it wouldn’t serve my mental health. That was coupled with the idea, and I’m not saying that this is correct, that if one wants to be considered a versatile actor, then the more mysterious one appears, the more one would be able to morph into the roles I wished to achieve. And now with hindsight, I feel that ship has sailed for me. I’m way behind the tide.”
YOUR CAREER HAS BEEN VERSATILE, FROM DETECTIVES, TO A HOUSEMAID AND A WILDLING. WHAT’S LEFT TO TICK OFF?
“I have always been drawn to accents so I’d like to be able to delve into that more. There is a different stance, a different body language that I take on with another dialect. And that is a wonderful gateway into a character. It’s also more enjoyable than my own voice.”
YOUR NEW DRAMA VIGIL IS FILMED IN GLASGOW. DOES IT FEEL LIKE A HOMECOMING BEING IN SCOTLAND?
“It does. Growing up in the countryside near Aberdeen has instilled not only the love of the landscape but also that peace in seeing nothing on the horizon. And I love cold water swimming; running into the North Sea, which is freezing. I read an article that it kick starts your immune system and helps alleviate anxiety and stress so I’m trying to prove that.”
GAME OF THRONES FINISHED A YEAR AGO. WITH THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR TIME ON THE SHOW?
“I have always been incredibly grateful towards Game Of Thrones because it opened up this cavernous cave of wonderful projects. That is coupled with the fact that I’m now married, having met a wonderful person on the show. It was so much fun to get muddied up, have a bow and arrow, fake furs and do that accent. It was wonderful to be a part of it.”
FINALLY, WHAT TV SHOWS HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING INTO?
“I’m currently obsessed with Des. We are two episodes in and I have been blown away. Anyone that has spoken to me for the last 48 hours will hear nothing but how sensational it is. I wish we had saved Succession for lockdown, but we polished it off in February. Oh my lord! The most enthralling drama. I love Tom, and cousin Greg. And I think This Country is the funniest show I’ve ever seen. I got super excited when I saw Daisy [Cooper] and her dad on Celebrity Gogglebox.”