A chat with Jessica Raine

FORTITUDE comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD from 1st June 2015




Following a successful stage career including roles in David Hare’s Gethsemane and Mike Bartlett’s Earthquakes in London, Jessica Raine shot to prominence in 2012 after winning the lead role of Jenny Lee in BBC One’s Call the Midwife. Since then, Raine has appeared in Line of Duty and is soon to be seen in Wolf Hall and Partners in Crime. In Fortitude, she plays Jules Sutter.

Can you describe your character and how she fits into the story? Jules is a bit of an outsider in Fortitude. She has recently arrived with her husband Frank, a search-and-rescue pilot, and her marriage isn’t in a great place. She’s trying to make a new life for her family, but she doesn’t have many friends. She’s quite isolated.

How would you describe Fortitude? It’s unsettling. It doesn’t quite go as expected, and it’s full of strange characters. Nothing is quite as it seems, and you have all these incredible actors in this strange world that Simon Donald has created.

What was it that appealed to you about the series? The landscape really jumped out at me when I read the scripts. This is a genre I’ve never tackled before and, if I’m quite honest, when I was reading it, I didn’t quite know what it was and that appealed to me. I really got a sense of this place and the landscape, and I thought that was such an interesting place to start a series. This town is so isolated and it’s interesting to see how its inhabitants react when something goes wrong.


How did you find filming in Iceland? I loved Iceland. We were on the eastern coast, where we got a great sense of the environment and it really informed a lot of what we did. The landscape is like another character that the DoP and directors have completely knitted into the story. I can’t wait to see what those icy, endless summers look like. While we were there, the sun didn’t go down, it went across and it puts your head in a weird place. You’re having a drink thinking it’s seven in the evening, but it’s actually one in the morning. The cast was all in the same hotel, which was great because it reflected the situation in Fortitude where all these different people are thrown together.

Fortitude has attracted a stellar cast. What was it like to work with the likes of Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon? Jules and Michael Gambon’s characters have quite a tender relationship. She finds him drunk and helps him home, and they become friends. He’s her only real friend in the town, he’s the only one who offers her any warmth and understanding. And acting with Michael Gambon is incredible, he’s such a great guy and he’s very funny. He has some great stories and I really loved working with him.

Your character has to deal with a number of devastating revelations. How do you prepare for those scenes of high emotion? I totally believe in using your imagination. I don’t have a child, so it’s just a case of imagining these things are happening. There’s a helplessness to Jules that isn’t very nice to play because you have to go to somewhere quite horrible. She hasn’t got any friends and she’s tossed about by what’s happening in Fortitude, and she eventually gets trapped there. There’s a certain heaviness to it that isn’t particularly nice, and I really wanted her to get some relief and go out and get drunk a bit more.


Fortitude is very different to Call the Midwife. Are you looking for roles that are as far removed as possible? Well the whole point of being an actor is that you want to put on as many coats as possible. Fortitude is a million miles away from Call the Midwife, it’s a contemporary piece for a start. I love seeing what different people will do in different situations and Jules isn’t immediately a strong female character, she’s trying her best and you, hopefully, feel a lot of empathy for her. She’s put in a horrible situation and, personally, I really sympathise with her.

Can you sum up why Sky Atlantic viewers should tune into Fortitude? It’s unique and unsettling. Fortitude encapsulates what’s happening to television dramas right now in terms of them being very well done and very exciting. I think it’s going to be up there with the greats. We’re all very excited about it.

FORTITUDE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SERIES, the incredible brand new dark drama series, released on Blu-ray™ and DVD on 1st June 2015

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