Congratulations on your role in Vigil, what can you tell us about the premise of the series?
Thank you! Vigil opens with the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish trawler and a death on board the HMS Vigil that brings the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services. A huge on land and at sea investigation is launched into a conspiracy that goes to the heart of Britain’s national security. I play Jade Antoniak who lives in the peace camp next to the naval base protesting their work and nuclear weapons. Jade is a woman risking her life every day for what she believes in and becomes entangled in the severe circumstances of the series events. She’s smart, dangerous and a bit of a loan ranger at times. It was thrilling to play.
Best thing about playing your character Jade?
It was a very cool challenge to play a character with constant high stakes and her life being risked with her every move. She does a lot of secret work navigating the events that unfold throughout the series and has to hide so much of who she is to protect herself and the ones she loves. I loved exploring such a dangerous mindset and brave sense of self, Jade is so sure of what she stands for and what she is ready to fight for. I worked a lot with Rose (Leslie) as well which was a real joy, she is epic and one of the kindest actors I’ve met in the industry.
What drew you to the role? How is she different from Marsali from Outlander?
It was such a different role to anything I’d played before. And the scripts were some of the most exhilarating page turners I had read in ages. I remember someone asking me what I wanted to do next after Outlander S5 and I said something where my hair doesn’t have to be perfect and I can look rough and ready. Marsali is always so well put together! I absolutely love playing her but it was amazing to wear a pair of jeans and no corset this time. I was really excited to work on a modern, relevant story and from reading the scripts I knew there would be a few stunts for me to do, so that was very compelling. Those stunts turned out to be some of my favourite nights filming but I can’t say much more than that.
Your next project is Karen Pirie for ITV, can you tell us about this role?
Karen Pirie follows young, fearless, Detective Sergeant Karen Pirie as she embarks on an unsolved cold case of a murdered young woman from the 90s. It’s written by Emer Kenny off the back of Val Mcdermid’s very successful books. Karen Pirie has a quick mouth and a tenacious desire for the truth, so it was the biggest ride of my life to work on. I’ve never had such an intense schedule and I loved every minute. The show is dark, very funny at times, and will hook you immediately. I really can’t wait for its arrival into the world, it feels like my baby! I felt like I was the host of this big party every day on set and I just wanted everyone to have a good time.
What type of role would you like to try next?
This is always such a difficult question because I sort of want to try it all. I’m really keen to get back on stage sometime soon and I’d love to be in anything by A24 or Wes Anderson. I also think Ava Duvernay is one of the most prolific directors of our time at the moment, I’d love to work with her one day. I also just want to go on holiday and lie horizontally on a beach solidly for a couple of weeks so I’m crossing all my fingers for that day soon.
Interview by Lorenza Calamandrei.
Photography by Richard Rankin.
Vigil begins at 9pm on Sunday 29 August on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with episode two airing at 9pm on the Bank Holiday Monday, 30 August. Vigil will then continue weekly each Sunday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.