The year 2009 was the glorious year the budding talent, Rose Leslie, secured her first major role in the Emmy award-winning series Downton Abbey. Aside from landing a part in such a prestigious TV series, it was also the year where she appeared in The Globe Theatre production of Bedlam and received brilliant reviews. However, it was her role as the feisty yet passionate Ygritte in Game of Thrones that really turned her into a global sensation. For only two seasons, Ygritte’s loyalty and quick-wittedness have managed to catch the hearts of all the viewers; and even though she had left the show, her legacy in the series lives on through her most memorable (and heartbreaking) quote—You know nothin’, Jon Snow.
It is without a doubt that Leslie has come a long way since her first debut on-air. Pushing herself to be the best as she can, the young inspiring actress has been seen starring alongside Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood and Michael Caine in the latest movie, The Last Witch Hunter. Aside from the Hollywood scene, she has also joined Idris Elba in the latest episodes of the BBC’s critically acclaimed drama, Luther. Well-known for not holding back on the grit and goriness, fans catch another side of the well-mannered Scottish siren. “In Luther, I play the part of DS Emma Lane. She is a policewoman with unwavering determination. She is very good at her job and there is a real tenacity about her,” she says.
Of course, working with the iconic Elba is a treat itself. “I have always been an avid fan of Luther and of course with Idris Elba. On my first day, I was struck by his effortless skill in front of the camera. He is charming in real life and the charisma that he brings to that show is just brilliant.”
2016 is going to be another fruitful year as Leslie will appear in the upcoming film, Sticky Notes opposite Ray Liotta. “In Sticky Notes, I play the character of Athena, an aspiring backup dancer who has to return home to Florida to help care for her rather cantankerous and estranged father Jack; who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Ray Liotta plays my father,” she informs. With Athena having danced for many years of her life, Leslie needed to move fluidly and authentically in the studio space for the dance scenes. “There was some dance training involved a few weeks prior to shooting, to help me feel slightly more confident with it.”
On Films and TV Series “I think the gap is narrowing between film and television... I would rather be where the good writing is, and right now I feel that it is in both fields. With the likes of Amazon and Netflix, there are far more opportunities which are incredibly exciting. They are changing the medium with their projects out there."
Another film Leslie is a part of is Morgan, a sci-fi thriller directed by Luke Scott and written by Seth W. Owen. The story centers on a corporate risk-management consultant who is summoned to a remote research lab to determine whether or not to terminate an at-risk artificial being. “I felt incredibly privileged to be working on a movie with such a fantastic cast. I have always greatly admired Toby Jones and Paul Giamatti and so working alongside them, for me, was wonderful,” she exclaims. Leslie will also star alongside with Kate Mara and Anya Taylor-Joy.
On being an actress “Well we shall see. I’m taking everything in my stride, and if I’m fortunate enough to carry on working, I hope there will be longevity in my career. I feel there will be times when I will be working on jobs I love, and then there will be in-between periods where I hold back to find something that I’m passionate about. I think it’s very important to make sure I’m dedicated and invested in my future projects.”
On picking roles “I find my guiding principal is to keep myself guessing, to challenge myself in something I have never done before. For me, I think it is important to be diverse and to be interested and invested in the character, you have to feel passionate about the storyline too. I enjoy playing the outcast. It's their desire not to conform, to not be too obvious, to me that is interesting.”
So, we wonder, if she has ever rejected a part. “Yes, I have! I’ve rejected a part whereby I felt that there wasn’t enough depth to the character and I think that it’s rather scary if you are looking for work and yet there is a job that comes your way and you don’t initially feel the passion to the character and I think that’s quite a bold move to then turn that down. But if that is what makes you happy, you gotta stick to your gut instinct, that’s something I think is very important,” she explains.
On summarizing 2015 “Oh well I had a fabulous year. I had a very very lucky year and I’m looking forward to 2016. But 2015 has been fantastic. I’ve been fortunate enough to work and I am very grateful for that."
Looking forward, is there anyone this gifted artist would really want to work with? “I would love to work with Steve McQueen, I am a huge admirer of his work!”
On New Year’s resolution “I have not thought of any yet. I always think about my New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s Eve, when I am drunk and around my friends, and we never really take all that seriously. I’ll have an answer for you in the New Year! (Laughs)”
Stylist's assistant: Jessica Tarbard
Special thanks: Victoria Raeburn-Wales & Sorcha Adamson at One Represents
Catch Rose Leslie partnering up with Idris Elba in the latest crime series of Luther as it makes a return only on BBC America and BBC One.