If Downton, Game of Thrones and Luther are anything to go by, it's pretty much a given that Rose Leslie only latches onto productions that have got 'hit' written all over them. For her next flick Morgan - about an artificial human being with psychotic tendencies - expect noting less than a box office smash...
Even though it’s a horror, Morgan is aesthetically very beautiful, with fabulous landscapes shots. Where did you film? Near Belfast in Northern Ireland, which is slightly coincidental given that I filmed some of my three years on Game of Thrones in the same area. It’s a beautiful part of the world and I was very happy to go back.
Did you stay out in the wilderness to keep the theme of isolation up on set? I wish I could tell you I did – that I was gung-ho and daring - but actually, we all went back to a cosy hotel in Belfast every single evening. Sadly, hot baths got the better of me; at the end of each day I wanted to go back to a place of warmth.
How did filming Morgan differ to filming something like Game of Thrones? Obviously there’s the genre. With Game of Thrones you’re not really dealing with anything that is based in reality. You have dragons and magic and all of that. Even though with Morgan your dealing with modified beings - and therefore its not quite grounded in reality- it’s still very much based in the here and the now, which makes the filming experience much more relatable.
You’ve had a varied career and have starred in period drams (Downton Abbey) cop shows (Luther) fantasy (Game of Thrones) and now horror. Is there a genre you’ve yet to cut your teeth in? I would love to do comedy but you have to be phenomenally good. I’m not sure I’m there yet. I can imagine it being so much fun but I don’t think I’ve quite got the gall to go ahead just yet…
You’re American pronunciation in Morgan is spot on, as was your Northern one in Game of Thrones and your 'common' maid voice in Downton. Can you nail any accent? I was brought up with two brothers, the eldest who has one hell of an ear for hearing accents and regurgitating them straight away. So I was always in competition with him when we were growing up, it was a case of who could do accents the best. Still, it was brilliant practice and he honed my love of a great accent. I’ve played American characters before so I’ve naturally become more at ease. Still, there are some American words that I cannot get my tongue around but, if you keep it flowing, you are never too far away from the truth.
Your own accent has attracted a fair few comments... I know! I don’t know if I’ve ever acted using my normal accent so people are always rather suprised to hear how I talk (Ed: it's very posh.) People say how come I’m from Scotland yet I sound like the Queen?! I went to boarding school in Somerset, which has probably got something to do with it.
First we had Humans that was about artificial life, and now we have Morgan. Do you think A.I is going to become a reality in our lifetime? A couple of weeks prior to getting my hands on the script for Morgan, I’d been reading about hotels in China where the receptionists are robotic. It's hard to imagine, isn't it? Then, when doing my research for the role in Morgan, I also found out that bioengineering is becoming ever more prevalent which fascinates me. I think it’s going to be something we hear more and more of. I loved Humans - it was so creepy! - but would I have a synth? I just don’t know...
Your character in Morgan, Amy, is a bit of a tomboy. Is that something you can relate to in anyway? Absolutely. I have an older and younger brother and we grew up in the countryside in Scotland surrounded by trees and mud puddles. We were constantly running around and getting filthy. Whilst I enjoy painting my nails and putting on a frock, there’s something very freeing about letting loose in nature.
You worked with Idris Elba on Luther. What are you on the rumours about him being the next Bond? I think it’s a fabulous idea. My God, he’d be a great Bond. He has the charisma, he can take down a whole hoard of men and he’d have the ladies swooning. He’d inject his Idris Elba magnetism into the character. We need to make it happen, for sure.
Would you move to LA if your career demanded it of you? You are talking to a ginger! I don’t think my skin tone would ever be able to handle the Californian weather. When I’m there, I get too preoccupied that I’ve not lathered on my factor 50 sufficiently, and it soon becomes not much fun for anyone. I burn very easily and so the Scottish and British weather will do me very nicely, thank you very much.
Despite the endless work, do you still get mostly recognised for Game of Thrones? I do but it’s such a joy to be on the receiving end of it because you are always greeted so warmly. It feels like you’re shrouded in a positive glow.
Morgan is released on 1 September.
Read more about Rose Leslie here