Interview: Suranne Jones on Sky Atlantic's Save Me.
From the producers of the award-winning Line of Duty, Save Me stars Lennie James as a unique and unlikely hero. Save Me is the story of a most unlikely hero, Nelson Nelly Rowe (James), and his search for Jody, his missing daughter. A daughter he hasn't seen for thirteen years - more than half her life. Nelly's a charmer, a chancer, a lover, a fighter, a liar. And now an estranged father accused of kidnapping the daughter he's barely ever seen. On his way to finding Jody, Nelly will save lives, find others who have been lost, reunite loved ones, make enemies from friends, risk his life and the lives of others close to him and continually end up back on his feet after finding himself flat on his face. He's a man that faces a stark reality, as hard as it may be to admit, that in losing his daughter he finds himself.Features a stellar cast including Lennie James (Critical), Suranne Jones (Dr Foster) and Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire).
What attracted you to the show?
I had just taken six months off with my boy when my agent told me to look at it. I had gone back to Doctor Foster, which was such a big thing to go back to, and I needed some time off. But then I read it, and Lennie’s writing was so different. It was also different to anything else I’ve done on TV. I was going from Doctor Foster to something where I am part of a great ensemble with Lennie, Susan Lynch, Stephen Graham – they are people that I respect as actors and to get to work with them was amazing.
What makes it different?
It’s the writing. I love the fact that an actor has developed something that he felt hadn’t been seen on TV before and got a really great team together to make it. It’s an investigative story that isn’t about the police and it’s not necessarily a crime drama. It’s about a real man in a world that he doesn’t know.?
What is Claire like?
She’s ‘new money’. She’s a wife and a mother and has big expensive highlights and her husband works as a promoter in the record industry. Both are working class so they have come up together. And their house is meant to be utterly amazing. It was nice to go shopping for her because we went to the high-end shops – Selfridges, Fenwicks – and we had a bit of fun.
Your Doctor Foster house was amazing too. Do you write in your contracts that you must have nice houses?
You’d think so. But we’ve also been filming outside Deptford train station in the cold so that obviously didn’t filter down. Next time, I’ll put down that I’ll only do my scenes in the nice houses.
What’s Claire’s connection to Nelly and his world?
She had a relationship with Nelly 13 years ago. Her parents owned the newsagent’s opposite the estate, and that’s how they met. It was a summer of love and she spent three months in The Palm Tree, which is this amazing pub. Now, Claire finds herself back in her old world and through the circumstances in which Nelly finds himself in, he finds her again. They join up again, but he doesn’t really know her. They have to get to know each other again. He drags her back to the world she is trying to get away from.
Do you watch your shows?
I produce as well so I watched rushes every night for the last Scott & Bailey and I am an associate producer on Doctor Foster. I am pretty good at not just watching myself. I think you have to switch off otherwise you wouldn’t be able do it well. There are times I think, oh my god! But I don’t think any actor likes looking at their face. I am learning to watch a story as a whole and just not look at the wrinkles.
Are there any roles you’d particularly like to play?
I would like to play Mary Stuart on stage and do more theatre. I think I’d like to play some of Tennessee Williams’ women – there is so much range there. I like singing and dancing, all sorts of roles. I guess it’s the story I am drawn to.
Save Me is coming soon to Sky Atlantic.
What do you think makes this series unique? Why do you think people should watch it?