Arts

Rising film star Middleton is Tupp of the world

Tuppence Middleton has recently appeared in the films Spooks, The Imitation Game and Jupiter Ascending and now she?s a key cast member in TV thriller Sense8. She talks to Brian Campbell

Tuppence Middleton in Sense8

WHEN Tuppence Middleton was offered a job playing an Icelandic DJ and travelling all over the world, she didn't take long to say yes.

Another factor in the actress taking on the role in TV series Sense8 was that it was written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, creators of the Matrix film trilogy.

In the show Middleton plays Riley, an Icelandic DJ based in London. The thriller links together eight people from around the world – London, Mexico city, Nairobi, Seoul, Berlin, Chicago, Mumbai, San Francisco. They have powers that mentally connect them to each other – they can see each other as if they're in the same room – and find themselves in a fight for their own survival.

The cast includes Daryl Hannah, Naveen Andrews, Doona Bae and Tina Desai.

Middleton, who grew up outside Bristol but lives in London, liked the challenge of pulling off an Icelandic accent and getting to travel for the show.

“I got to go everywhere we filmed apart from Mumbai. We travelled as a big group and when we had any downtime, depending on whose city it was, they would show us their Berlin or Mexico city or San Francisco.

“We filmed in Iceland a few times. I had to work on the accent first, so I worked with a coach and looked at a lot of stuff on YouTube. Then when you get to the country itself there are so many variations on the accent, so I hope I've done it justice.

“Iceland is a beautiful place. They have such a connection to nature and they have such a rich folklore and mythology – a little bit like Ireland, I suppose – and you really feel that when you go there. There's something magical about it.”

She says she hopes Sense8 will have a broad appeal because of its international cast.

“It's an adult show and it shows things that happen in real life and that aren't always easy to watch.”

She first heard about the series when she was playing the role of Kalique in the Wachowski brothers' film Jupiter Ascending.

“I was aware that they were writing this TV show and it sounded bonkers and great. I never thought they'd ask me to be in it so when they asked me to play an Icelandic character I was like, `Yeah definitely'. I was up for the challenge. When else would I get asked to play Icelandic? And the production values were so high that it felt like shooting a 12-hour movie.

“I had such a nice experience working on Jupiter Ascending. The Wachowskis are so creative and ambitious. Doona Bae was also in Jupiter Ascending but we didn't have any scenes together in it, so it was nice to get her know her properly on this.

“We all went on this giant tour for eight months and got to know each other really well.”

All 12 episodes of Sense8 are now available on Netflix – Middleton says it's a good thing that people can watch it in one go or over a few weeks if they choose.

“I'm really excited it's out. I've had times where I've done a whole series in a weekend and other times I've stretched it over a few months. I watched [Netflix series] Bloodline in three days because I thought it was great and was hooked but with Breaking Bad I took my time with it because it felt so epic. I stretched it out and really savoured it.”

The actress's next small screen role will be in War and Peace on the BBC, in a cast that includes Paul Dano, Lily James, Jim Broadbent, Gillian Anderson and Stephen Rea.

“That was great. It was so different to Sense8, so it was nice to have such a contrast with the two projects. I love the book and it's a classic for a reason. They've done a really good job of adapting it and I'm excited to see the results. I imagine it will be out next year.

“Paul Dano [Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood] plays my husband and we had such fun filming. He's a really nice guy and such a talented actor.”

Middleton has got to work with a wealth of impressive actors over the years. “There have been plenty. Alex Jennings, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassell, Jim Broadbent... I worked with Stephen Rea on War and Peace and he's also in Dickensian – another BBC series I'm filming – and he's so brilliant.”

She would love to “get the call to go and film in Ireland”. “I'd love to spend more time there. I've only visited Dublin as a child. It's ridiculous, because it's so close and I have some good friends from Ireland, so I should really get over there,” she says.

Middleton enjoyed acting in the Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game (opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley) and in Spooks (with Game of Thrones star Kit Harington).

“I had so much fun doing Spooks. I'd never done that whole `running around with a gun and being a bit of a bad-ass' thing before. I'm so bad at running and sports and everything, so that was hilarious for me and my family and I thought, `I want to try that and to be convincing'. It was a fun job. But it is really hard to look good running on screen, unless you're Tom Cruise,” she laughs.

:: All 12 episodes of Sense8 are available now on Netlfix.com.

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