Q&A

Nor­ris: “Un­for­tu­nately, I didn’t come off too well from one [stunt] last sea­son. Noth­ing se­ri­ous, just a car­pet burn, but it hurt like hell. But that’s part of the fun of act­ing – the un­pre­dictabil­ity!”

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - Q&A -

If the UK spy drama Spooks has taught us any­thing, it’s that the life ex­pectancy of a Bri­tish Se­cret Ser­vice agent is of­ten short­ened, some­times quite dra­mat­i­cally.

Given the turnover of agents on the show, view­ers can only hope that new Sec­tion Chief Ros My­ers, played by Hermione Nor­ris, has the op­por­tu­nity to stick around for a lit­tle while.

That looks like it might the case, ac­tu­ally. The flinty but re­li­able My­ers has be­come a valu­able as­set to Spooks since her in­tro­duc­tion in the show’s fifth sea­son, thanks largely to Cold Feet and Wire in the Blood star Nor­ris’s ex­cel­lent por­trayal of the char­ac­ter.

For those of us without top-level clear­ance, Hermione, just who is Ros My­ers?

Ros My­ers has the Se­cret Ser­vice in her blood, lit­er­ally. Her fa­ther is a busi­ness mogul with high-rank­ing po­lit­i­cal links, and the world of pol­i­tics and es­pi­onage is all she knows. And it’s all she wants to know. She’s mar­ried to her job, ut­terly un­com­pro­mis­ing, ruth­less and would do any­thing for what she be­lieves to be the ‘greater good’. She’s re­ally good at her job and she knows it. All of which makes her great fun to play be­cause she’s not like me at all!

Spooks is an in­tense show, and the fact that you were preg­nant while film­ing its sixth sea­son must have made things even more in­ter­est­ing.

My hus­band Si­mon says he al­ways knows when I am work­ing on Spooks be­cause I be­come very in­fan­tile! The script is so in­tense and the pres­sure so enor­mous that all the mem­bers of the cast just can’t stop laugh­ing. I spent most of this sea­son in hys­ter­ics – I was heav­ily preg­nant and I think the hor­mones didn’t help. One scene, where I had to get in and out of a cof­fin, just cracked me up.

I imag­ine your kids wouldn’t be al­lowed to see their mum in action as Ros just yet.

I have shown my son Wilf, who is four, a few se­lected clips from Spooks, just so that he can see what I do dur­ing the day. I ask him what he does at school and in re­turn he loves to ask me what I did at work. It doesn’t quite sound right say­ing ‘Mummy killed a Mos­sad agent’, so I showed him some fairly gen­tle pur­suit scenes with Ros run­ning for her life. He knows it’s all make-be­lieve but he didn’t watch much – he just started run­ning around the room pre­tend­ing to flee the bad­dies, just ‘be­ing Mummy’.

Clam­ber­ing in and out of coffins aside, how have you found the stunt work you’ve had to do on Spooks?

I love it. Un­for­tu­nately, I didn’t come off too well from one last sea­son. Noth­ing se­ri­ous, just a car­pet burn, but it hurt like hell. But that’s part of the fun of act­ing – the un­pre­dictabil­ity!

You’re quite in de­mand now, but there was a stage where parts were few and far be­tween for you.

Af­ter leav­ing col­lege, I shared a room in a house in south Lon­don with four other strug­gling young ac­tors. There was no heat­ing and no hot wa­ter, and the very real threat of evic­tion be­cause I couldn’t af­ford the rent. In be­tween what act­ing roles I could get, I took any job I could find just to pay the bills. I even had to dress up as a moose for one job. My mother was hor­ri­fied. But I just couldn’t – I wanted to act so badly. Fi­nally, by the time I was 26 or 27, I had to face up to the fact that I was strug­gling. I re­ally started to think about giv­ing up my dream of be­com­ing an ac­tress. I had only ever trained in per­form­ing arts, so I knew that I would have to go back to uni­ver­sity and find a vo­ca­tion. And it was at this point that I got a call to au­di­tion for a new se­ries called Cold Feet.

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