What appealed to you when you first read Hard Sun?
I was instantly gripped. From the very opening of episode one, I was thinking, what is going on? Who is this woman? I knew immediately that it was both meaningful and very exciting.
How would you describe Renko?
She’s complex. She’s not only physically strong, she’s also mentally strong. She’s focused. She goes on a journey from isolated to integrated, from island to intimate, and self-sufficient to sharing. At first, the most important thing for her is to survive. But then her own survival is overtaken by the survival of everyone else.
She’s also very courageous, isn’t she?
Yes. Renko’s solution to life is to walk into the fire - that’s her way through. If she had a predator, she’d never turn her back on him. She will always walk towards danger rather than back away from it.
Could you talk us through the relationship between Renko and Hicks?
It’s a cat and mouse relationship. They’re on parallel roads, but are forced together. Then they reach a crossroads and have to make a decision. It’s like a dark ballet where they’re dancing around each other.
The portrayal of the central male-female relationship is quite different to how women are often depicted in drama, isn’t it?
Yes. As a woman, you carry around a projection about what it means to be a woman in society. Men don’t have to carry that. So this is hugely liberating.
Hard Sun was an intense, physical shoot. What was the toughest scene to film?
In one fight sequence we had no choreography at all. I was fighting a young man. He had a blade and was trying to slash me with it. It’s very difficult to choreograph that, so we had to do it instinctively.
How have you found it shooting the action sequences?
I love it! It’s very hard physically, but it’s amazing to be able to do all that myself. They didn’t let me do a couple of stunts. They wouldn’t let me fall through a glass table because even the stunt guy gets hurt when he does that. And they wouldn’t let me crash a car. But otherwise I did everything myself.
What was that like?
It was exhilarating because with every punch, block, run, swerve and skid of the car, I felt like I was filling Renko’s skin to its fullest potential. She’s a very physical woman.
We hear you had a bit of an accident when you were filming a fight scene with Jim...
That’s right, I punched him on the nose by mistake during one sequence. Afterwards, the stunt guy said he was surprised we'd both only had one accident!
Have you enjoyed working with Jim?
Absolutely. He’s amazing. We come together as a team to overcome things in our work and personal life. We are very similar in our demeanour and energy. It would be terrible if you didn’t get on with your co-star. But I respect Jim so much. He’s a brilliant actor. It’s thrilling when you’re working with someone who excites you so much. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with for the last six months!