Emily Hampshire bonded with her UK co-stars in ‘The Rig’

The working relationship between Iain Glen and Emily Hampshire started with a few white lies.

He’s the Scottish actor who played Jorah Mormont, Daenerys Targaryen’s loyal knight in ‘Game of Thrones’; She’s the Canadian actress who starred as deadpan motel clerk Stevie Budd in « Schitt’s Creek. »

They also star in « The Rig, » a supernatural thriller series set on a North Sea oil rig that premieres on Prime Video on January 6.

They first met via Zoom when Hampshire was still being considered for the role of Rose, a no-nonsense petrochemical geologist who is on the platform to represent the oil company. Glen plays the offshore facility manager or rig boss.

« What sticks in my mind is that Iain, when he came (the call) he was like ‘I’m such a fan of you, ‘Schitt’s Creek’. thrones. I can’t believe I’m gonna work with you.

« And then towards the end of filming, there were a few signs that, like, I don’t think he’s seen ‘Schitt’s Creek’… And I’m like, ‘I haven’t seen ‘Game of Thrones’ no more. Neither of us saw each other’s stuff,” she laughed on, yes, another Zoom call.

It certainly wasn’t an obstacle for her to get on well with Glen and the rest of the cast, a who’s who of Scottish and British actors. In fact, « The Rig » was sort of a reunion of « Game of Thrones » and « Line of Duty ».

Scottish actor Martin Compston, Steve in ‘Line of Duty’, was the first cast of the six-part series, which was filmed in Scotland. He plays the platform’s communication operator.

He was joined by ‘Line of Duty’ alum Mark Bonnar, Rochenda Sandall, Richard Pepple and Owen Teale, the Welsh actor who also starred in ‘Game of Thrones’ with ‘Rig’ costars Glen, Mark Addy and Emun Elliott.

« Oh my God, they are amazing! » Hampshire got excited about his fellow cast members.

“I first met everyone when I went to Scotland and we were filming, like, at the height of COVID, so I couldn’t understand them when they had their masks off; I definitely couldn’t understand anyone with their masks on, but they were so supportive of me. They reminded me of a lot of Canadians… In Canada there really isn’t a star system, like (playing is) a blue collar job. You can have 10 movies in TIFF format and you’re still nobody. You’re not famous and there’s no ego about it.

« And that’s what I really felt with all this casting, there was no ego. And everyone could laugh at themselves like we do in Canada. So I thought felt at home with them.

Executive producer Derek Wax also had some nice things to say about Hampshire.

« We couldn’t have been luckier to have Emily Hampshire, because she loved the scripts, » Wax said in notes to media on the show. “She wanted to come here in the midst of COVID and completely immersed herself in research to play a scientist with a geological background. She was absolutely delightful to work with.

The show was created by early television writer David Macpherson, who has a master’s degree in environmental studies and has worked for climate change nonprofits. He was inspired, he said in the press kit, by the oil rigs he watched as a child growing up on the shores of Cromarty Firth in Scotland, by the fact that his father spent most of his life on platforms, and through shows and movies he loved, like the movies « Star Wars, » « Star Trek, » and John Carpenter.

“Some offshore workers will tell you it’s like spending half your life inside a bomb and your job is to make sure it doesn’t go off. It’s dirty and dangerous work, and the only way for the teams to get out of it is to know that after two weeks they can leave. Except in our story, they don’t,” Macpherson said.

In « The Rig », some of the crew of the fictional Kinloch Bravo are about to return home when a mysterious fog rolls in, cutting off communications and making it impossible for helicopters to land.

Strange and scary things start to happen: power outages, unexplained tremors, unexplainable accidents involving crew members and finally it seems the crew of around 40 is threatened by old forces elementary.

Underlying the sci-fi and horror elements of the series is a theme of environmental degradation, that the Kinloch Bravo is one of the last of a dying breed with fossil fuels threatening the planet. – although Macpherson said he also wanted to portray the “dignity and justifiable pride” of oil rig workers.

Key members of the production team visited a real rig, the Stena Spey, off Orkney. They even considered using a disused platform as a set, but ended up building one inside First Stage Studios, a former transformer factory in Leith, using shipping containers stacked with catwalks and stairs welded on it, and parts of a real ship.

Director John Strickland (also a member of the « Line of Duty » reunion, having directed 11 episodes of that show) said it was a small percentage of the size of a real rig, but Hampshire said that it was always « massive ». Basically all we were missing was water… I’ve never been on a board this big like it looks like this massive blockbuster but that’s also half the game for you because you don’t have to pretend in this scenario.

There were, of course, simulations, with visual effects to complement things like wind, rain, and fog machines. But there were also physical effects, like using giant engines to shake bridges, and tanks and wave machines to flood a set built in a drydock.

« I just thought it was such an epic kind of setting and story, » Hampshire said. « And I really felt like I connected with Rose in that she’s really obsessed with work and very career-focused. And she’s that woman in a man’s world that doesn’t care about anything. to be loved and who is not there to make friends.

It seems doubtful that Hampshire is « nobody » now, to use his word.

Before that, she starred alongside Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody in the horror drama « Chapelwaite. »

« Now I have a lot more choice of people sending me stuff, » she said. « I don’t get Julia Roberts projects or anything, but the stories I get are all because of the success of ‘Schitt’s Creek’.

« So I just want to choose wisely…just choose stuff like that that when I read it I was excited about it and I hope other people, when they see it, feel the same way I did. . »

“The Rig” debuts on Prime Video on January 6.

Debra Yeo is an associate editor and contributor to Star’s Entertainment section. She is based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @realityeo


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