IN early 2006, Ruth Wilson exploded onto the scene by winning the title role in the BBC’s major new adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre – her first job out of drama school. She went on to gain a BAFTA TV nomination for Best Actress in 2007 and was also brought to the attention of Hollywood with a Best Actress nomination at the Golden Globe Awards. Suddenly labeled as the new “British bright young thing,” the actress next appeared onstage in Maxim Gorky’s The Philistines at the National Theatre in London. This was followed by playing the leads in two critically acclaimed feature films, Capturing Mary, in which Wilson appeared opposite Dame Maggie Smith and David Williams, and A Real Summer, written specifically for the actress and which she performed alone as a monologue.
In The Prisoner, Wilson plays Number 313, a doctor who plays a key role in the day-to-day running of The Village. The following is an AMC Q & A with the actress about her involvement in the miniseries.
Who is 313?
Ruth Wilson – She is a strange figure, a doctor in The Village. She initially meets Six [Jim Caviezel] in Club More – at that point,you have no idea who she is. She next appears in the hospital where Six is waking up, and gradually the relationship between him and 313 grows. She is always there, always around. She has been assigned to look after him by Two [Sir Ian McKellen]. It is part of her job and she doesn’t think much of it. It is only when she is talking to Six, and he starts making her question herself, that all her doubts about living in The Village are exposed. The women in this version are more interesting than the rather two-dimensional characters in the original The Prisoner. 313 is real; she is always changing and has no secrets.
What attracted you to the role?
RW – I find her fascinating to play every scene – there are so many unsaid things going on. Each scene I have to play for the scene. She has a sophisticated, neat, intelligent look. She is a clever woman, but is tortured by everything she has to do. 313 is someone who is pivotal to the way The Village works and fundamental to making it work successfully. She is overcome with guilt. I’ve tried to play her real. In Episode One, she has to build up a relationship with Six to get him to open up to her. She is not as she seems.
What is her relationship with Six?
RW – They have the same doubts and the same questions. She becomes his confidant. In Episode Three you find out that 313 is a dreamer – she dreams of another place which, in The Village, is a crime and she is forced to deny this. She can’t help being drawn to Six. It is the same with Two – she is drawn to him. In the earlier episodes, she has grown closer to Six and found out how dangerous he is. He has made her dangerous to herself, and she is struggling to hold on to who she is in The Village. She has to obey Two otherwise she will suffer the consequences. She almost has to make a choice between The Village and Six.
Describe 313 as a dreamer?
RW – As a dreamer, she becomes more and more tortured by her dreams. She can’t work out what they are and they keep coming back to her. She’s like an outcast – someone who is secretly hiding who they are. [In latter episodes], she becomes more honest and finds out who she really is. Two makes her face her dreams and nightmares.
How did you find working with Ian McKellen?
RW – It’s great working with Ian because there is a real playfulness that he has. His character is the baddie, but he has loads of depth. Two abuses 313 and manipulates her, but she is drawn to him as a father figure. She opens up to him.
The Prisoner debuts with two episodes on Sunday, November 15th @ 8 p.m. EST/PST and continues at the same time on Monday, the 16th and Tuesday, the 17th. Watch for more Q & As as well as cast interviews as the week goes on.
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