The actress Suranne Jones is a do-er who hails from Greater Manchester who hoiked herself up from regional musicals as well as the soaps, to be a sought-after actor on stage and on the world of British television she is a vivacious and energetic persona. When she is 40, Jones says, she often looks in the mirror and have the strange feeling of seeing her mother’s gaze: “same crooked nose, same big eyes like a pixie”. Jones has the vivacious energy of a teenager . She is able to walk at a rapid pace, hopping across the street from the photography studio to the closest pub, and talking about 1.5 speed. Jones is the only person I’ve ever met who after our conversation will take notes and send me notes in voice (like mini podcasts or homework assignments that require extra credit) that build on previous conversation points.
It’s been a turbulent couple of years, the actress admits. Suranne Jones was married in 2014 and was blessed with a son in the year 2016. Her work includes: “Betrayal! Murder! Paedophilia! Betrayed!” is how Jones summarizes what appeared from the outside as a flawless professional run between 2015 and 2018. Jones was amazing as the main character in The BBC dark comedy Doctor Foster, the story of a small-town doctor who is horribly vengeful following the revelation of the infidelity her husband had committed. (That was the moment of betrayal.) After that, she was a mom who had lost her daughter in Lennie James’s award-winning show”S ave Me (murder) and following that, another mother whose daughter had been victimized in the West End production of Bryony Lavery’s Frozen (paedophilia). In the midst of all this she was awarded an award called the Bafta for the very first season in the series Doctor Foster and was filmed for another series (more than a bit of betrayal).
“I think back and say”wow. I’m not shocked that it affected me throughout the course of the journey,” Suranne Jones says, saying: “Something had to give.” What did it, ultimately that West End gig. Jones was forced to leave Frozen in February of 2018 following a fall backstage in mid-show. The actress posted an apology note on Instagram which suggested that the dark subject matter of the play had taken over her. In truth, Jones tells me, there was more to it and in the pub , she’ll speak with a cautious tone about the other elements that led to her emotional squall.
At present, she would like to talk about the good things in life like her two-year-old son and his screams of the potty-training process and “the big move to a big bed”. Jones is also full of excitement about her new series, Gentleman Jack, early episodes that have been aired in America are getting favorable reviews. Conceived and written by Happy Valley’s Sally Wainwright, Gentleman Jack tells the true story of Anne Lister, played by Jones, a 19th-century industrialist who once sank coal mines in Halifax and is described on her blue plaque as a “gender-nonconforming entrepreneur” who advocated for same-sex marriage roughly 200 years before such a thing was legally recognised.
Lister was an individual, and one that was likely overdue for an appreciation revival. “Lesbian wasn’t a word to her,” Jones declares. “Anne was a woman who loved women and believed that it was God’s will to want to be with woman. It’s hard to believe how modern was in the 1830s. It was thrilling. What a risk. What… do you define the word?” Jones asks, “when you’re pushing the boundaries? The word will appear to me. It begins with the letter “c”. Argh. Brain fatigued from birth. If you can think of it, you should put it into.” (Later it’s the answer is in the form of text messages: “Transgressive! The word didn’t begin with ‘c’. ‘!”)
In order to get her mind in the correct direction prior to Gentleman Jack, Jones read huge portions of the diaries that Lister published. “It’s all available for you to read – 4 million words. It’s nearly too much. It’s like having every thought”I’m weak. I’m strong. She’s painful to be around. But I really love her. It was like looking at the brain of someone else on paper.” Sometimes while reading the diaries Jones was able to sense that Lister was imagining herself as an experiment in science. “She was often spending time in the mirror, watching the ground to below. Because she felt different in the society she was living in it was as if she was required to study the body and its biological makeup.”
More than anything else, Suranne Jones was struck by how confident and relaxed Lister was, and at the earliest point in her life she had everything figured out. “She was looking to marry someone she loved, and she wrote about it in her journals at the age of 16. This was awe-inspiring to me that she knew the person she truly is.” On the new series we follow Lister in the early 1830s, when she’s a quick-talking and ambitious, lusty woman who rides horses. Episode 1 (which is the only one that was available for me to watch) is an absolute thrilling experience.