ZeroZeroZero Star Andrea Riseborough Talks Investigating The Cocaine Trade

Andrea Riseborough is a rare actress. She has shunned blockbuster movies for meaningful and varied roles in the likes of Birdman, Madonna’s W.E, Battle of The Sexes and Made In Dagenham , and she even – genuinely and caringly – takes the time at the start of an interview to ask how I am. It’s rarer than you think and speaks so much of her Newcastle roots. Zooming from LA, she may now firmly be a Hollywood resident but her Northern twang is still on show and true to form, is talking to me for two very different projects.

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The first project is her latest feature film, Luxor, a heartbreaking drama which follows her character, Hana, who has been emotionally and mentally scared by her work in a war trauma unit on the border between Jordan and Syria. On an adventure and mission to re-centre and rebuild herself after seeing unimaginable things, she finds a life affirming romance.

Then in a very different role altogether, Andrea appears in the budget busting eight part cocaine TV crime drama, ZeroZeroZero on Sky Atlantic. Focusing on the international drug trade and the dark underbelly of society that lines its pockets from drug dealing, Andrea appears as badass babe Emma, whose family uses their international shipping business to move drugs between continents. Think of it as Succession meets The Godfather.

Here, Andrea opens up about controlling the narrative of her career, the impact of filming across four continents – and breaking both of her legs – for ZeroZeroZero and the life lessons she will never forget from playing an aid worker in Luxor

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What have you learnt about yourself over the last year by sitting with yourself?

Oh goodness, so much. Thinking about the beginning of last year just seemed like a different lifetime really, doesn’t it? The isolation is the most difficult, lack of intimacy and just missing the beautiful, tactile closeness of life.

You love a challenge when it comes to picking your roles. What challenge has shaped you the most?

The challenge in itself is finding out how to best serve what you’re doing, and also have a healthy mental detachment from what you’re doing. Really my one job, I suppose, if you were to sort of put an umbrella over it all, is to reflect life and at the minute there’s such a huge disconnect from being able to really get inside of somebody else’s world, literally. We’re all becoming more resourceful, in terms of reaching out, and making sure that we’re not isolated. Finding that human connection, in a time where, really, I continue to tell stories about people, but don’t see many people, is a challenge.

Do you think you’ve kind of taken control of your own narrative of your career and how difficult has it been to make those decisions?

In so much I think as anybody can, I suppose yes is the answer. I think it would probably be quite easy to go with the tide. I think the hard part of making those decisions is mostly financial, for a lot of us. Especially early on, it’s very difficult to make those decisions when you’re being offered things that the world might see as a potential slam dunk and might come accompanied with all sorts of ease, and all sorts of steps to the next big level.The reality is, as much as we’re in a frenzied race, that there is no rush – bearing that in mind I think is really helpful. The other thing is, any of us could – it sounds morbid but -pass away tomorrow. At a time like this, that’s the forefront of everyone’s mind more than ever. So to try and live in your own set of values feels nourishing. It feels right. I’m looking to stay in that place and that often means saying no to quite a lot of things.

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