Sophie Rundle and Martin Compston speak about their new thriller, The Nest, in which they play a married couple whose desperation to have a baby sees them make a pact with a teenage stranger. How far is everyone prepared to go to get what they want and what devastating secrets will surface?
The Nest sees Martin Compston (Line of Duty) and Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) star as a wealthy married couple in this five-part emotional thriller set in Glasgow. Dan and Emily live in a stunning house by the edge of a loch and have everything they’ve ever dreamed of apart from a child.
After years of struggling to conceive and with all avenues exhausted, a chance encounter with an enigmatic 18-year old called Kaya (Mirren Mack) leads them into a pact that will change all of their lives forever when she offers to be a surrogate for them….
We met up with Martin, 35 and Sophie, 31, on location in Glasgow during a break in filming The Nest to hear why we’ll be gripped….
What attracted you to the role in The Nest?
Martin: Nicole Taylor who wrote it is one of the best writing talents working in Britain. I’d watched Three Girls (starring Molly Windsor) which was just an astonishing and hard-hitting piece of work. Nicole and I had spoken a while ago about the possibility of working together so when this role came along I was chuffed to bits.
Sophie: It’s such a brilliant script. I love the ever-changing shift of power. You’ve got three people who all need each other but there is this constant switch of who you think is in the wrong and who’s in the right. It makes you examine your own moral compass.
What state is Emily and Dan’s marriage in when we first meet them?
Sophie: They’re very much in love and are really right for eachother. When they first got together they weren’t rich, so becoming incredibly wealthy is something they’ve gone through together. They’re fundamentally a good partnership.
Martin: To all intents and purposes they have this perfect life apart from the one thing they can’t have which is where it all goes terribly wrong.
What do we know about their pasts?
Martin: Dan’s very close to his sister Hilary and his two nephews but there’s also a ruthless side to him. He’s made his money in the casino and pub industry and there are elements of shadiness about how he started out. To have so much wealth you’ve probably had to take a few risks and rub a few people up the wrong way.
Sophie: There’s more mystery to Emily’s past. You never see any family or friends from her past and we don’t really know where she’s come from but you get the idea that she may have run away from something. She’s fully embraced her life in Glasgow but in terms of their backgrounds, Emily and Dan are quite different.
Why are they so desperate to have a child?
Sophie: They’re at that stage where they’ve been married for a while and Emily in particular longs to have a baby. All her contemporaries are having babies and it’s something she really wants but she’s had lots of miscarriages. They’ve had round and rounds of failed IVF and now only have one embryo left. They’ve talked about perhaps adopting but decided that’s not right for them.
Martin: They’ve been trying for years but it’s just not happening. At the core of this you’ve got two people who are really in love and want a baby and there’s nothing wrong with that but it asks when do you give up? When do you say enough is enough?
Did you two take Mirren (who plays Kaya) under your wing or give her any advice?
Martin: With Mirren there’s not much you need to say, she’s totally on it. She’s got this amazing energy and enthusiasm. Emily and I were laughing earlier about how cynical we’d come. We’re the old ones on set now!
Sophie: She’s so talented. She’s fresh out of drama school and is so fascinating to watch. She’s really unusual and just brings it every day.
What moral questions does The Nest pose?
Sophie: It asks what money can buy, what does privilege and wealth afford you and also highlights how easily you can exploit people when they want something so badly.
Martin: At the start Emily and Dan convince themselves they’re doing the right thing with Kaya. Their view is, ‘We’re helping you and you’re helping us’ but deep down they all know there’s something shady about it. It shows how you can convince yourself you’re in the right if you really have to.
Were there any challenging stunt scenes?
Sophie: I had to go wild swimming because Emily likes wild swimming. It was all very safe and organised but I felt like I’d just been chucked in this huge loch in a wet suit. All the crew were on a boat trying to tell me where I should be but it was a very choppy day and I was exhausted because I couldn’t touch the bottom. I was eventually hauled out of the water like a wet fish. You got off lightly Martin!
Martin: I had to drive about in a Bentley (laughing).
Martin, you live in Las Vegas now, what was it like filming in your native homeland?
Martin: It’s been great to get in plenty of Celtic games and to also be close to my family in Greenoch. My wife flew over from Las Vegas in June so she’s been here too. Scotland will always be my home and I’m lucky that my work keeps me here.
Sophie: I’ve become a bit obsessed with Glasgow. I was based here for my last job too (Elizabeth is Missing, starring Glenda Jackson) so I’ve been up here since the summer. The whole city has such a nice atmosphere and I really like the people. I want to move up here!
The Nest begins on Sunday, 22nd March, BBC1 at 9pm
Pictures: Studio Lambert – Photographer: Mark Mainz