An Interview with Actress, Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott
Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott is one of the stars of upcoming crime thriller Renegades. She talks to Roger Crow about that movie, advice she’d offer herself at 18, and plans for the rest of 2022.
Nemesis is one of my favourite films of last year. What are your memories of working on that?
Well Jonathan, my husband and I set up Shogun Films towards the end of 2019. The writer of Nemesis, Adam Stephen Kelly, has worked with Jonathan for years and is part of everything he does, he’s his right hand man really. I wish he’d directed it too. Adam and Jonathan cooked up the story and Adam wrote the script and he wrote the role of Sadie Morgan especially for me. It was really important to me to have strong female roles in a genre that usually doesn’t and we had three in that film. We tried to do something different, not just the usual Rangerover murders film, and perceptive critics like you saw that, I think. Anyway, Nemesis was the first Shogun Film and we were going to shoot it in Spring 2020 but then of course the pandemic hit and so we had to push it back to the second half of the year. We filmed between September and December on and off, working around availabilities and restrictions. The last scene to be filmed was the one with Nick Moran and Ricky Grover – we were supposed to shoot it in London, but the day before London went into Tier 4 and we had this mad dash to Eastbourne to film it there to beat the restrictions. I had a lot of fun working with Billy Murray – he gave me away at my wedding so he’s practically family and he’s such a trouper – watching him blow that car up in a soaking, freezing field in Essex – without flinching or complaining – was pretty inspirational. And he was magnificent in that scene where he tortures and then burs Johnny Palmiero. On the flip side we had a lovely scene drinking champagne in a private jet – talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous! There were a few disappointments too – a number of people singled out my punching ‘Zoe’ as hard-hitting in reviews, but it should have been so much more – it was supposed to be a real knock-down, drag-out cat fight but let’s just say some of the other people involved had zero enthusiasm. I did karate for years and I was really looking forward to that and when I see it I’m frustrated because I know what it could have been. Covid also meant the film didn’t get a premiere, which was frustrating, we did our best with the press in the UK but I never really felt the distributor got behind it. America was a different story, thankfully, and Samuel Goldwyn Films released it there, where it’s now playing on Tubi which is fantastic.
Tell us about your character in Renegades.
Growing up watching Cagney and Lacey and Prime Suspect it has been my dream to play a cop since I started acting! Tom Joliffe wrote a fantastic part for me that I could really get my teeth into – there’s more to this cop than just trotting out expositionary recaps when the action slows down! Detective Inspector Annie Moore (most of the characters are named after actors who starred in films produced by Jonathan’s mentor Euan Lloyd – myself after Roger, alongside Peck, Collins, Woodward, Harris etc!) is a tough CID detective who is in charge of the investigation into the murder of Carver (Lee Majors) by Goram’s (Louis Mandylor) gang – and the subsequent revenge attacks by his fellow Renegades. She has a real journey because she starts out very much acting by the letter of the law but by the end she literally becomes one of the Renegades. She’s definitely a dark horse though – she’s dated rogue spy Donovan (Michael Paré) and has no hesitation in shooting one of Goram’s henchmen point blank. She’s a really fun character and a total change of pace to Sadie in Nemesis.
What was the most memorable day of the shoot?
The very first day – we were in Docklands in East London and the first scene of the whole shoot was a two hander with myself and Stephanie Beacham. STEPHANIE BEACHAM!! As a kid I loved Dallas and Dynasty and all those shows and she was an icon. She was also in a film that terrified me as a kid called And Now The Screaming Starts (funnily enough co-starring Ian Ogilvy). We’d spoken on the phone about the scenes in advance but meeting her in person was a joyous experience – what a powerful, glamorous lady! So that was my first scene – no pressure – then once Steph wrapped I had to go outside on this incredibly high bridge – an amazingly cinematic location – and do a phone call scene with Michael Paré, who is brilliant – and we got a take – which they used in the film – where as I finish the call, a huge aeroplane roars overhead. The funny thing was the lift on the bridge wasn’t working so we’d all had to trek up the stairs – and if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have got that shot! Talk about timing. I really enjoyed working with Daniel Zirilli, the director – he’s such a pro, a Hollywood filmmaker who gets exactly what he wants from a scene. Can’t wait to do it again.
Career wise, where and when were you happiest and why?
Halfway through filming Renegades, Jonathan’s book The Jermyn Street Shirt, was published. To celebrate we went out to dinner with Lee Majors and Billy Murray to Wilton’s – the most English of English restaurants on (where else?) Jermyn Street. Billy and Lee had become fast friends and were as hilarious as you’d expect. After dinner we went back to the hotel for drinks at the bar until the early hours as Lee regaled us with brilliant anecdotes. Being with him, Billy and of course Jonathan who had orchestrated it all was just amazing – I remember thinking to myself this is one of those truly special moments, one to cherish forever. And I do.
If you could offer yourself advice at 18, what would it be?
To cut down on the speeding – I was a real petrolhead then and had 9 points on my license! I love driving, I’m crazy about cars and I’ve had everything from classics to 4 x 4s. I was something of a tom boy back then and loved banger racing, anything with a bit of adrenalin. I still love putting my foot down at any opportunity.
You can live anywhere in the world where money is no object. Where would it be? And why?
Jonathan and I talk about our next move often and I think it will probably be to Spain. I’ve lived there before – I can speak the language, which I learned in later life and I love the Mediterranean weather and diet – and its only a couple of hours to London on a plane. I can see us in a nice town by the sea, away from it all but not too far away.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2022?/What are you working on next?
As well as acting I’m very much part of the film company and 2022 and beyond are going to be very exciting for Shogun – Renegades will be released in late Spring/early Summer, in the USA first, and before that we’re filming Crossfire – once again directed by Daniel Zirilli and written by two fantastic American writers, Chad Law and Josh Ridgway. I have a small part in that as the main character’s wife. I know who is playing him but unfortunately I can’t say yet but it is a major coup. We have an exceptionally ambitious slate for the next 18 months – with traditional action (Crackdown, The Star Chamber, Assault On Hazard Rock), sci-fi action (Nexus), a shark movie (Rogue Point), a ninja film (Ninja’s Requiem) and even a period smuggling yarn (Syn) – plus one I’m really looking forward to above all else, Eyewitness, which is a female action/revenge thriller in which I go up against my mobster ex-husband who has kidnapped our son. Game changer. We’re working incredibly hard to become the premiere producer of international action movies in Western Europe and we’ve partnered with an incredible group of filmmakers – in addition to those I’ve mentioned there’s Ben Mole, Reg Traviss, Dave Beton, Brandon Slagle, Mike Hurst – Jonathan has fostered relationships with world class talent and we’re all passionate about these movies, we all grew up on those 80s and 90s films and are determined to put our stamp on this genre.
Who is the most famous person in your phone?
That’s a tough one as there are a few but Patsy Kensit is definitely up there – we became great friends making Renegades and I talk to her on the phone for hours. She’s such a lovely, down to earth girl and she makes me laugh so much, I love her to bits. We want someone to write a female cop show for us to do together, or maybe a horror movie. I’m having lunch with her next week and I can’t wait!
‘Renegades’ is released later in 2022