From her East Village apartment, Sherlock Holmes actress Kelly Reilly took time out from training her 12 week old puppy Wagner (he shares her coffee addiction and can’t stay out of the fireplace) to talk to Stylist.co.uk about returning to our screens as Detective Anna Travis in Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion. Plus, her top restaurant recommendations in the Big Apple.
It’s the fourth series of Above Suspicion. Are you excited about it coming back?
Absolutely. It’s something lovely I do once a year which seems to get high ratings and people seem to enjoy. We have a great time doing it so as long as people still want to watch it then that’s wonderful.
What’s next for Travis?
Well, Anna has no life. She isn’t someone who goes to the pub at the end of the night to wind down with friends; she goes home, opens a bottle of wine and continues to work by herself. She’s a loner. Although men seem to hit on her a lot, it doesn’t affect her. And now, she finally meets a man who she falls head over heels in love with. He’s a prison officer, her age, and wonderfully smart and funny. They are the perfect love match, but – it’s Lynda La Plante – and she’s not going to let Anna have her happy ending. What happens throws her back into her work even more.
As a female detective, Anna is one of the only girls in a boys’ club. Is that something you’ve ever experienced personally?
Oh, all the time. It’s very rare if you get more than one or two females in any job. But Anna’s not experiencing the same level of sexual politics as say Jane Tennison was experiencing [in Prime Suspect]; it’s now about who is best at their job regardless. But Anna is very much a woman in a man’s world. She’s very much a girl. And I like that. She’s not a woman trying to de-feminise herself in order to be accepted. And she runs rings around all of them. She irritates people because she goes off on her own but they can’t argue with the fact she brings in the goods.
Ciaran Hinds is perfect as Langton. What’s it like working with him?
He’s one of my main draws to come back every time. He’s a wonderful, kind man and a dear friend. Everyone talks highly of their co-stars but he really is, out of all the people I’ve worked with, up there as the favourite. I feel privileged that I get to play with him. He’s so brilliant.
At the end of the last series you realised he [Langton] is not the man you thought he was. Do you think their relationship will recover?
I don’t know if it will ever recover to the point that it was before but I think that’s life. People we love disappoint us. She had him quite high on a pedestal. He’s not an angel and neither is she. She put Langton in the same category as her father who she completely idolised. What develops now, in this series, is a more realistic relationship. But it’s more complicated than it seems; it’s chemistry.
You’ve just finished filming Flightwith Denzel Washington…
I just finished before Christmas. Robert Zemeckis is the director with Don Cheadle and Denzel and Melissa Leo and John Goodman. It was a wonderful experience. I play a heroin addict; very different to playing an up-and-coming detective.
Do you like that aspect of your job; the fact that every project’s different?
Definitely. The variety is fabulous. It’s always challenging; it’s forever fun. Maybe later I will be more interested in being locked into one television show for ten months of the year, because you’re able to have stability which really has its perks after a while. I feel like a bit of a gypsy in this job. I’m forever flying and staying in hotel rooms and away from home. It’s hard. I loved it in my twenties but now I’m less keen. But variety is the spice of life; it keeps me on my toes. It’s good to be scared. I was really scared going into the Robert Zemeckis movie. It was a big deal for me - my first role in America, playing an American. But they were healthy nerves, it shows that I really care and I think that’s important in any job.
You played Mary in Sherlock Holmes 2. Was it as good fun to make as it looked?
Oh, yeah. To be on something so quintessentially British with such great humour and fun sets; it’s a big film and we don’t have many of those in England. There’s no more Harry Potter now. Guy Ritchie has really upped his game with the second one but still maintained that great dialogue. It wasn’t just about the scenery and the effects. I think that’s what the Brits do best.
You moved to New York from London last year. Do you miss home?
I miss my friends and family there but I was home very recently for a week and it was wonderful. It’s not far; just a hop across the water so it’s not a big deal. It’s not as far as if I was in LA which feels like a journey to the end of the world. But I’ll always have a soft spot for London theatre. It’s the best in the world. It’s not just the West End; you have The Royal Court, the Almeida, the Donmar. I miss it. Ciaran is on stage at the moment in Juno and the Paycock at The National. I’ve heard great things. The next time I’m home, I’m going to catch it.
Any tourist tips for the next time we’re in New York?
I’d go down to the meat-packing district to Pastis for brunch. Then just walk and walk and get lost in New York. That’s what I do. It’s so much smaller than London. There are fabulous galleries down in Chelsea that you can walk in off the street. As far as places for dinner go, there are too many good ones to mention but I have my favourite. We live in the East Village and Supper is my local restaurant. It’s great. But most of the time I go to my place on Long Island by the water. That’s my haunt. It’s very beautiful there, the light’s stunning. It’s a bit more low-key and more of a community; around nature which is really important to me. Especially after a good long job.
Above Suspicion runs over 3 weeks from 9th January on ITV1