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Ruby Rose explains what it takes to play a psychopath for new SAS thriller

Written by on 04/03/2021

The SAS, an embattled prime minister, double agents, armed mercenaries, a high-speed underground train, a village in Hungary, and a tense foot race through French woodland.

And that’s just a summary of the plot of the latest Sky Cinema Original film SAS: Red Notice, inspired by Andy McNab’s book of the same name.

It sees an SAS soldier whisk his partner off to Paris with the intention to propose – but the plan is thwarted when a group of heavily armed mercenaries stop the Eurostar train they’re on under the Channel and hold it hostage to the tune of half a billion pounds.

The pair had tips from SAS legend and author Andy McNab for the film. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Image: Heughan and Rose had tips from SAS legend and author Andy McNab for the film. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Ruby Rose and Sam Heughan face off in the battle of the psychopaths. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Image: Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019

The mercenary group Black Swans is led by Grace – played by Hollywood megastar Ruby Rose – a self-confessed psychopath who admits she would not hesitate to kill anyone standing in her way.

Rose, 34, told Sky News that in order to play a psychopath she had to swot up on how to get into that mindset before the film started.

“This is such a complicated and complex situation where I get to play a character I don’t get to do very often, and I had to do a lot of learning, reading and listening to Andy (McNab, the book’s author).

“It was really the psychological aspect about being able to play a psychopath and have other characters as psychopaths, but not in this way we’re fixated on, ‘well psychopath means Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer’ – there’s a whole lot of people who are on the spectrum of sociopathy.

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“It was about learning how to shift that paradigm of my understanding of it and also how to bring some flavour and texture to the character.”

Outlander star Sam Heughan, who plays off-duty SAS soldier Tom Buckingham who happens to be on the hijacked train, told Sky News that not only did he have to get into the mindset of a highly trained military man – but also, again, that of a psychopath.

Noel Clarke and Andy Serkis make an appearance as SAS operatives. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Image: Noel Clarke and Andy Serkis make an appearance as SAS operatives. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Hannah John-Kamen (on the back of the bike) is part of the film's stellar cast. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Image: Hannah John-Kamen (on the back of the bike) is part of the film’s stellar cast. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019

“A lot of the characters in the film are of a very mixed morality, and there is no real hero,” he said.

“Tom has never known that’s what he really is… but now he finally realises and has this epiphany of ‘ah that makes sense’ so for him, he’s intrigued and to meet someone else like him (Rose’s character, Grace), he has this dilemma.

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“It’s not just this typical action film… it has this great character study in the centre of it and it’s all based on authenticity and the actual reality of how the military operate, how the government operates with the military and how actually there are very blurred boundaries of right and wrong and what side you’re on.”

SAS: Red Notice is not only an action-packed-psychopath-fuelled thriller – it’s also got a stellar cast to boot – with Hobbit actor Andy Serkis, Bulletproof creator Noel Clarke and actress Hannah John-Kamen, who kept us all on the edge of our seats in The Stranger last year, all starring.

SAS: Red Notice is available only on Sky Cinema from 12 March

 Sky News

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