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‘Patience and ‘Fortitude’

Luke Treadaway on life in the Arctic Circle

It might seem quiet in the small, Arctic settlement of Fortitude—where researchers putter about studying wildlife and the greatest danger to residents might be hostile polar bears—but looks can be deceiving. Indeed, the titular town on Pivot’s Fortitude might appear quaint, but the series opens on a grisly murder and bit by bit, the true character of the town emerges. It’s safe to say that despite the stellar view of the Northern Lights, things in Fortitude can get rather dark.

As newcomer scientist Vincent Rattrey, Luke Treadaway gets to see that darkness up close. Here, the actor explains what’s so appealing about playing an egghead and why the middle of nowhere is someplace he loves to be.

Your character travels to the ends of the earth to study the effect of the arctic climate on animals. He’s a very specific guy. 

I could imagine myself being someone like this, someone who’s studying animals in the Arctic. In a way, we’re at the forefront of this kind of research, so it’s exciting to go and study these things in the Arctic, where all this research is spearheaded. 

Do you, like your character, have a scientific mind?

I did love science in school, and to study the natural world would be a path I would love to follow in another life. So, it was good to pretend for a while and go to Iceland. 

And did you learn much? 

I definitely wouldn’t say a line without understanding what it meant. I would always spend an evening before researching what I would talk about. Now if you ask me, I’m a bit rusty, but at the time I kind of understood all of it. 

On the show, Iceland fills in for the Arctic. How did you find filming there?

All the exteriors were in Iceland, but all the interiors were in London. Iceland was perfect because it was only three hours flight from London, and the crew there was brilliant and people were incredibly welcoming. It was a great place to film. Also, we all stayed in the same hotel, which is rare. When we worked in London, we would all go back home at the end of the night, so this was lovely really. We would eat together in the evening and drink together and have a really nice time off set. 

The town of Fortitude is sort of at the end of the world. Could you ever live in that kind of a place? 

Yeah, it definitely appeals to me. I’m now in the bustle of New York, and I love that, but there’s something very lovely about being isolated and surrounded by nature. It’s dramatic and inspiring, and for me it’s really important to get to a place away from everything every now and then. I would be happy to live in Iceland for some part of the year, and luckily now I’m able to.