Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott is a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment world. While she always had a lifelong passion for the arts, it wasn’t until her 40’s that she decided to pursue acting. Known for playing strong characters, Jeanine is proving that women of any age can be more than just eye candy. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jeanine on her latest role and what she has planned for 2023.
You started out as a dancer and then transitioned into acting. What drew you into acting?
As a child I was a promising ballerina with a scholarship at the Royal Ballet but that was curtailed by injury which pushed me into music as a creative outlet – singing, playing the piano and violin. Life got in the way of my artistic ambitions until I was in my 40s when my youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I had a sort of eureka moment when I realized that if I didn’t have a crack at it now, it would pass me by. It’s hard enough trying to gain experience in what is, in England, a tiny and fiercely competitive industry but I did student films, fringe theatre, short films, corporate work – everything to learn my craft. And I believe that life experience was a benefit. I love acting, there’s no greater rush that creating a character and bringing them to life in front of a camera.
What is your process for breaking down a character?
When I get a script, I learn all of my lines then I learn everyone else’s – It’s important to me to know what is going on in the wider world around my character. If I’m playing someone really different to me, I’ll try to find that kind of person in real life, to see what I can learn from them. If the character isn’t a million miles away from me – Sadie in “Nemesis” had a lot of similarities – then I’ll think about the best way to make her memorable rather than just giving the same performance, that would just be lazy.
What do you look for in a film role?
Something I can get my teeth into. In the genres I’ve been in – action, gangster etc., with the notable exceptions of big stars, the female roles often involve little more than sliding up and down a pole or being beaten up by the villain. None of that is appealing to me, so I try to hold out for roles with substance.
Tell us about your newest film Renegades.
Renegades is a throwback revenge thriller to the 80s and 90s Cannon movies with a staggering cast. It centers around Carver (Lee Majors), a green beret veteran who is murdered by a drug gang lead by Goram (Louis Mandylor) after warning them off his daughter (Patsy Kensit). His old special forces pals (Ian Ogilvy, Nick Moran, Billy Murray and Paul Barber) get together and decide to take revenge – which they certainly do! I play Annie Moore, the cop investigating Carver’s murder and the subsequent vigilante reprisals. It was a great role to play as she starts out cynical and obeying the letter of the law but slowly comes round to the idea that the Renegades are achieving what she can’t. It was wonderful to work with what the reviews have been calling “the cast of the year” literally everyone in the movie is a legendary household name.
You seem to choose characters that are strong women. Why do you feel it is so important to see those women portrayed in film?
There are many films with great strong roles for women but they are usually dramas or comedies – growing up in the 80s and 90s I looked up to Linda Hamilton, Sharon Stone and Sigourney Weaver in action and crime movies – we have a place in them too, I don’t just mean keep making “Tomb Raider” and “Underworld”, that’s something else entirely but so many films in these genres now and just guys and young female eye candy – I want to see women of my age represented and playing strong roles. I was really pleased that in “Renegades” the three main female roles were all played by 50+ women. I know that can’t be the same in everything but in this case, it felt like a victory and a vindication.
What is your advice for keeping a healthy work/life balance?
Well, given that my husband is a film producer, work is never too far away at home, but I have 4 children, 2 still at home, a 6 month old cocker spaniel named Barney and I go to classes at the gym every day. It’s very important to me to stay in shape, mentally and physically, not just for work but for my own sanity. I try to take the dog for a long walk on the beach every day too, which I love as he’s adorable. That’s my time to regroup and unclutter my mind, which is really important – you can’t be ‘on’ 24/7 because that just isn’t real. Jonathan, my husband, and I don’t get a whole lot of time to ourselves so when we do, we really make the most of it – we grab a night away when we can, we love discovering new restaurants and revisiting old ones (quiet, authentic is our style, not the showbiz hangouts). Quality time with those you love – and with yourself – is crucial.
Tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you.
I practiced Washinkai Karate for many years and competed in both Spain and England. I’m a petrol head too, I love fast cars.
What are your goals for 2023?
I want to get another meaty role under my belt, and I’d love to be in an episode of an American cop show. I love all those shows like “CSI”, “Blue Bloods” etc. being a regular on one of those would be my absolute dream.
Any upcoming projects you can share?
My next movie will be a western called “Reckoning Day” which is shooting in the Spring. It’s a revenge movie set in the gold rush, a brilliant script by Robert Dunn and the director is a super talented guy called Brandon Slagle. He has a new WW2 movie out called “Battle for Saipan” which I really would urge everyone to watch.
Where can we follow you on social media?
The best place is probably Instagram where I’m @jeaninenerissa – I am on Twitter, but it all seems to have gone a bit strange lately and Facebook usually repeats the Instagram content. I’m a reluctant social media user but I’m trying to get better.