Dennis Quaid: 'Everyone's on pins and needles in Fortitude; you wonder if you'll survive!'

Fortitude Dennis Quaid
(Image credit: Steffan Hill)

Dennis Quaid gives the lowdown on filming Fortitude in Iceland, and what it's like wondering if your character will survive the Sky Atlantic thriller!

Dennis Quaid is wrapping up warm to join the cast of Sky Atlantic’s Arctic thriller Fortitude for its second series. The Hollywood star plays fisherman Michael Lennox, who witnesses more strange goings-on in the murder-plagued town of Fortitude as he battles to help his terminally ill wife Freya (Michelle Fairley).

Here, he tells TV & Satellite Week more…

What can you tell us about Michael? “He’s lived in Fortitude a while, but he must have been out at sea in the first series! He’s hot-headed and emotional and refuses to believe Freya will die. It’s his mission, among all these strange things that are going on, to find a miracle that will save everything that’s falling apart around him.”

What’s his relationship like with Fortitude’s governor Hildur (Sofie Grabol), as she tries to help the town through the latest crisis when a murderer strikes? “It turns out were old flames way back and so, if she’s got a problem, Michael’s got a problem, so they reconnect and help each other out.”

What was the appeal of the show for you? “I’ve done a couple of films with Stanley Tucci [who appeared in the first series] in the past, and if he did it I knew it had to be special. Then once I watched the first episode I wanted to do it because of the look of the show and the fact it centred on a story that even the characters didn’t understand and that just drew me in.”

Were you keen to do more TV? “TV’s not that different from movies nowadays and I was looking for something that has a beginning, middle and an end, not just an episodic story, so it’s more like doing a long film and because the cast is so international, it is global television.”

Did you worry that you might be killed off, as the last series of the show saw Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston and Stanley Tucci’s characters among those who died? “Everyone’s on pins and needles and you wonder if you survive! But the fun is seeing what happens... Am I going to be paralysed? Am I going to be blind? You just never know.”

What was it like filming in Iceland where part of Fortitude is shot? “Going around on the ski-doos was fun, as was going out on the Arctic Ocean on a fishing trawler – we spent all day out there. Iceland is an incredible place, it’s so magical and to me it’s like Hawaii in the Arctic. It’s just so beautiful, it’s like you’re on another planet.”

Did you get recognised much when you filming the rest of Fortitude in the UK? “Yes, I get recognised wherever I go pretty much. If you’ve done 100 movies and been around for 40 years then somebody’s grandmother knows me everywhere! But I can get on the Tube and stuff. I don’t need bodyguards any more!”

Fortitude series two premieres on Sky Atlantic on Thursday, January 26


Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.