This week’s #WCW spotlight lands on none other than the indomitable actress Ruth Wilson, who is best known for her roles as Alice Morgan in BBC’s Luther and Alison Bailey in The Affair, which garnered her a Golden Globe win in 2015.
After studying at drama school, Ruth’s breakthrough came in 2006, starring in the BBC mini-series adaptation of Jane Eyre alongside Toby Stephens. Ever since she has taken on a number of complex and vastly different roles onscreen and onstage, always keeping you on your feet, always seeking to delve deeper to create wildly complicated and wonderful female characters.
Luther has Ruth playing the sweetly evil genius (or psychopath, however you’d like to phrase it), Alice Morgan, who funnily works alongside the title character of Idris Elba’s detective, Luther. On the other hand and often airing at the same time, The Affair has Ruth in the thick of the drama, as a woman caught in the aftermath of tragedy, but also the chaos of infidelity and love. The show tells the story from the points of view of different characters, including her own, and she meets the challenge of having to act according to different perspectives every episode. If you thought it couldn’t get any better, she also pulls off a flawless American accent alongside Dominic West.
As the media covers the shifts that have begun to slowly uproot structures of sexism, racism, and inequality in the industry, more and more actors have begun to speak out about their experiences and in favor of change to benefit all. In regards to The Affair, Ruth spoke up about the gratuitous amount of sex scenes and nudity in the show, but more importantly about how women are often the focus of such scenes. She called for more male nudity and focus in an industry that is famous for over-sexualizing women. The more voices heard, the better.
If you’re looking for a new show to start, for new worlds to enter, or simply want to be entranced by masterful performances, her filmography should certainly be on your priority list.
While she is currently starring on Broadway in a gender-bending adaptation of King Lear with Glenda Jackson, Ruth can also be seen in PBS/BBC’s Mrs. Wilson, a mini-series about her own grandmother who unknowingly married a spy with multiple wives. For fans of the literary series, His Dark Materials, Ruth will be starring in BBC’s take on the tale sometime this year.