Rose Leslie quickly became a fan favorite on HBO’s Game of Thrones, on which she played the wildling warrior Ygritte beginning in the second season. Now, the Scottish actress is making the jump to lead role status on a major Hollywood film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leslie is set to star alongside Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter. Directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies, Sahara) and produced by Summit Entertainment, The Last Witch Hunter tells the story of a semi-immortal witch hunter (Diesel) on the streets of modern-day Manhattan who is forced to partner up with a female witch (Leslie) in order to stop a witch queen from unleashing a plague into the world.
With a screenplay by Cory Goodman (Priest), The Last Witch Hunter’s script was also worked on by Melisa Wallack, the screenwriter behind Dallas Buyer’s Club. Additionally, the script has been polished by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, both of whom worked on Gods of Egypt and Dracula Untold, along with D.W. Harper. In most cases, the existence of so many writers would be a fairly ominous sign, but Wallack, whose screenplay for Dallas Buyers Club resulted in one of the best films of 2013, gives the film an intriguing layer.
Leslie first got her start in 2008 as an actor on Locked Up Abroad, a National Geographic docudrama series that mixes real interviews and actors reconstructing events. Then, in 2009, she won the BAFTA Scotland Award for New Talent for her role as Rhian in the film New Town. But it was her seven-episode stint on Downton Abbey as Gwen Dawson that brought her to the attention of Game of Thrones’ producers, and it now looks as though she’s about to truly break out.
Aside from her game-changing casting in The Last Witch Hunter, Leslie is also set to star in the indie film Sticky Notes alongside Ray Liotta and Gina Rodriquez. The film tells the story of a backup dancer (Leslie) who is forced to return home to Florida to care for her estranged father, Jack (Liotta), after he is diagnosed with lung cancer. Sticky Notes is the directorial debut of screenwriter Amanda Harlib, who recently adapted Matthew Quick’s (Silver Linings Playbook) novel Sorta Like a Rockstar for Fox Searchlight.
You can also watch Leslie on the British conspiracy-thriller Utopia, which is currently airing on Britain’s Channel 4 and is in its second season. The series follows a group of people who discover a manuscript that is rumored to have predicted the worst disasters of the past century, spurring a shadowy organization known as The Network to follow their every move.