The Version's Fortitude Week: Dennis Quaid Interview

Gripping Arctic thriller Fortitude was one of 2015's biggest TV hits. Its stunning setting and gripping storyline held viewers across the world captive. Now, it's back for a new and pacy series that sees Dennis Quaid (The Big Easy), Ken Stott (The Hobbit Trilogy) Parminder Nagra (The Blacklist), Robert Sheehan (Misfits) and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones) all join its stellar international cast. The parasite threat from season one has gone, but the residents are still fleeing the Arctic town in droves.

Cut off from the mainland, those who remain in Fortitude battle on. However, in the wilderness, nature is growing restless and unpredictable. When the sky turns red, locals fear it is a bad omen for the town. Having disappeared after shooting Elena, Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) is presumed dead. Vincent (Luke Treadaway) remains traumatised by his attack and Hildur (Sofie Grabol) struggles to hold on to her marriage, and her office.

Eric (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) fails to step into Dan's shoes, leaving Ingrid and Petra to police a fragile community. New faces are pulled into Fortitude's vortex, including Ingrid's stepfather Michael (Quaid). A fisherman, he is desperate to raise funds to buy treatment for his dying wife, and desperate times call for desperate measures. At the research centre, ambitious newcomer Dr. Surinder Khatri (Nagra) spots an opportunity that encourages her to push both medical and ethical boundaries.

Then, a horrendous death rocks Fortitude. What looks like a careless accident involving a snowplough turns out to be a barbaric murder. As the police team investigate, a strange new figure appears hell-bent on destroying an evil spirit he believes has descended upon Fortitude and its inhabitants. There's a demon amongst the herd and it has to be stopped, no matter what the consequences...

What convinced you to join Fortitude for season two?

Season one. It was a very easy yes to begin with. I wanted to be a part of this cast and a part of this world. It’s the kind of show that I like to watch. 


What aspect of the story grabbed you?

It’s a great mystery, and also it utilises several genres – or you think it’s going to – in a way. It’s a slow burn in terms of what will be revealed – sometimes the audience knows before the characters. You get involved with the characters, and where their interior stories are going. 


Tell us a little about your character, Michael.

He’s a fisherman by trade. I guess he’s an ex-pat from the US. He’s been here for quite a long time, enough time to marry a girl and have kids. His wife is going through health problems which is life changing for everyone and it is his mission to save the love of his life.


You play a central role in this season. What was it like working with that cast in that location?

Everybody was already settled into their characters by the time I got there, and everyone was so welcoming. And working with Sofie [Gråbøl] was just extraordinary. She is such a great actress, so subtle. Working with an international cast like this was a unique thing for me as well.

You’ve had a long and storied career. How does the experience of filming Fortitude rank among your highlights?

Well certainly I feel like it’s the best thing I’ve done on television so far. It’s the most memorable and I had a really great time. I’m so proud to be a part of it.


The events of the new season may dictate this, but given the opportunity would you be open for another season of Fortitude?

I’d be willing to start next week in fact. Sky is really positioned very well, because one of the attractions of coming to do Fortitude was, as well as the great story and great script, to be in another market. It’s becoming more international in the States – not as much as it has been over here in Europe – but you have shows which are subtitled and yet a lot of people are watching these days. 

Fortitude. 9pm, Thursday, Sky Atlantic