LONDON — Jenna Coleman won’t be getting a summer break this year — it’s fitting, as her latest film is all about a hellish holiday.
She stars in the Amazon Original “Wilderness,” set in Vancouver, and will be filming there until September, before moving on to New York, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon to wrap up shooting.
The series is based on the B.E. Jones thriller of the same name, which follows a couple as they go on a road trip through America’s national parks in a bid to save their marriage.
Coleman’s character Liv sets three challenges, which could kill her husband, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. It’s a “Gone Girl”-esque tale meets “Promising Young Woman.”
“There seems to be a very common thread of me playing murderers at the moment,” says Coleman, adding that the film “is actually an amazing examination of relationships. The whole thing is such an emotional trip. It’s how a relationship can go so badly wrong.”
In between takes, she’s put herself on a culture diet that includes reading the Booker Prize-winning “Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart, listening to British comedian Adam Buxton’s podcast and watching “Severance,” the sci-fi thriller TV series.
Last summer Coleman starred in the British crime drama “The Serpent,” which was based on the serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who preyed on young tourists traveling through Thailand. She played his delicately stylish (and criminal) counterpart, Marie-Andrée Leclerc.
It was her most critically acclaimed role to date, and a major pivot away from the world of period dramas and soap operas.
“I find when things are particularly dark you need to keep the levity in between scenes,” says Coleman, who also starred in the 2018 psychological drama “The Cry.” She described playing that role as an emotional marathon.
“Otherwise, I find it quite easy to leave [my characters] at the door,” she says.
In August, Coleman will join the DC Comics universe in Netflix’s fantasy series, “The Sandman,” based on Neil Gaiman’s New York Times bestselling graphic novels.
She will be playing dual characters: Johanna Constantine, an occult detective, and Lady Johanna Constantine, an 18th-century aristocrat. There have been many iterations of Constantine’s character, but Coleman drew inspiration from Keanu Reeves, who starred in the 2005 film “Constantine.”
Coleman said her research started with a deep dive into occults and Latin exorcism.
“In terms of female roles in that genre, this felt so unusual,” she says of what attracted her to the script, adding that her character is all about “deflection and humor, with a deep loneliness. What I really liked about her is that she has an emotional armor.”
Off set, life is more luxurious for Coleman, who says she loves a luxury label.
She’s an auction lover, often browsing The Saleroom, a live online auction site. “I’m always looking at vintage Chanel, and actually signing up for auctions so you can see what’s coming in. It’s such a good way to find really old, unusual stuff,” she says.
Her shopping habits over the years have changed, and right now she’s buying less with a more considered eye. “Instagram has actually got some really cool places, and Vestiaire Collective,” adds Coleman.
She favors designer labels including Khaite, Batsheva, Rejina Pyo, Nanushka and Lee Matthews. “I’m usually very into patterns, textures and colors, but I’m going a little bit more simple, very tailored simple cuts at the moment,” she says.
When Coleman finishes filming a project, she favors another sort of cut: her hair.
“It’s that really nice thing where you’re [saying] ‘I’m back to my own’ especially after a long job. That’s the usual process. Otherwise you dye your hair, and go on to the next job.”