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News that filming has begun on season five of fan favorite crime drama Luther was made doubly exciting when we heard rumors that Ruth Wilson will return as Alice. We became extra optimistic that this wasn’t just baseless gossip when snaps emerged of the actress in character alongside Idris Elba, and Wilson hinted in a chat with Empire Podcast that Alice “may be” back — or it “might be” a dream sequence.

But even if we don’t get another blast of Alice, there’s plenty more of Wilson to look forward to. Just this year, there’s the mystery-thriller Dark River (June 29), the horror film The Little Stranger (August 31), plus she’s completed filming on the dramatic miniseries Mrs. Wilson (also predicted to come out later this year) in which she plays her own grandmother.

And, as you know, she reprised the Golden Globe-winning role of Alison Bailey for the fourth season of The Affair, which premiered this month (June 12).

Of course, we’d love it if Alice — real or imagined — was to pop back up on Luther.

But rather than dwelling on “Will she or won’t she?” let’s focus on what we do know — and love — about the actress herself.

1. She Has Killer Instincts

It’s as if DCI Luther’s arch nemesis Alice Morgan was written for Wilson. She clearly understands the inner workings of the serial killer turned Luther supporter, telling Vulture back in 2013, “She’s a child, a clown, nasty, psycho — you can kind of play anything you want and get away with it.” We like how she played it, and wouldn’t want it any other way. 

2. She Has a Kind Heart

While she plays a baddie in Luther, in real life Wilson is a good Samaritan. In 2017, she traveled to Rwanda, Africa, with the Save the Children charitable group, where she talked to, played with, and provided support to children and teens who fled their homes due to abuse and poverty. Her presence lifted spirits and brought attention to the children’s urgent plight. Wilson documented her experiences with this photo diary, published by Harper’s Bazaar. 

3. She Digs Deep

There’s a reason Wilson plays difficult roles like Alice, and Jane Eyre in the 2006 BBC miniseries, so well: She does her research. Back in 2011, she talked to The Guardian about how she approaches a part, saying, “I’m drawn to damaged, complicated characters… What really excites me is the unknown, and getting to grips with something you have no idea about.” For some, that might be all too daunting, so we applaud Wilson’s ability to embrace the unfamiliar. 

4. She Believes in Equal Sex Scenes

In a 2015 interview with The Edit, Wilson talked about how male and female nudity on-screen is disproportionate. She didn’t hold back, saying, “I have a big concern about how women are treated in the industry generally, and how they have to provide the titillation because penises can’t be seen on screen but breasts can.” She said for women to undress and men stay covered up is “unnecessary and unfair,” and went on to offer up a way to help balance things up: “So I kept insisting, ‘Why have I always got to do the orgasm face? There should be a male orgasm face.’” This got tongues wagging and media outlets like Salon and SheKnows praising her for her candidness.

5. She Likes to Keep Busy 

You’d think a thriving TV and film career would be commitment enough, but not for Wilson. When her hit TV show The Affair went on hiatus in 2015, Wilson went to Broadway, making her debut opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Constellations. She talked to the L.A. Times about her love for the theater, saying, “It’s where I’m most free as an actor.” While new to Broadway, she wasn’t new to the stage having already won two Olivier Awards. In 2009 she won Best Supporting Actress for A Streetcar Named Desire and Best Actress in 2011 for Anna Christie.

6. She’s Full of Surprises 

In an interview with The Guardian, Wilson said, “People know me as my characters. They don’t know me.” That’s why we rely on chat show hosts to help actors bring out their real selves. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Wilson made a revelation that stopped us in our tracks: “I think I’m quite evil.” Waitaminute, waitaminute, we thought Wilson wanted us to separate her from the dark characters she’s known for… Possibly you should watch the (totally hilarious) interview for yourself. 

7. She was a Feisty Kid 

In a sit-down interview for her film Dark River, released later this month (June 29), Wilson talks about growing up with three brothers. “Rivalry or not, we were just sort of fighting. I mean the fight scenes [in Dark River], I was like, ‘Oh. My. God. This is just like me as a kid.'” In the above clip she describes how she got herself out of sticky sibling situations. She was definitely able to hold her own growing up with three rough and tumble brothers — possibly this contributed to the resilience we see in her as an actress today. 

8. She Pays Homage to Her Grandmother On-Screen

Speaking of family, Wilson is set to portray her own grandmother in a biopic miniseries appropriately titled, Mrs. Wilson, based on her grandmother’s memoir. In actual life, Mrs. Wilson’s husband suffered a heart attack and passed away in their flat. When going through his papers, she learned he was already married to another woman. She rung the woman to let the first wife know her husband had died, explaining her unsettling discovery and inviting her to the funeral. In the miniseries, the delivery of the news is switched around a bit, with the other wife coming to Mrs. Wilson’s home to tell her her husband has died. But it’s the same sentiment…

It doesn’t stop there: during WWII, her late husband worked as an MI6 agent and went on to publish 18 spy novels based on his experiences, unbeknownst to his families (it turned out he had four wives). Earlier this year, the actress talked about her family’s history on the BBC show This Morning: “It’s an extraordinary story and it keeps revealing itself. We still haven’t quite found the truth.”

Do you feel like you know Ruth Wilson beyond her characters now? 

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Filed Under: Ruth Wilson
By Brigid Brown