You might recognise rising sci-fi star Clara Rugaard from her leading role as Daughter in Netflix’s hit thriller, I Am Mother - now, the Danish actress is again taking the lead in Sky TV’s newest thriller series, The Rising. She plays Neve Kelly, who has died but continues to exist in a liminal purgatory space - when she discovers that she was murdered it is up to her to solve the mystery of her own death. Rugaard’s knack for portraying an autonomous, sharp-witted protagonist who must rely on her own smarts to save herself is unrivalled, and especially refreshing when we are all so used to the trope of “helpless woman saved by macho knight in shining armour” (and that’s when there is a woman in the lead at all - “Superpowering Women” concluded that 97 percent of the last 10 years’ sci-fi films were helmed by men.) To watch Clara’s characters, whether in I Am Mother, The Rising, or even the upcoming Press Play (where she is able to travel through time and prevent the death of her lover) feels empowering as a woman, and like an important turning point in Hollywood. Speaking to Clara, it soon becomes clear that these castings are not a coincidence. She is thoughtful, determined, and unafraid to get her hands dirty - just ask her about her motorcycle and diving stunts in The Rising.
“I love that I get to portray such strong female characters. Specifically in The Rising, one of the reasons I wanted to jump on board this project so badly was the fact that we get to subvert the crime genre, and the “dead girl story”. For once, the victim is empowered and given the agency to write her own narrative, be the hero of her own story and right the injustice that's been done. I think that's incredibly powerful, and just a great overall message for women.”
Rollacoaster caught up with the actress to discuss her career trajectory, what it was like filming The Rising, and what’s next for her.