Wreck | Interview with Oscar Kennedy (Jamie)

How would you describe Jamie?

Jamie is a young guy from Sheffield, not very sure of himself, quite awkward and a bit timid. He’s been completely wrecked by the loss of his sister on a cruise ship called the Sacramentum and needs to find out what happened to her. He strikes up a deal with a guy called Cormac, who worked on the Sacramentum the previous year, so Jamie can take Cormac’s place on board this year. It doesn’t quite work out like that, although Cormac does end up being one of Jamie’s good friends.

What was Pippa doing on the Sacramentum?

She was one of the entertainers, putting on shows and little musical renditions – the complete opposite of anything that Jamie would find himself doing, because he’s one of the grunts who keeps things going on the ship, out of sight of the passengers.

Were brother and sister close?

Definitely. Pippa practically raised Jamie, because they lost their mum when they were quite young and their dad is an alcoholic who isn’t any help on the occasions he is around. She was a maternal figure for Jamie, which is why it hit him so hard.

Why doesn’t Jamie believe that Pippa took her own life?

Pippa is an outgoing, happy person. The official story is that she went overboard, but he saw no reason that she would want to do that. That’s not to say that someone who projects happiness outwardly doesn’t have demons, but he knows she would have called him or spoken to him before doing anything like that. Things just don’t add up for him.

Has he had support from anyone after her death?

Not initially. Their dad wasn’t around, so Jamie had to fend for himself for a time, trying to deal with the idea that his sister might have killed herself. When he gets on board, he does meet a couple of people who begin to see this strangeness in the story and try to help him. Vivian in particular is his rock – they begin to try and uncover this thing together.

Why do Jamie and Vivian bond so tightly?

They’ve had similar situations in that they’re either estranged from their parents or don’t have them in their lives. They’re both outcasts, but they fit in with each other and they’re there to escape the normality of life at home, whatever that means. 

Is Jamie a natural detective?

No, he’s just a young guy and a long way from being a pro, so he definitely needs help. He couldn’t do any of the stuff he does without the help of Vivian and Cormac. 

Did you have your own theories about the identity of the killer?

It was something we were talking about, because I hadn’t seen the last two episodes when I got the part. We were hearing whispers and everyone was coming up with wild theories. I don’t think anyone got it right, so to finally read the final episodes was crazy.

Did you and Jamie have much in common?

Yeah, I relate to his awkwardness. He’s in that period of trying to figure out who and what he is, and I understood that struggle to try to fit in when you feel like you don’t.

Do you have sea legs?

No, I’m definitely a landlubber. I’d never been on a cruise, just a ferry when I was young and that’s quite different. One of my biggest fears is being lost at sea: the thought of being in the open ocean absolutely freaks me out. I’m definitely happier with my feet on the ground.

Are you a fan of the genre?

I love TV and film that bring different genres together and makes them work, which Wreck definitely does. There’s never a moment where the comedy seems forced, or the horror is pushed too much. I’ve loved Shaun of the Dead for a long time and this is a similar blend – everything works in a perfect balance.

Are you easily scared?

I don’t like to admit it, but I think I am. I remember watching the trailer of The Grudge when I was about nine and having sleepless nights thinking this scary girl was going to come after me. Hopefully, the trailer for Wreck will haunt the dreams of loads of nine-year-olds!

Were you pranking each other on board?

There were a couple of times we managed to get each other. We had an interview day where we were let loose on set, which was this disused tyre factory in Northern Ireland, so a pretty dark, scary setting already. There were so many doors to hide behind, cubby holes and drawers to fit yourself in. There’s a morgue on the ship with drawers of dead bodies in, and while Thaddea (Graham, playing Vivian) and me were filming, I pulled the drawer open and Jodie (Tyack, playing Pippa) came out and screamed – that was pretty good. The outtakes for this show will be great…

Did you film on the water?

The majority was in a studio which was amazingly convincing. The cabin rooms looked exactly like the real thing and they created this incredible long corridor called the I-95, the highway for all the crew members to get to and from where they’re going. We did shoot some scenes on the deck of The Nomadic, which is moored right outside the Titanic Museum – it’s one of the ships that used to take people to and from ship to land.

What were your thoughts on seeing Quacky for the first time?

Terrifying, he’s a fun-looking character, but stare into his eyes long enough and you’ll freak out.

What was the most challenging aspect of the shoot?

It was the first time I’d ever been involved in such a long job from start to finish, over four months. It was quite daunting at first, but I got used to it. We’d all became so close knit by the end of it.

What’s next?

Nothing official, although I’d love another series of Wreck because I want to know what’s going to come out of Ryan’s brain next. 

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.