The actress Patricia Clarkson stars inOctober Gale, a suspense film written and directed by the Montreal-born, Toronto-based filmmaker Ruba Nadda. She plays a Toronto doctor who retreats to her remote cottage to mourn her husband’s death – that is, until a stranger (Scott Speedman) washes ashore suffering from gunshot wounds. On the phone from New York, an upbeat Ms. Clarkson speaks about filming on the stormy islands of Georgian Bay and comes clean about a shower scene with her hunky co-star.

 

October Gale is set and was filmed in Georgian Bay. I understand it was a bit rough up there.

 

Yeah, it was quite a journey, this film. For me it was very emotionally and physically demanding. This time last year the lake was still frozen, and we needed to shoot. Your winter was very long last year. But it was great in a way. The cast and crew, we all had to fight the elements.

 

With the real-life battling of the elements, how did that affect what we see on the screen?

 

I think it added truth to the story. We were really in it. The big storm, that’s a real storm. Also, it’s so beautiful there and it’s easy to be lulled by the beauty. That’s what Ruba wanted to capture – the dichotomy of a postcard place juxtaposed with the danger.

 

You and Ruba first worked together on 2009’s Cairo Time, and besides October Gale, you two are together again for the upcoming HBO series Elisabeth. She’s now a good friend of yours, correct?

 

It’s just kismet in this business. Sometimes you meet a kindred spirit. I think she has a beautiful sense of style and content. And, just as women, we get on.

 

And she gets you into a shower scene with Scott Speedman.

 

C’mon! It doesn’t get any better. I asked her how many sit-ups I’d have to do. My character is a doctor who is healthy and athletic and a very physical woman. She’s fit and in good shape.

 

Could we say the same about you?

 

[Laughs.] For a brief moment in a shower scene, god, I hope so. But look, what woman my age would not want to be standing in the shower with Scott Speedman?

 

But he has his clothes on.

 

Well, whether or not he has his clothes on, he’s just a beautiful man. I don’t mean to objectify him, but I will just for a moment. He was just perfect for the part – lovely yet distant. He had all the qualities of the character. He brought a very dangerous quality at times and a beautiful vulnerability.

 

The film is usually described as a psychological thriller, but how would you characterize it yourself?

 

It has a thriller aspect, but I like to think of it as a thinking man or woman’s thriller. That’s the backdrop, but the overriding theme is loss. How do you survive a catastrophic loss? How do you move on from loss? Can you find new love, or new joy, in something unexpected?

 

So, something we can all relate to, as opposed to the suspense part of the story, right?

 

I think Ruba captured a sense of desperation and profound sadness. It’s not something remarkable that happens to the characters. It happens in these small shifts and subtleties, which Ruba captures so beautifully. It happens in life, how we rise up from the ashes.