BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You'd never guess by looking at Rebecca Ferguson, who plays the queen of England in Starz's The White Queen, that she was born and raised in Sweden.
Her father is a Swedish lawyer and her mother a one-time dancer from Britain. So Ferguson grew up speaking both languages.
It's also surprising that she filmed The White Queen in Belgium, just finished a TV movie in Rome and is now living in Budapest. None of that fazes her except the challenge of mixing work with family. She has a son, Isac, 6, with her longtime sweetheart.
Throwing up her hands, she says, "I was stationed in Rome doing a show that might be green-lit. If it is, then that might mean a move to London. This is work and you think, 'I'm so blessed, so happy, we're all grateful' — all of that. And the other side is how do you do this? ... There's only been eight months of this — I'm still going, 'Can we get a structure? Can we organize this somehow? Can Isac go to school and have a secure, feet-on-the-ground, his own structure so that I'm not apart from him? Can I bring him into my life? Do I take him with me and send him to an international baccalaureate school? How do you do this?'"
While she enjoys being spontaneous with her son — "a picnic on the bed or even under the bed" — she also craves structure. "The more scheduled I am, the more organized I am, the more free I feel," she says. "It's a very weird paradox. If I know what I'm doing back-to-back, I can just relax because it's all taken care of."
Ferguson has been flying at this pace since she was 15, when someone asked her to audition for a Swedish soap opera.
"I said no in the beginning because I was sort of a clown in class, at the same time, it's one thing to ask for attention and receive it. When you receive attention when you haven't asked for it, was something I couldn't really handle. I did go for the casting. And it worked, and I found my element. And it was a wonderful sort of escapism into not taking the consequences of actions."
But the consequences of becoming a mother were another matter. "The emotional roller coaster you go through raising them," says Ferguson, 29. "A lot of people have five. I have one.
"It's an enormous job, very challenging job. For me it was a big deal, but at the same time I could've been happy not having a child. Some people need a child. I wasn't really sure if I wanted a child. I didn't really change my world for my child. My child was brought into my world."
She was teaching the Argentine tango at the time.
"My partner was an Argentinean tango dancer as well. And we would dance until I was literally nine months pregnant. Then Isac came, and I would bring him to the tango lessons, and other people would hold him, and I would dance and teach and take him away and breast-feed him. I brought him into my life. And when I travel, I bring him if he wants to. We talk; he's involved in my life."
Her partner, whom she doesn't name, is a jack-of-all-trades, she says. "A carpenter, therapist, masseur, chef, shoemaker — what is he not? He does the cooking. I do the dishes; I love washing up."
He sometimes travels with her on her assignments.
"We're still juggling with that because we don't just give up our lives," she said. "He doesn't work just because he has to. He loves his work, whatever that may be at the time. We're constantly playing a puzzle. We'll have Sunday night talks: 'What is your schedule?' 'What is yours?' It's not just fluffy, pink clouds and silver linings. It's work."
While not defining her hardships, she does confess, "I've had big things happen to me. Big things that when I look at them have made me very strong and also very fragile in many ways. It has made me accept that we are fragile, and that is OK."
'The White Queen'
9 p.m. Saturdays on Starz