An unexpected injury compelled Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott to contemplate her next move. “Initially, the pivot was from ballet to music,” she explains. “I played the piano and the violin; in fact, I was First Violin in the Kingston Youth Orchestra. I always sang too, and still do sometimes. But while the desire and passion to perform was always there, acting seemed like an unattainable dream.” That dream would be deferred for several decades, especially when her children’s health took priority. “By the time I was in my twenties, I was working in accountancy in the City of London. Fast forward twenty years and I have four children and the youngest, my son Gabriel, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two. That was the biggest readjustment in my life, because my life was turned upside down as much as his was. I figured this was the ‘now or never’ moment to pursue my dreams, at the same time as caring for him. So, I only started acting in my forties – I did dozens of short films and fringe theater productions and really paid my dues before I got into movies.”
By looking at Jeanine’s now robust career, it’s evident that that work paid off. Her new film, Renegades, features her (belatedly) squaring off against tough-as-nails army vets. “Renegades is an old-fashioned revenge movie about a former green beret (Lee Majors) who is murdered by an international drugs gang (lead by Louis Mandylor) after they threaten his daughter (Patsy Kensit). His old comrades (Nick Moran, Ian Ogilvy, Billy Murray, and Paul Barber) decide to take matters into their own hands and seek retribution – with a little help from underworld sage Sanchez (Danny Trejo). With the cops (me!) on their trail and the bodies mounting up, these renegades have to use every trick in their war hero playbook to survive.” Her character, Moore, gradually wises up to the fact that her ageism is stalling the case. “Moore is really interesting because she has a real journey – she starts off frustrated by the influence Louis Mandylor’s character has, but also dismisses the Renegades as suspects because of their age. The vigilante attacks look like the work of a small army, not four old veterans, but a call with her CIA ex Donovan (the wonderful Michael Paré) soon alerts her to just how special their ‘special skills’ are. Eventually, she ends up not just turning a blind eye to what they’re up to, but actually falling in with them.”
Jeanine respects Moore as a fellow powerhouse. “I think we can both be quite stubborn and strong willed, but also have a strong gut instinct for right and wrong. She’s very fit and physical – and I’ve always been very sporty – squash, golf, karate, shooting and go to the gym every day, so chasing criminals and firing guns was a dream job! ” Countless memories were born from her time with the cast. “It was so much fun – some like Lee Majors, Nick Moran and Billy Murray were long time friends and in the case of the latter two, we’d worked together before. All the actors were a joy though – I loved working with Patsy Kensit and Stephanie Beacham. They were both lovely…and Louis Mandylor, what a lovely man and what a great actor! We only had one scene together, but it was one of my favorites.” The Renegades have an unshakable brotherhood that she admires. “I think the interesting ‘serious’ thread underlying the plot is Nick Moran’s character’s PTSD, which is addressed in the group therapy sessions the veterans have. He’s kind of like Rambo in First Blood, a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. These new gangsters running the streets in the film are without remorse, killing like it is free, but when they poke the bear with the Renegades, they have no idea what they are unleashing. As the theme song says, these are battlefield legends, trained killers with no fear and nothing to lose. The only law they recognize is their own.”
In her private life, Jeanine is a fierce advocate for raising awareness of Type 1 diabetes. “The hardest thing is getting people to understand the difference between Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, and Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease that can happen to anyone at any age, any time, no matter how healthy they are (there are many elite sportsmen and women with Type 1 diabetes). In some ways, it is frustrating that they share a name as they are so, so different. In Type 1 diabetics, the pancreas, which is arguably the most important organ in the body after the brain, cannot work properly. When a Type 1 diabetic has a ‘hypo,’ it can be fatally dangerous. They have to constantly monitor their blood sugars and think about their condition all the time. They have to meticulously count their carbohydrate intake in order to inject the accurate insulin ratio several times a day. It is very much an invisible disability and something completely life changing – but still people think it can be fixed by taking tablets and not having sugar on your cornflakes. ” She wishes there was more public compassion for the disorder. “I’m amazed at how some people react to Type 1 diabetics testing their blood or injecting themselves with insulin in public. If they don’t do these simple, inconspicuous things, they will die. But some people act like they’re dancing on the table or spitting in their food. There’s so little education, which is incredibly frustrating – we don’t ask people to look away while our pancreas is at work digesting our food after a meal do we? No, because they can’t see it. It should be the same for the eight and a half million people in the world with Type 1 diabetes.” We can start gaining awareness by simply learning the aforementioned distinction. “If everyone could just be aware of the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, I think that would be revolutionary. to be honest. If you’re out and you see someone who looks drunk or out of it, especially when they shouldn’t be, check if they have diabetes with their friends. I was in the ER waiting room before Christmas at my local hospital and I saw an older man having a hypo and alerted the nurses. His caregiver hadn’t noticed, but when you live with it, you just know.” The next few months will be a welcome symphony of professional excitement for her. “After its successful release by Saban in the USA, Renegades will be released in the UK on January 30th by 101 Films. In February, I may go to the Berlin Film Market, though there’s a movie that keeps threatening to start that month, too! After that, I am going to be in a Western called Reckoning Day, which I’m very excited about, and a horror/thriller called Chase. Both will be directed by Brandon Slagle, and both are shaping up very nicely!” By being a renegade in traditional expectations, Jeanine has created a life she loves.
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Jeanine Sothcott Lays Down The Law in “Renegades.” Photo Credit: Shogun.