‘Irena’s Vow’ Interview: Sophie Nélisse Could “Feel The Ramifications Of War’ While Filming On The Polish-Ukrainian Border

Actor Sophie Nélisse may have achieved notoriety as the unhinged and traumatized Shauna on Showtime’s twisted mystery series, Yellowjackets, about a soccer team stranded in the wilderness and the impact that that trauma has on their adult lives. She now stars in Irena’s Vow which chronicles the true story of a nurse-turned housekeeper, who ends up harboring and liberating Jews during the Holocaust in her Nazi employer’s home.

The film’s connections to current world events were not lost on Nélisse who filmed Irena’s Vow on the Polish/Ukrainian border and shared a hotel with many refugees and soldiers. “You could sense this scaredness in the air,” she said to me in our interview, adding that filming in the same country as where Irena Gut worked added a second additional layer of meaning to the production.

Joining her onscreen is Dougray Scott as her Nazi employer. Despite the difficult subject matter, Nélisse says she still tried to keep it light on set, playing pranks on the classically trained actor and hanging out with director Louise Archambault on the weekends. Between Irena’s Vow and Yellowjackets, the 24-year-old actress is gaining a reputation for playing survivors, but you may be surprised on what she wants to do next.

Listen or watch my interview below and watch Irena’s Vow. 

A D.C area native, Cortland has been interested in media since birth. Taking film classes in high school and watching the classics with family instilled a love of film in Cortland’s formative years. Before graduating with a degree in English and minoring in Film Study from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Cortland ran the college’s radio station, where she frequently reviewed films on air. She then wrote for another D.C area publication before landing at Punch Drunk Critics. Aside from writing and interviewing, she enjoys podcasts, knitting, and talking about representation in media.