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Exclusive: Josephine Jobert reveals details for Death in Paradise season 11 - including Florence's future with Neville
It sounds like Florence has a major storyline coming her way
We sat down to chat with Josephine Jobert, who plays DS Florence Cassell, about all things season 11
Josephine Jobert is a woman of mystery! While enjoying her much-deserved break from filming Death in Paradise on holiday with pals in Portugal, the star chatted to us about all things season 11, while keeping some much-anticipated plot details close to her chest. However, we did manage to find out plenty about what to expect from DS Florence Cassell in the new series, including the future of her relationship with Neville…
MORE: Josephine Jobert shares nostalgic throwback with former Death in Paradise co-star
Hi Josephine, we see you're in Portugal! What brought you there?
I spent the new year with some friends in Portugal! I did it to escape and to see some sun and just relax from Paris, which is a crazy city. It is sunny and the people here are adorable, honestly, so nice. It's just the perfect place to be honest.
WATCH: Neville tries to tell Florence how he feels in the Christmas special
How was your Christmas and New Year?
I had COVID for Christmas. I was supposed to spend Christmas with my mum. We had booked like a lovely hotel in Paris and then boom, COVID. But I was okay. My mum is okay so nothing dramatic. It was just a bit upsetting to stay home. But I had a lovely Christmas anyway.
Josephine is our Spotlight cover star
Everyone loved the Death in Paradise Christmas Special, and already we're being treated to season 11! The show really is a national treasure at this point. What do you think it is about the show that people just can't enough of?
It's because it's a good show! I mean, it's a really good show. It's a family show. Everybody can watch it together, kids, grandparents, I receive a lot of videos of people with their kids dancing to the music when the show starts. It's lovely. Of course, it's about people killing each other. But it's not violent, there is no blood, there're no fight scenes. It's funny too, it really mixes everything all together.
Season 11 is finally here
You have the police, you have the friendships, you have the family, you have the island. It's also a challenge for people who watch the show to find out who did it and how they did it and why they did it. It's like a game. It's like they're looking for the murderer with us.
Speaking of friendships…
I see what you did there!
Neville and Florence's relationship has been teased for a while now. What was your reaction to its direction in season 11?
I wasn't surprised because I know Florence, which is a bit weird to say. I'm not surprised by the way she reacts. There's a part of me that wishes they can get together because they really would be so cute together. But there's another part of me that thinks, 'Is it too soon? Is it going to ruin their relationship?' They're colleagues, they're friends, so if they become lovers maybe it's going to be too much. It's tricky. I cannot tell you what's going to happen for sure. It's on the very tiny wire between relationship and friendship. But we have beautiful scenes together.
Will Floreville finally happen?
I do love the interaction between your characters.
She loves him for sure. But does she love him? Is it friendship or more than that? Maybe both? I don't know. Well, I do know. But I cannot tell you! As for Catherine, she's desperate for them to get together. She's trying very hard.
Without giving anything away, there's a big storyline coming up for Florence, which is so exciting. Can you tell us anything about it? What was your reaction to finding out what she was going to get up to?
I was really happy about her storyline, because it's different. I was also happy because I get to go undercover. It was a chance for me to work with more of the guest stars, because normally I'm with the main cast.
I met two beautiful ladies, they are amazing and I had the best time with them. And I cannot wait for people to see them in episode four. They made my day in my experience. It's a very beautiful episode. I had to change my look for the storyline too, so that was really, really fun to work out the look we wanted to get for Florence.
Catherine is also Team Floreville!
I'm completely different, you can recognise me, but I'm very different from what I'm used to looking like! So I'm really excited about this episode because there is a tension all the way through the episode. I think people are going to be super excited about it.
I wanted to ask if there is a going to be a moment where the Twittersphere just explodes?!
It's really frustrating. I want to tell you everything but it would ruin the whole thing so I can't!
It looks like Florence is going to have to address some of the ghosts in her past after losing her fiancé, what did you make of that?
She lost her fiancé. He was the love of her life so we can't just forget about it and move on. So I was really happy that she was still struggling with that because losing someone is so difficult. I've never really experienced it. I lost my grandmother, and it was really difficult - but for Florence it was her fiancé, the person she loves, so I was really happy that we were still talking about this, she's still struggling with death. There is a lovely scene with Selwyn and Florence. I won't spoil the scene but basically he tries to tell her that it's okay to move on.
The team is back to investigate more murders
He understands that the ghosts from the past have a hold on her and it's difficult for her. Moving on is not forgetting about the person you lost. He's like, 'I know you're a good cop. I believe you. Take a moment, think about it. No pressure, but I know you can do it and it's okay. It's okay.' It's a lovely scene.
And Don... I love Don. Don is the Don! He's the boss, for sure. He's great. It's a beautiful scene and I think people will be emotional about this.
MORE: Death in Paradise star Josephine Jobert pokes fun at her role as Florence Cassell
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You said you were away from the main cast for a lot of filming, what was that like?
I was excited! It was different, and I did miss them a lot. On the call sheet, I was like, 'Oh they have a scene together but I'm not in it, okay!' I was torn!
Josephine plays Florence Cassell
It was the first year without Tobi Bakare, did you miss him?
I get emotional every time I talk about it, I could cry right now, it's so ridiculous! When Tobi left, we had a drink to tell him goodbye and I couldn't stop crying. We arrived on the show together and he's like a brother to me. He's the most adorable person, he cares about people, he's really nice, he's extremely funny. He's just perfect. Seeing him leave, I was like, 'What am I going to do?' I felt abandoned!
Tobi left the show in season ten
But I understood. He has a family and kids. He's been on the show for so long, he had to move on and that's all right, it's part of the process. But this year... yeah, missed him a lot. It was different on set without him. I keep on sending him messages, to see how he's doing. I'm like, 'Tobi, I miss you! Please come back.' Especially his last series, he was so good. His character got more confident.
The Tobi I met when we started and the Tobi a few years ago is a different person and a better person. Tobi is like a brother. It's difficult for me to talk about it, it's crazy. Sometimes you just get attached to someone, we had a connection. He's Tobi! Nothing more to say.
Maybe he'll be back next series!
I would really love that.
Six months filming away from your family must be tough. How do you find that? It's like a dream job but it must be a big undertaking.
I'm used to it because I started filming away from everything when I was 20. My first big show in France, for example, was filmed in New Caledonia. We were leaving for three or four months, but I was 20. At 20 you're like, 'I want freedom, I want to get away from everything', but I'm 36 now, almost 37. Things change for sure. It's a dream because filming in Guadeloupe, it's amazing. The sceneries, the people, the vibe, the crew, it's like a family.
Season 11's main cast
During the weekends, we'll go and see waterfalls, swim in the sea, eat in good restaurants, and the weather is so lovely. But the other thing is, I'm away from my friends and my family for so long. Five months! It's almost half a year. I'm used to it, but it's getting more and more difficult and that was one of the reasons why I left in series eight, one of the reasons, because it was getting more and more difficult for me to be away from my home for so long.
It's like a 50/50, but I cannot complain. It's a beautiful show, I'm proud of being part of the show. It was a dream for me to have a part in a series in English. It's a big thing for us in France! It's not easy. But it's impossible for us to complain, because we are very, very blessed and very, very lucky, to be part of this big adventure.
Josephine has a very exciting storyline for season 11
Are there any other projects that you'd love to do?
I would like to do an action movie, like Lara Croft, James Bond, something that requires preparation like training before filming, when you learn new skills, to fight martial arts or something. That would be my dream job.
I know from Instagram that you're seriously into fitness! What is it about it that you love so much?
What I like about this is that sometimes you're like, 'I don't want to go I'm tired,' but you never regret it. Once you've done your training, you never think, 'I shouldn't have done it, it was very difficult.' You always feel good. It's good for your body, it's good for your mind. When I'm training I don't think about anything else. It's like my brain shuts down. I'm really focused on what I'm doing and I'm doing boxing too. And I love it! It's really intense.
Josephine regularly posts her workouts on Instagram
In this industry, especially for women, we are more judged on how we look. And it's for me to feel good. In Death in Paradise, for example, even if we film a lot, and we work, so much, and the gym is 45 minutes to one hour from where we stay, I drive to the gym many times a week, just to stay fit because Florence is wearing shorts, we see her body and I want to look good! She's a cop and the character has to be fit. It's a professional and personal process for me to train and it's good for your mind and your body. And it's very addictive. It's a good addiction!
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Do any of your fellow cast members join you?
Shantol! Oh my gosh, she's a beast! She's so tiny! When she found out that I was training she was like, 'I want to come with you.' She was even more excited about this than I was. She'd be like, 'Can we go training today?' And I'd be like, 'Oh, Shanty please we went yesterday!' So we used to go to the gym together a lot.
Shantol Jackson is the new cast member this year. How was it welcoming her onto the show?
I love her! Shantol is like the sister I never had. She's a beautiful person, beautiful human being. She's extremely talented. It's funny, so when we arrived in Guadeloupe, I sent her a message because I know what it's like to be the new guy or the new girl on the team. It's difficult when you join a show that's been around for years, and everybody knows each other.
Shontal plays St Marie police's newest sergeant
I've been through this so every time there's a new actor, I like to send him or her a welcome message. On the first day she was really quiet and she was reading her book and wasn't really talking to people because she was shy. It can be a big thing. I think it was her first big role in the big series. Then day after day I discovered the real Shantol and she is just crazy. She is hilarious. I love her honestly and I cannot wait for people to see her on screen because she's perfect.
You've have some time now before you return to filming - that is - if you are returning for season 12?
Hmmm, I like to keep that a secret!
What else do you have planned for your break?
I've been writing with my mother. We're working on three projects at the same time. I love to write and I'd like to produce, I'm really interested in it, and my mum is amazing, she has so many brilliant ideas.
Will you be tuning in for the new episodes?
Is your mum a writer?
She's a writer, she's a director, she's been an actress, singer, dancer. Her CV... I'm like, 'Mum, this is a lie. You haven't done all of this. It's impossible!' She's extremely talented. Writing with another person can be very difficult, you have to be really connected. We're having so much fun. We wrote a short movie, we are working on the series, and we have a big blockbuster movie! Like Pirates of the Caribbean kind of vibe. No limits! I'm like, 'Mum, this is gonna cost a lot of money,' and she's like, 'Just write it and we'll see! Write the movie, and we'll find the money later!'
And will you be starring in every project?
Of course! [Laughs] Maybe not all of them but those three, yes. But we have a lot of ideas. I might not be in it because I like to discover new talents. That's one of the things I like to do, so we'll see. We're just enjoying our time writing together. I'm really motivated and it's something I really love to do.
The series is romantic comedy, suspense, and it happens in Paris and London, between the two cities. It has very strong female characters. As for the short movie, I can't say much without spoiling it. It's not horror. It's not ghosts, but it's that kind of vibe! And the blockbuster one has to remain secret.
Death in Paradise returns on BBC One at on Friday 7 January at 9pm
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