Meet the Cast of Atlantic Crossing
Notice a few familiar faces on the Atlantic Crossing cast? Learn all about the multitalented stars of Atlantic Crossing, including Kyle MacLachlan, Sofia Helin, Daniel Betts, and more! Find out which star is a Tony Award winner, which star has taken on extra roles behind the camera, and which star you may recognize from days of MASTERPIECE past.
Character: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
On the Role: What really appealed to MacLachlan when considering the role was the depth of the characters, not just the plot. “The story appealed to me because I felt it was about the humans, about the people,” MacLachlan said. “The war is going on and there is all this strife and the drama of that, but it’s really about how the people deal with that and you are able to watch, as Sofia [Helin] said, a woman come into her own because of necessity.”
And, of course, he was intrigued by the mindset of his own character, an iconic figure in American history. “Meanwhile Roosevelt is battling with all sorts of things of his own, trying to encourage a population that at the time was isolationist, non-interventionist, still suffering from the history of World War I, and what that did to the country and not wanting to get involved. Roosevelt recognizing the danger that Hitler possessed, so he is kind of torn between: how do I bring my population along and educate them to the fact that we are going to need to get into this war, but at the same time keeping them calm: “we’re probably not going to be in the war, we’re probably going to be okay.”
Awards: Throughout his memorable career, MacLachlan has been nominated for over 20 TV industry awards, from Golden Globes, to Primetime Emmy Awards, to Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, and more. He won a 1991 Golden Globe Award for his starring role in Twin Peaks — a role he revived in 2017 and won a Saturn Award from The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
Fun Fact: You may know about the actor’s many screen roles, but did you also know he owns a winery? MacLachlan launched his Washington-based wine brand Pursued by Bear in 2005, and has continued the side passion ever since. And while the film world came to a standstill in 2020 due to the global pandemic, MacLachlan still had his wine work to focus on.
“There are a few actors that are working in a very strict capacity, but by and large, most of us are biding our time and waiting for production to resume at a level and intensity that it used to be,” he told Haute Living in one interview. “…in the meantime I’ve been focusing a lot of my attention on the wine. As a business, I found I could do this 24/7. It’s that engaging. You can involve yourself as little or as much as you want really. For a minimum amount, it’s about half of my time, actually. I’ve got five different wines now and they all need attention. The wine calendar, every month there’s something new you need to attend to.”
Character: Crown Princess Martha of Norway
On the Role: From the time she was approached for the project, Swedish actress Helin admitted that she her interest was piqued by the little known and courageous story of Martha “I would characterize her as a warm-hearted and very brave woman,” Helin said. “She was a true hero, she made a huge difference, but never demanded any credit for her struggle. Instead, she left the glory to bigger egos.”
Martha’s little known story was one Helin, and the entire crew, wanted to make known. “She had to develop from a passive figure to an active person, who worked politically for her country and who was in a dilemma whether to use someone’s feelings or whether to save her country.”
Awards: Helin won two awards in 2014 for her role in the television series The Bridge — the Danish Film Academy’s Robert Award for Best Actress in a Leading Television Role, and the Swedish television Kristallen Award for Female Actor of the Year.
Did You Know?: When she was 24, the star was involved in a terrible cycling accident that left her with a number of noticeable scars, including one above her lip. Helin’s first thought post-accident was that her career was over.
“At first I couldn’t even be grateful I had survived the accident, because I was so upset,” she told The Guardian in a 2012 interview. “But it gave me more confidence in the end, because I thought, ‘OK, I have a scar, but maybe I have something more to me than the way I look.’” Her fears were misplaced — within a year, she’d secured a spot in a prestigious acting course that set her on her path.
Not only that, but the accident didn’t deter her from her love for cycling, which she said makes her “feel free”.
“[The scar] shows who I am,” she continued. “I am not a calm, happy person. I am complicated.”
Character: Prince Olav of Norway (later Olav V, King of Norway)
The Role: Crown Prince Olav, son of King Haakon and born in 1903, married his only wife Princess Märtha in 1929. When Nazi Germany invaded and the government was forced to travel to London, Olav hoped to stay behind with the troops and fight on the front lines alongside them. Eventually he was persuaded otherwise and stayed at his father’s side.
After his father’s death in 1957, Olav became King until his own passing in 1991. He was voted Norwegian of the Century in 2005, and during his regency he was known as the “People’s King” (or, rather, “Folkekongen”) due to his outstanding and down to earth approach as a monarch.
Awards: In 2019, Santelmann won a number of awards for his role in the Norwegian film Mordene i Kongo (The Congo Murders).
Did You Know?: In addition to his onscreen work, Santelmann has also been known for his stage work since graduating from The Oslo National Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2006. He appeared in such productions as The Castle, Nora, The Good Person of Szechwan, and more.
Harriet Sansom Harris
Character: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
The Role: Known best as “First Lady of the World” because of her human rights achievements, Eleanor Roosevelt was the longest-serving First Lady in American history. Her involvements in politics forever shaped the role of the First Lady, mainly because of her outspokenness — which made her controversial at the time. Her platonic marriage to FDR, the rumors about her sexual orientation, and the fact that she had her own apartment in New York swirled during her lifetime, all of which played a part in her much talked about image, but overall, she’s regarded as one of the most esteemed First Ladies in American history.
Did You Know?: On top of her busy onscreen career, Sansom Harris has also made a name for herself on the stage, and won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical in 2002 for her performance as Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Character: Missy LeHand, private secretary to FDR
The Role: Missy LeHand served as private secretary to President Roosevelt, and according to biographer Kathryn Smith, eventually served as Chief of Staff in all ways but in name. LeHand worked with Roosevelt (and closely with his family) as far back as his vice presidential campaign in 1920, and worked alongside him throughout the rest of her career. The nature of their relationship has long been debated, but leaves many wondering just how intimate the two really were…
Did You Know?: Wondering if you’ve seen Russell in a popular MASTERPIECE series before? You’d be correct! Fans may recognize Russell as Lady Shelton from 2015’s Wolf Hall.
Character: Harry Hopkins, United States Secretary of Commerce and advisor to President Roosevelt
The Role: Hopkins was known to be one of FDR’s closest advisors on foreign policy. During the war, he served as chief emissary to Winston Churchill for FDR, and assisted in assessing the British situation regarding the Second World War.
Did You Know?: Betts hasn’t only made a career in front of the camera and on the stage — he also cofounded the theatre company Cocentric Circles with director Christopher Fettes.