NEW! Anya Taylor-Joy ('Thoroughbreds')
'Ode to The Joy's of Life'
The 21-year-old actor Anya Taylor-Joy is quickly carving out a niche for playing strong-willed women, in dark thrillers like The Witch and Split, but her latest film, pitch-black comedy 'Thoroughbreds', might be her darkest yet.
Taylor-Joy rose to prominence with the role of Thomasin in Robert Eggers' horror film The Witch that premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2015 but had a wide release in 2016.
In 2016, Taylor-Joy starred in the science-fiction-horror film, Morgan, directed by Luke Scott which was released on 2 September 2016.
Also that year, she starred in Vikram Gandhi's film Barry, which focused on a young Barack Obama in 1981 New York City. Taylor-Joy played one of Obama's close friends.
She then headlined the horror-thriller film Split in 2017, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, as a girl named Casey Cooke abducted by a mysterious man with split personalities. In 2019, she will reprise her role as Casey Cooke in the film Glass.
Taylor-Joy is also attached to star in Nosferatu, a remake of the film of the same name, to be directed by Eggers in her second collaboration with him and will star in The Sea Change.
She was also the lead actress in the music video for Skrillex's remix of GTA's song Red Lips and has been nominated for the 2017 BAFTA Rising Star Award.
Itís interesting that youíre at an early stage in your career and youíve stayed within such dark territory from The Witch to Split to The Miniaturist and now 'Thoroughbreds'. Have you always been more attracted to fiction that focuses on darker issues?
"Movies-wise, Iíd love to be able to say that Iíve thought about it and I had a whole trajectory planned, but I didnít. I was just connected to my characters and they happened to inhabit very dark worlds. Fiction-wise, though, and in my own self, I love fairy tales, the Hans Christian Andersen ones. I think thereís such a humanity in darkness and pain."
"In terms of working in movies, itís really fun to play out dark stuff because you get to feel out the extent of your emotions and your brackets of whatís acceptable are so much wider in those types of films so itís fun to play."
The film features one of Anton Yelchinís final performances. What are your memories of working with him?
"Anton and I are great friends. Weíre all people at the end of the day, so itís always difficult to lose someone who means so much to you, but whatís really wonderful about being able to talk about him in the film is that from one point of view, while itís hard to talk about him as a person, as an artist heís so unique and so incredible."
"He was fascinating to watch and to work with and thereís this unanimous love for him, every single screening we go to, he has touched and affected so many different people."
In the film we have two young female characters who donít really have much use for the men around them and they remain firmly in control of their lives. As a 21-year-old female actor in Hollywood, I imagine youíve been offered a lot of thankless daughter and girlfriend roles with far less agency
"Iíve been very lucky, actually, in terms of the team that I have around me, who have filtered out most of those roles. Most of the women not only that Iíve been lucky enough to play but that Iíve read are quite complex, messy, interesting human beings Ė but then again I shouldnít be the anomaly here, I should be the norm."
"Definitely, whenever Iíve got a girlfriend role, Iíve sent it back being like ĎEh? Why?í Iím excited for this era of women that we are stepping into right now where people understand that everyoneís a person and theyíve all got a lot more going on underneath the surface than you might originally think."
You mentioned this new era that weíre now in and even within the four years that youíve been working, what have been your experiences of discrimination?
"Iíve seen very casual sexism thatís interesting because the men that Iíve been lucky enough to work with and adore as friends, theyíve never treated me as anything different, theyíve always treated me as a co-collaborator. But randomly certain comments will come in and Iíll think, ĎYou donít know any better, you donít understand what youíre putting on me.í"
"Itís the way that society has taught you about how itís acceptable to talk to your opposite gender. So itís been interesting watching people become aware of how casual sexism really does affect somebody. Itís not just men: itís also women understanding that they donít have to put up with it and instead saying, ĎThatís not cool, thatís not an acceptable way to talk and this is how itís made me feel.í"
"If youíre being honest about it then Iíve been lucky and the men I have come into contact with have been instantly apologetic and will say ĎIíve never even thought about it in that way.í"
Youíve said before that fame isnít really of interest to you, but as someone whoís about to star in the X-Men spin-off The New Mutants, doesnít the thought of the inevitable rise in status intimidate you?
"Despite the fact that Iím a horrific overthinker, when Iím working Iím so focused on the character and the job at hand that the only time that Iíve ever really thought about it is when I get asked. Iíve always felt that Iíve been very lucky that Iíve been acting for four years and I havenít really had any time off."
"Iíve just gone from film to film to film. Iím really glad that things have worked out that way for me because I donít have time to think about it. Iíve only got time to focus on what Iím supposed to be doing at that current moment in time and hopefully if itís going to happen itís going to sneak up on me and before I know it, my lifeís changed and I have to adapt rather than having the horrible fear of becoming less anonymous."
"Thereís a beauty in being anonymous, thereís a reason why weíre actors, weíre playing other people so I think the idea of someone being interested in me, Iím quite a private person, is a bit daunting but I try not to think about it."
Do you think this is why you work so much, to avoid having all that excess time to think about it all?
"Ah, youíve hit very close to home. When X-Men got pushed [the release was recently delayed by almost a year], there was definitely a moment of fear just when I thought, ĎOh my goodness, I now have all this time to think about it,í when it felt like it was a running train and I was just going to jump on it and it was gonna be whatever it was going to be."
"Iíve hopefully matured and just thought, you know what: life is going to throw at me whatever itís going to throw at me, and so Iíd have to just enjoy. It sounds so trite and over-Instagrammed but be in the present, be in the moment and really relish it Ė because if you live too much in the future youíre just going to drive yourself mad."
Youíve also just wrapped Glass, the film that will act as a Split and Unbreakable sequel. I imagine youíre sworn to secrecy given that itís an M. Night Shyamalan film, but what can you tell us without getting into trouble?
"I canít tell you very much plot-wise, but I can tell you what the ambience on set was which, by the way, what an incredible set to be a part of. I sort of woke up, because Iíve been working so hardcore, I just suddenly woke up from a dream and I was at a table with Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, James McAvoy and Samuel L Jackson, and I was like, ĎOh my God, what am I doing at this table?í Everybody is so aware of how special and unique this project us. I mean, the manís been working on it for 17 years."
And can we expect more within this newly crafted universe?
"There is no point trying to guess what M. Night Shyamalan is going to do. He will outsmart you, he will do something completely unexpected and thatís exactly how I like it. So actually, with Night, itís one of the few situations where I donít overthink because I just let him go for it."
'Thoroughbreds' - Official Trailer