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Anya on Her Next Thriller, “Thoroughbred”

Anya talked with V Magazine about her new film Thoroughbred.

Anya Taylor-Joy on Her Next Thriller, and Why She Can’t Quit the Macabre

V caught up with the actress to talk about her next thriller, Thoroughbred.
For an actor, the biggest perk of working with a director who comes from a theater background is that there are usually rehearsals, a surprisingly rare practice on most shoots. And when Anya Taylor-Joy signed on for playwright Cory Finley’s Thoroughbred, a wicked dark comedy about two childhood friends who reunite with potentially deadly consequences, the first-time filmmaker took things a step further. “Cory, Olivia [Cooke], and I sat in a room over the course of two or three days,” the actress recalls. “And rather than focus on the script and the scenes directly, we fleshed out the relationship the characters had prior to this momentary snapshot that you get of them in the movie: what they experienced together, how they kind of grew apart.” All of that work increased the tension once the cameras started rolling. “The dialogue between these two women who are just continuously trying to usurp the other using just their words…It was just Olivia and I combating with each other verbally.”

With credits like The Witch, Morgan, and Split behind her, this new film is hardly the first time the actress has delved into suspenseful territory, but the projects are high caliber enough that she skirts the scream queen label. Her choices do beg the question, though: why all the scary stuff? “I guess I like people who have been outcast from society,” she muses. “I feel like everyone’s story deserves to be told [even if] it’s not the conventional one or the likable one. In Thoroughbred, Lily isn’t the easiest person to love, but I love her.”

Taylor-Joy feels that same affection for all of her characters. “The worst I had was with Thomasin for The Witch, because I didn’t know that [characters] were real for me yet,” she says. “So, when the movie ended, I was devastated and I couldn’t really figure out where that devastation was coming from. I missed spending time with her, and she was gone. But when I saw the movie, I realized that the character went on within it.” Never mind that Thomasin makes a deal with the devil at the end—it’s still a sweet sentiment.

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Nylon December/January 2017 Interview

Nylon December/January 2017 Interview

Success At Sundance And A Role In ‘Barry’ Are Just The Beginning For Anya Taylor-Joy

The 20-year-old actress discusses her latest projects

The following feature appears in the December/January 2017 issue of NYLON.

The first thing Anya Taylor-Joy wants to talk about is her dog. She brings up Kala, a big ball of black fluff, with puppyish enthusiasm herself, describing her as “the most ridiculous thing in the entire world” and “a teddy bear brought to life.” It’s a drizzly morning in West London, but inside this particular neighborhood café—with its bleached walls, mellow background music, and juice bar—the atmosphere is considerably sunnier. She barely sits down before pulling out her iPhone to show me a video. “You are going to have to deal with my cooing noises,” she says.

Fresh-faced and makeup-free, the incredibly busy 20-year-old actress looks reinvigorated after six days at home here in London. Born in Miami to a Spanish-English mother and an Argentinian-Scottish father, she is the youngest of six children, “the baby by a long way,” says Taylor-Joy, whose youngest sister is seven years older than her. Though her accent is as British as mine, her first language is Spanish, and she’s in the process of learning French. Growing up between England and Argentina, she’s been living “pretty much alone” in her childhood home in West London since dropping out of school at age 16 to pursue acting.

“When I say the past two years have been mad, it’s, like, legitimately mad,” she says of a schedule that includes six movies shot back-to-back following her breakout in Robert Eggers’s indie horror The Witch, which terrified and delighted audiences at Sundance earlier this year. Since then, she appeared as the titular character in the sci-fi thriller Morgan, and can be seen as Barack Obama’s sharp-witted college girlfriend in the Netflix biopic Barry, which premieres on December 16. But Taylor-Joy’s most visible role to date will come in January, as part of M. Night Shyamalan’s latest horror experiment, Split. In it, she stars alongside James McAvoy as Casey, a smart, steely heroine who, when abducted by McAvoy’s character Kevin—a sociopath with 23 competing personalities—must work with her two friends to outwit him. When asked what it is about the horror genre that draws her in, Taylor-Joy insists that neither Split nor The Witch nor Morgan are actually horror movies. They’re thrillers, she says, films that allow her to “really scream” and “exorcise a lot of feelings without becoming a psycho.”
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Anya Covers Hunger Magazine

Anya Covers Hunger Magazine

OUR ISSUE 11 COVER STAR ANYA TAYLOR-JOY ON HER FIRST LOVE AND FITTING IN

There’s being dedicated and there’s being dedicated. Anya Taylor-Joy is dedicated. Such is the staunchly committed work ethic of the 20-year-old actress that she’s not averse to filming “intense” scenes – involving hysteria, tears and tunnels – amid a rather serious bout of food poisoning. “I would be there doing the scene, fighting the urge to be so violently ill and then they would cut and I’d just go to the side and throw up a couple of times in a bucket,” she says, of a recent experience. But for her it’s all part of the job. “By the end of that day I went home and I was like, ‘What did I just do? That was insane’.” And she wouldn’t have it any other way: “But we got the shot.”

That work ethic is also the reason why the past two years have seen her fast-tracked to breakthrough actress status with the success of her role as Thomasin in The Witch, the supernatural horror that is both harrowing and beautifully bleak, directed by Robert Eggers. The eldest daughter in a devout Christian family who move to New England in the 1630s, Thomasin is blamed for the disappearance of her baby brother and the bewitching of her other younger brother. The Guardian praised Anya’s performance as Oscar-nominee-worthy, Vanity Fair described her as being “destined for big things”, and Variety singled her out as pretty much owning the whole film.

“MY FIRST LOVE IS NOT A BOY; IT’S ACTING,”

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