AN INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE COOKSON
By Crash redaction
British actress Sophie Cookson is certain to make a splash. Discovered in the dazzling Kingsman : The Secret Service, she now stars in the sequel, Kingsman : The Golden Circle which just came out in cinemas today. She is also on the small sceen opposite Naomi Watts and Karl Glusman in the acclaimed series Gypsy, which was written, directed and produced entirely by women…Discover or re-discover our interview with the actress, published in the latest Crash issue.
Tell us about yourself, where you come from, and your everyday life…
My name is Sophie Cookson and I’m from East Sussex, England. My everyday life in- volves no concrete routine, even when working. As someone who likes and needs a bit of structure that can be hard, but I also relish the freedom it gives me. One thing is certain though: no matter what time it starts, every day begins with lots of coffee!
How did you start acting and why?
I think I always liked telling stories as a child and getting immersed in a painting, a book, or a play. I was never particularly sure where best to invest that creative energy. Luckily I had several wonderful teachers who encouraged my acting and told me about the opportunities out there. I love the constant challenge that comes with acting, since there is no right answer. That freedom is both liberating and terrifying. I think that oral tradition of handing stories down to each other, in whatever way, is essential to our well-being. We have a social responsibility to reflect society and the world back at itself.
You studied at OSD. Does education re- present a big part of an actor’s skills?
For me it was an opportunity to immerse myself in the craft and take the time to learn about it in ways I could not have done alone. I think drama school is great in terms of learning discipline and finding out what ways you would potentially like to work in the future, but it’s not for everyone. I think the real education begins when you start working professionally, testing everything you know with much higher stakes.
Tell us about your upcoming projects. How was filming? And why did you choose to be a part of them?
Gypsy is set in modern day New York. Naomi Watts plays Jean, a therapist who ends up infiltrating the lives of her patients. One of her clients is my character Sidney’s ex- boyfriend. After hearing about me in therapy Jean then tracks me down pretending to be someone else and we end up in a rather dangerous cat and mouse game. Throughout the series we see Jean’s lies start to wreak havoc and become un- raveled. As soon as I read the first page of Gypsy I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I found it incredibly appealing. It was created, written, produced, and directed by women. But also my character Sidney was like nothing that had crossed my path before. She’s a real force of nature and incredibly complex. She required me to be completely fearless and brave.
Ashes in the Snow was a very special experience. It’s set in 1940s Lithuania when the Soviet Union invaded and de- ported hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians to the Siberian labor camps. It fol- lows the lives of one family going through this, with the lead played by Bel Powley. I play a young girl, Ona, who gets put on a cattle cart train for seven weeks with her newborn baby. It’s a tragic story that I knew very little about. It was the first time in my career I felt a serious duty to tell the story accurately in honor of the people that went through that. Lithuania only became independent in 1991, so it’s incredibly fresh and all of the background artists had family or were in some way connected to the atrocities committed. Filming was a very grueling but worthwhile experience.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Firstly the teachers who showed me there were doors to be opened that I never knew were in the realm of my possibilities. The ripples they created led me to meet other fascinating people along the way, who in turn told me about more doors. Secondly my mum for sticking by me through every- thing and never ever letting me give up. I have everything to thank her for.
Written by Anna Ceravolo.