OUR INTERVIEW WITH LUCY BOYNTON
By Crash redaction
Photo : Lucy Boynton is wearing a full Chanel look © James Mountford
Fresh and talented young face Lucy Boynton is one of the most promising actresses of her generation. Playing in movies and TV series since the age of twelve, she stands head and shoulders above the rest for the precision of her acting. Recently on screen in John Carney’s “Sing Street,” she has portrayed her first lead role with grace and spontaneity.
What made you want to act in films?
When I was ten there was a new drama teacher at school, Helen Kaye, who was an actress herself, and must have been the first actress I’d met. She was so glamorous and taught us that acting isn’t about pretending to be someone else, but working to really feel like someone else, departing from your own instincts and idiosyncrasies to feel someone else’s. It was a pretty wild and inspiring thing to discover at such a young age. This is one of the few jobs that offers one the opportunity to live a thousand lives as a thousand different people, I don’t know how you could say no to that.
At twelve, you got your first role in Chris Noonan’s film titled “Miss Potter,” about the life of children’s author, Beatrix Potter. How did you live this experience at such a young age?
It was very intimidating but an utterly thrilling experience. I had grown up reading Beatrix Potter books so I was well aware of the reputation and the remarkable human I was portraying, so I felt pressure of course to do her justice. I had also never done anything like it before so I had no idea what to expect. But it was the most magical experience, and Chris Noonan was the kindest most nurturing leader. I feel incredibly lucky to have had that be my introduction to this industry.
Did you continue your drama studies, or did you keep filming new movies since then?
I never went to drama school but I was really lucky in that both my junior school and secondary school had brilliant drama departments. And now I frequently go to classes with my teacher/director whenever I’m not working.
Recently you played in John Carney’s “Sing Street,” which is your first big role in the movies. You play the muse of a young boy who starts a band to impress you in 1980s Dublin. The film was presented at the Deauville festival. Tell us how the film came about. How were you chosen? What did you do with this role?
“Sing Street” will always be such a special film to me and one that I am incredibly proud to have been a part of. It was an arduous auditioning process that took about two months. I enjoy auditioning but I felt so passionately protective of Raphina that the idea that I might not get it, or of anyone else playing her, was quite painful. So when I finally got the role it was as much a great relief as it was pure joy. The research and rehearsal period was as fun and colorful and brilliantly sound-tracked as you’d imagine. I had never worked in such a collaborative environment, so it was really liberating and exciting to have so much input of who and how Raphina was. The fundamental thing that John and I wanted to focus on was her balance between light and dark, happy and sad, the difference between the Raphina she shares with the world and the Raphina she is internally.
We can also catch you in “Rebel In The Rye,” directed by Danny Strong. It’s a biopic about J.D. Salinger that will hit American theaters on September 15th. Are you a fan of the writer? How did you react when you learned you were chosen? What is your part? How did you approach it?
I’ve always been a great admirer of Salinger’s work, but in reading the script and starting my research for the role I realized how little I knew of him, and how little is publicly known. He’s an incredibly interesting character himself but lived a very reclusive life, which the film explores, so by extension there was not a great deal of information about his wife Claire Douglas, my character in the movie, either. So I gathered information from the various biographies written on him and then discussed with Danny Strong and Nick Hoult how best to fill in the blanks and bring their relationship to life.
You also play in “Murder on the Orient Express,” an Agatha Christie adaptation that will be released on November 10th. How was the filming?
Filming “Murder” was an unforgettable experience. To look across the room at people whose work I’ve grown up watching and admiring was a very surreal, and intimidating, experience. And Kenneth Branagh is an absolute master of his art. I love that he has ensured the film honors everything one cherishes about Agatha Christie’s work, while also exploring the characters in more depth. Christie’s work is rather dark and I believe he’s really embraced and explored that to a new and greater extent.
You’ve been in many movies, as well as the recent TV series “Gypsy,” opposite Naomi Watts. You have a busy schedule. How do you manage all this? How do you invest 100% in a role with all the movie shoots you have?
I really enjoy being busy and feeling completely immersed in work, knowing I’m working as hard as I can. I really, really love my job and miss the environment and sensations of it when I have too much time off.
More generally, what kinds of films are you interested in and what are your criteria for accepting a film?
My absolute favorite film is Hal Ashby’s “Harold and Maude.” I like his dark sense of humor. I also recently saw “Paris, Texas” for the first time, which is just achingly perfect.
I don’t really have a specific formula I follow to find the right script or role, it’s always just very instinctive. Sometimes it’s just a very clear urge and excitement. I’m still learning what my own tastes are and how it changes.
Who would you like to work with?
I’m a huge fan of Mike Mills’ work, which is always so beautifully, elegantly, and inelegantly human. And I’ve loved everything Brit Marling has created, her film “Another Earth” especially.
Interview by Saskia Maitrepierre.