Life After Life Q&A

Harpers Bazaar: Thomasin McKenzie on collaboration, career advice and the power of transformation

“Collaboration makes me really happy,” Thomasin McKenzie tells us. “I just finished a production and the relationship I had with the director and the entire crew and cast was so joyful and loving and collaborative. That made me so happy because it’s what I love the most.”

We’re meeting the New Zealand actress in London as she prepares to promote her lead role in the upcoming Edgar Wright thriller, Last Night in Soho – so where more fitting for our interview and shoot than that same energetic London neighbourhood? After effortlessly waltzing her way through a series of photos at the Parisian restaurant Brasserie Zédel, we’re now comfortably ensconced in the luxury of the Hotel Café Royal, one of Soho’s longest-established mainstays.

McKenzie is arguably best-known for her supporting roles in the award-winning Jojo Rabbit and the action-packed True History of the Kelly Gang, as well as her breakout appearance in in Debra Granik’s 2018 drama Leave No Trace, for which she received much critical acclaim. It’s her quietly captivating, chameleon-like qualities as an actor which allows for her to take on such varying roles with an ease that belies her 21 years.

“The best career advice I’ve ever received is a piece of advice from my mum,” she explains. “It was life advice, but now I take it as career advice, and that is to be like water in a stream – flowing freely and easily past obstacles or ‘rocks’ – and just not being too taken aback or stopped in your tracks by things, but being able to move around them and continue on with your life.”

That concept of fluidity and flexibility is clearly something that appeals to McKenzie, who describes her idea of self-care as “stillness, and not feeling the pressure of time”, and says that her ideal superpower would be “the ability to transform into absolutely anything”.

“With that power, you basically have all the powers,” she points out. “You could be a bird, you could be a fish, you could be a chameleon, you could be an elf. I could live out my dream of being a fairy.”

So, with Last Night in Soho garnering huge levels of press and attention ahead of its release, putting her firmly on the map as an in-demand leading lady, what would advice would she give her younger self, who was just starting out as an emerging teenage actress?

“Just not to care so much, and to be gentler on myself,” she says, thoughtfully. “Because life is joyful and not everything is such a big deal. You’ll survive.”

Watch our full video interview with McKenzie above, in which she reveals what makes her happiest, her unusual party trick, the most luxurious purchases she’s ever made, and the job that changed her life.

Source: Harpersbazaar.com

Stuff: Thomasin McKenzie charms Americans on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show

Making her talk-show debut on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show, Wellington actor Thomasin McKenzie kept it real.
She joked about the exotic offerings of the US, mainly megastore Target, and questioned Colbert about why he didn’t visit her during his last trip to Wellington.
McKenzie was on The Late Show ahead of the release of Last Night in Soho, which sees her star alongside The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor-Joy in a glamorous psychological horror.
The 21-year-old actor missed the film’s red carpet debut at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year due to the pandemic, but made it for the US launch this week.
She attended the Los Angeles premiere on Monday (local time), at a star-studded and sparkly launch party at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
McKenzie played a somewhat naive and wide-eyed fashion student in Last Night in Soho, a highly anticipated horror film from director Edgar Wright, which had been years in the making.
She made waves in Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, but had also starred in New Zealand-shot productions including The Hobbit and Shortland Street. The past few years have been huge for the young actor, with four productions coming out in the past year – The Justice of Bunny King, Old, The Power of the Dog and, of course, Last Night in Soho.

During her appearance on The Late Show, McKenzie touched on “tall poppy syndrome” in New Zealand, saying it was a reason to keep grounded.
”You don’t get a chance to get too big for your boots, there’s something called ‘tall poppy syndrome’ – people in New Zealand don’t tolerate people being a…, basically,” she said.
She also joked about being excited to be in the US, and being able to visit places that weren’t available back in Wellington – like Target.
“My little sister is 14 and she’s TikTok obsessed, and when she found out I would be coming to America she didn’t say ‘oh I’m going to miss you’, she said ‘OK, can you go to Target for me’,” McKenzie said.
However, she had some sad news for her sister: she was unlikely to be visiting Target. “It’s not for me,” she said. “I get overwhelmed very easily, even going to the supermarket it’s too much, so I think Target would just be a little bit too far.”
McKenzie appeared to win new fans after making her talk-show debut, with comments flooding into The Late Show in praise of her genuine, straight-talking and charming interview.
Many commenters wondered if it really was her first time on a talk show, saying she played it incredibly cool.

Source: Stuff.co.nz

Elle: Last Night in Soho’s Thomasin McKenzie Is Just Getting Started

It was inevitable that Thomasin McKenzie would join the film industry. Well, almost. The Kiwi star of such films as Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, and Edgar Wright’s latest Last Night in Soho is a third-generation actress; both her mother Miranda Harcourt and maternal grandmother Kate Harcourt are performers, while her father Stuart McKenzie is a writer and director. “My parents were pretty pleased when I followed in their footsteps,” McKenzie tells ELLE.com. “But it wasn’t expected.”

McKenzie, 21, who was raised with her three siblings in Wellington, New Zealand, loved biology at school and had early dreams of working with animals. “I definitely didn’t want to be an actress at first,” she explains. “I was more interested in being a vet or working at an animal rescue.” She did, however, enjoy the time away from school she was able to get while starring in local TV and film projects like Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story and the soap opera Shortland Street. “In the beginning, I would do it just so I could get pocket money so I could buy myself Bratz Dolls and Sylvanian Families,” McKenzie smiles. “That was my main incentive—and also to get time off school was a bonus. But the more I did it, the more I fell in love with it.”

While her older siblings pursued careers in journalism and teaching, McKenzie continued to rack up acting credits in New Zealand including a featured extra role in The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. Although, appearing in the Lord of the Rings franchise was less of a Kiwi rite of passage than being cast in a small role in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand filmmaker’s celebrated return to cinema releasing on Netflix this year. “I’ve known Jane my entire life,” McKenzie says. “She’s my little sister’s godmother, and she’s always been someone that I’ve looked up to. She’s been such a magical figure in my life with her silver hair and her wonderful presence.”

Source: Elle.com

Evening Standard Interview

‘I want to keep a sense of mystery’—Thomasin McKenzie on trying hard to stay out of the spotlight

As Last Night in Soho was introduced to the world, its star was happily at home with her family on the other side of the planet. And, Terri White discovers, that suited the actor – who doesn’t give a damn about the fame game – just fine

Thomasin McKenzie suddenly bursts into laughter. We’re only a few minutes into our conversation, but the sound of her mum and sister singing ‘Mamma Mia’ in another room is too much for the actor. It’s the house she has been in for three months solidly, the one in which the 21-year-old experienced the biggest moment of her career to date just weeks before.

It should have been the event that announced to the world that Thomasin McKenzie — as the star of British director Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller-meets-horror, Last Night in Soho — had most certainly arrived. But instead of standing on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival — cameras flashing, cheeks aching, shoes pinching — McKenzie sat in her parents’ home in Wellington, New Zealand, some 11,500 miles away as the film premiered without her.

Because even as Europe opened up and everyone flew (or sailed) into Italy, McKenzie’s hometown remained in lockdown. ‘I would have really loved to be celebrating Last Night in Soho on such a grand stage,’ she says, just prior to the singing. ‘But I loved seeing the photos and the interviews. It looked like the whole team was feeling a lot of love, which made me happy.’ But did she feel sad: to sit and watch it happen without her? ‘Yeah, definitely,’ she nods. ‘The main thing for me is that I felt quite guilty to not fulfil my commitment to the film’.

Though McKenzie understandably describes watching on as ‘bittersweet’, it’s clear that being at home for an extended period — as she has been since wrapping on the BBC adaptation of the Kate Atkinson novel Life After Life in mid-July — is a rare treat for the actor. And as also becomes clear when we talk, the life she lives at home is somehow even more of a rarity.

The ‘Mamma Mia’ singing is a fairly commonplace low-key family activity. McKenzie talks about a TikTok challenge she did the night before with her brother and sister. Of her love of reading and her dog, Totoro, (the name inspired by her favourite director, Hayao Miyazaki, and his film My Neighbour Totoro). She says one of her favourite things in the world is jumping in the back seat of her parents’ car as they run errands. She smiles: ‘We sing a lot of Moana, a lot of Disney hits.’

It’s this close family and that quiet life to which McKenzie comes home after finishing each job. She is painfully aware that the next time she leaves it will be for a long while, likely until the end of next year. She thinks about how her siblings, particularly her younger sister, might change in her absence. ‘I came back and she’s grown up — she looks completely different, she’s taller than me now,’ she says of her return in the summer. ‘So, I need to take this time in before she changes again.’

It was partly the strength of family ties that turned McKenzie on to Last Night in Soho. The film opens with teenager Ellie saying goodbye to her grandmother as she prepares to leave her hometown for fashion college in London. ‘I’ve lived with my grandma my entire life,’ McKenzie says with obvious affection for the woman who also makes guest appearances on her Instagram. ‘My grandma lives downstairs, and my bedroom is right next to hers, so she’s played a huge role in my life. And so, I wanted to do this film as a tribute to her in a way.’

But that’s not the only affinity McKenzie feels with Ellie, who arrives in a bright, Technicolor London with stars firmly imprinted on her eyes. ‘Making her way to the big city with big hopes and dreams, I related to that,’ she affirms, specifically referring to life after Leave No Trace, the critically acclaimed 2018 indie film that announced McKenzie to the movie industry, if not quite the entire world. ‘I [was] similar to Ellie in arriving in a big, exciting, crazy, loud place and trying to get my bearings a little bit in the world’.

You sense that those bearings were firmly grasped during Soho’s shoot in the summer of 2019, a formative experience for the actor who was still only 19 years old. McKenzie didn’t know London well, having been once before for just two days. She describes that extended period as a ‘pretty brutal entrance’ before correcting herself: ‘Not brutal, an intense entrance. It was three weeks of night shoots — running, sprinting terrified through the Soho streets — and members of the general public looking at me like I’m a mad woman, dealing with drunk people in the middle of the night refusing to get out of the shot…’

As much as the film is a headfirst dive into the dark underbelly of Soho that’s revealed at night, the actor didn’t immerse herself in the nightlife of the city, saying she not ‘a massive pub-crawler type person’. But that doesn’t mean she entirely escaped the rough edges of the city, describing seeing ‘a man being pinned to the pavement by two big bodyguards, and he was screaming as if he was possessed’, one night while walking back to the Greek Street apartment where she was staying during rehearsals. ‘It genuinely looked like he was about to explode into the Hulk or something,’ she says with wide eyes. ‘It was really scary; that was my first experience of the London nightlife.’

Soho is just one of four McKenzie films out this year. There were three in 2019. One in 2020. This is a young woman who has grafted since working as a child actor for pocket money. She acknowledges the relentless pace of her career prior to the pandemic, speaking of ‘two solid years that were work, work, work’. And while McKenzie might speak with the thoughtfulness and maturity of a woman twice her age, she is only just out of her teens.

‘I was quite young and still figuring out who I was, and who I wasn’t really,’ she says of that period. ‘I wasn’t staying very present or documenting my experience or reflecting on everything I was going through, so lockdown was a good opportunity to slow down and take stock of where I am. And I realised, it’s been a crazy couple of years.’

You could argue that this perspective and self-reflection is unnecessary at such an early point in her life and career, but it’s something McKenzie seeks, maybe even needs to make sense of her place in the world. ‘Now I’m learning and trying really hard — even though it’s really stressful at times — to stop and take a beat and put things into perspective because sometimes it gets a bit much,’ she says before stressing: ‘But I’m incredibly, incredibly lucky to be doing what I’m doing.’

Even with her family in the business (her mother and grandmother are actors, her father a filmmaker), this path wasn’t a given. In fact, McKenzie didn’t much fancy being in the same industry. So much so that when her grandmother asked what she wanted to be, McKenzie said, ‘Zookeeper, vet, something to do with animals. And at the end I said, “But I definitely do not want to be an actor.”’

Why? For the simple, very relatable reason that most of us wouldn’t want to simply tread, unthinking, in our parents’ footsteps. ‘It can really put you off when people say you’re doing this because of them,’ McKenzie says. ‘Everyone wants to establish themselves in their own right and I definitely felt that for a while, but maybe that’s why I did so much stuff, did so many films, so many projects, because I really wanted to establish that I work hard for this. And that I’m not taking it for granted and that I’m not only doing it because my family [are] doing it’.

As it turns out, McKenzie was unable to resist the pull of the job — landing her first paid gig at nine — saying, ‘I fell into it I suppose’. A beat and she considers a little more: ‘I really do think I’m made for this job. When I’m acting is when I feel my happiest and most creative and when I feel meaningful.’

Acting went from being a means to an end to a calling for McKenzie when she was 13 and played real-life sexual abuse survivor Louise Nicholas in the film Consent. ‘It definitely was a turning point,’ she says. ‘It’s not just pretending, it’s a really meaningful job. It’s a big responsibility to be able to play with people’s emotions or make them feel something. And you can really do great things through this job.’

Alongside the meaning that McKenzie speaks of — the creativity and profundity — there also comes good old-fashioned fame. Has that been scary for the actor? Everyone suddenly knowing her name after Jojo Rabbit and Leave No Trace? ‘It wasn’t scary because even now I don’t feel like everybody knows my name,’ she insists. ‘I think maybe it’s because I live so far away from the madness of the Hollywood world that I just feel very separate from it. I can go out and no one recognises me, nobody knows my name.’

Maybe so, but fame must surely now be an unavoidable consequence of doing a job she loves — particularly with Last Night in Soho set to propel her to new levels of global recognition. ‘It’s unavoidable to have people paying attention, I suppose,’ she says. ‘I guess it just depends how you react to that attention. I’m not the kind of person who’s really going to feed into that level of fame. I’m quite a private person; I’m not a super-public figure, that’s not where I feel comfortable. And I don’t want to be so well known that nothing I do is going to surprise anybody. I want to keep a sense of mystery so that when people see stuff I do they can actually be reacting to the character and not be reacting to me.’

The next character that McKenzie will dissolve inside is Kerri Strug, the (again real-life) American gymnast she’ll play in Olivia Wilde’s Perfect. Shooting is due to start next March for what she describes as the ‘biggest physical challenge in a role I’ve taken on’. After that, there’s a film in New York that she says has ‘not been announced so I can’t tell you, if I told you I’d have to kill you…’ she bursts into laughter.

‘Not really, I’m not that kind of person!’ She’s not. She’s really, really not. In fact, Thomasin McKenzie is probably the least likely person to kill you, ever. But she will laugh with you. And if you’re really lucky, she might just sing ‘Mamma Mia’ with you.

Source: Standard.co.uk

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Esquire: Thomasin McKenzie Goes Big

The ascendant actress discusses entering the dark side of 1960s Soho in Edgar Wright’s new chiller

Rachel Louise Brown for Esquire

The actress Thomasin McKenzie is an introverted performer, imbuing her characters with a quiet intensity rather than fighting for the camera’s attention. “It takes a lot of effort from me to be‘ big’,” she tells Esquire over Zoom, from her family home in Wellington, New Zealand. “Even when I feel like I’m doing a massive performance, I watch the film and it’s so much smaller than it felt in my head.”

For her next role, the 21-year-old, who is endearingly sweet yet preternaturally sage, in the way actors who have worked alongside adults from a young age sometimes are, had no choice: she had to go big. McKenzie leads the cast of the flamboyant horror film Last Night in Soho, a technicolour extravaganza from Edgar Wright, the treasured British director behind Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver. The actress plays Eloise, a goofy aspiring fashion designer who dreams of moving to London. Once there, she is transported to the Swinging Sixties where she encounters Sandy (played by the similarly elfin actress Anya Taylor-Joy, who screams, sobs and smokes with the same vigour as she did in the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit), only to find the fluorescent lights and glamour of the city are a garish nightmare from up close.

McKenzie is the daughter of an actress, Miranda Harcourt, and a director, Stuart McKenzie, and the granddaughter of another actress, Dame Kate Harcourt. Her early years in New Zealand were spent running around the acting school where her mother taught. A savvy nine-year-old, she initially entered the family business as a side-hustle, performing for pocket money so that she could buy new toys. “I used to collect erasers, which are rubbers but I call them erasers because in America rubbers are condoms and it’s not a good look to say you’re collecting condoms,” she laughs. “I was really obsessed with Sylvanian Families, too.”

McKenzie’s breakout role came in Debra Granik’s 2018 Leave No Trace, about a PTSD-afflicted father who lives off-grid in the woods with his daughter, a part McKenzie fit so perfectly that, watching the film, it feels as though Granik had come across McKenzie by searching the forest before they started filming. The director pulled off the same trick once before, plucking a teenaged Jennifer Lawrence from obscurity for the revered Winter’s Bone. McKenzie’s performance in Leave No Trace earned her comparisons to Lawrence, a strange thing for an 18-year-old who had grown up on The Hunger Games to contend with. Admired performances in Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit and M Night Shyamalan’s Old followed, and now her slate of upcoming projects features some of the biggest names in filmmaking.

McKenzie was shooting her compatriot Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, about a pair of warring brothers on a ranch in Montana, when the pandemic halted production in early 2020. She went back to stay with her family in New Zealand, settling into a bubble far away from the noise she had grown accustomed to. “After Leave No Trace it was hard to take stock,” she says.“The lockdown was a great moment to pause and reassess what kind of stuff I wanted to do. I don’t do films because of how big they might be, I’m just living every day.”

Last Night in Soho is Wright’s love letter to London’s most louche and libidinous enclave, which dazzled him as a teenage boy from Dorset. The closing credits feature shots of the city captured during the pandemic, when the streets were terrifyingly empty and the pubs were —more terrifyingly still — shuttered. “It paints a good picture of what Soho is: the good and the bad,” McKenzie says of the film. Wright issued a list of 1960s films for her to make her way through to get a sense of the tone he wanted, with horror classics like Polanski’s Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby, as well as British kitchen-sink dramas Poor Cow and A Taste of Honey all featuring. “I’m not naturally a horror watcher,” she says. “He had [Dario Argento’s terrifying 1977 film] Suspiria on the list but I couldn’t do it. It didn’t sound like my cup of tea.”

Last Night in Soho is in cinemas 31 Oct

Source: Esquire.com

The Justice of Bunny King interview (1News)

Thomasin McKenzie talks about new Kiwi film exploring ‘heavy subject matters’

A new Kiwi film is exploring “heavy subject matters” which are significant to New Zealand, actress Thomasin McKenzie says.

The film, The Justice of Bunny King, which has just hit cinemas, follows the story of mum-of-two Bunny King who has a sketchy past, but fundamentally is a decent human being just desperate to get her babies back from foster care.
Issues of housing and child abuse are among the heavy topics explored in the film.
New Zealand actress McKenzie, who plays Tonyah, this morning told Breakfast she got the script in 2018 and was excited to work alongside the female-led crew.
She also said her connection to producer Emma Slade, who produced her parents film The Changover, encouraged her to get on board with this project.
“It’s just such a strong female team which is still quite rare, it’s still quite rare to be completely surrounded by females on set so I really wanted to be a part of supporting that,” the 21-year-old explained.

But she also felt a connection to the story itself.
“It touches on the housing crisis in New Zealand, on child abuse. It’s got really heavy subject matters but there’s such levity to it at the same time,” McKenzie said.
“Essie Davis, who played the lead Bunny, she brought such life, a joy for life and a passion and desire.
“She does everything in the name of love and that relationship between Bunny and my character Tonyah was so strong, they were really there for each other and I really loved reading that and I really wanted to be a part of creating or bringing that to life.”
McKenzie, who is back in New Zealand now after recently celebrating her 21st birthday in managed isolation, said it would just be a holiday at home, though, to catch up with friends and family.
The actress is here for one month before heading away to various film festivals promoting another film she stars in, Last Night in Soho, which is directed by Edgar Wright.

Source: Tvnz.co.nz

The Justice of Bunny King interview (The Age)

Jojo Rabbit star says Justice of Bunny King is the story of many women

Thomasin McKenzie is somewhere in Auckland, sitting out a fortnight of quarantine for the third time in her young life. This is where she will turn 21, which is hardly every young Kiwi’s dream, but part of the deal for an internationally feted actor; McKenzie’s face is familiar as the young Jewish hideaway in Taika Waititi’s Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit. Not that McKenzie is the complaining kind. “It depends on the day, where you are at mentally, how well you deal with it,” she says. “But most of the time I’m trying to take advantage of it: to get my affairs in order, you could say, and just figure out where I am in life.”

Also, she says brightly, her father has volunteered to isolate with her; he is in the room next door. Having your dad next door round the clock might not be every young person’s dream either but she says she just feels lucky. Both her parents are notable New Zealand actors; her mother is Miranda Harcourt and her father Stuart McKenzie, who writes and directs, and is her professional mentor. “It’s great for me to have him here. Probably not so great for him. That’s how dedicated he is!” They’re planning a fun 21st, no matter what.

We’re Zooming, of course. Her camera is turned off. She has recently been working on an animated series, she says; one of its chief attractions for her was that she didn’t have to worry about how she looked. “I really think that that is part of it. It’s a real luxury not to have to go through hours of make-up or costume. You can turn up looking completely like a mess. As I usually do in quarantine.” I’ll have to take her word on that.

Top of our agenda is The Justice of Bunny King, the first feature by New Zealand filmmaker Gaysorn Thavat, who came to directing by way of cinematography. Essie Davis stars as the eponymous Bunny, as a woman down on her luck but irrepressibly spirited; we first see her spongeing car windows on an Auckland intersection, working with a cheerful gang of Maori lads half her age.

It gradually emerges that Bunny has been in prison. Unable to find a real job or a house, she is sleeping on her sister’s couch and serving as chief skivvy to her family in return for their largesse. Her own beloved children are in care; she is allowed to see them only under supervision at her assigned social worker’s office “She’s one woman, but it’s actually the story of many women,” says Thavat. “It’s a really common story we have here in New Zealand.”

McKenzie plays her niece Tonyah, whose story is also distressingly common: as Bunny discovers, her stepfather is abusing her. Tonyah says very little, about that or anything else; her shame and fear is in her walk, her glance and in her silence. McKenzie was comfortable with that. “Sometimes verbally I struggle to express myself in my personal life, so it felt quite natural to me to be leaning more on body language,” she says. “And Tonyah is a character who is bottling her emotions up, partly because she just feels very ashamed.” When Bunny is thrown out of the house, accused of making trouble, Tonyah comes too. Bunny may be erratic and combustible but she is a safe place.

Davis and McKenzie were already a team; McKenzie had played Davis’s daughter-in-law in Justin Kurzel’s The True History of the Kelly Gang. “I love Essie, she is such a big presence I think, she has so much strength and grit and life inside of her that it is a real treat to be a scene partner with her,” says McKenzie. “She just draws you in.”

On Bunny King, remembers director Thavat, McKenzie arrived on set only a day before she had to start shooting; there was no time to discuss her approach. “But Thomasin is an amazingly talented actress,” she says. “You can really just put a camera on her and roll. The best thing you can do as a director is let her spin her magic and not get in the way.” When the film was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in June, the two actresses received a special mention by the judges of the festival’s Nora Ephron Award for women filmmakers.

McKenzie came to the world’s notice only three years ago, when she came to the Cannes Film Festival as the young star of Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace. It was the story of a father and daughter who live in the woods of Oregon. Ben Foster played her father, a former soldier with PTSD that makes living in a house unbearable, while she was compelling as a child of the woods, as diligent as a beaver and as watchful as a faun.

When she spoke, it was with the drawl of the Pacific North-West. It was a shock afterwards to hear her speak in her real voice, the vocal equivalent of hokey-pokey ice-cream. After doing so many accents for different films, she believes her own accent must have shifted. “A lot of people have been telling me recently that I’ve got a very subtle, soft Kiwi accent, which I feel insulted by!” Don’t worry, I say. They’re lying.

McKenzie had never been overseas before, let alone to such a grand event. From her home in Wellington, she travelled with her parents across America to Heathrow Airport in London, where she got into trouble. “In my carry-on, I had a bullet I’d completely forgotten about,” she says, as if this were something anyone might do. A bullet? You were carrying a bullet? “I’d picked it up on my boyfriend’s farm as a memento and put it in the pocket of my bag and then forgotten about it. it was one of the stupidest things I think I’ve ever done in my life but there you go.”

By the end of this year, McKenzie will have three major films launched into the world – Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and the recently released Old, by M. Night Shyamalan. That’s a whiff of the awards season, right there. Her forthcoming birthday could be seen as a time for taking stock, deciding what she wants to be as an adult.

“Hmm,” she says dubiously. “I think I’m figuring that out as I go. A couple of the films I’ve done recently have really reminded me how important it is to stay in the moment and stay present, so what I’m trying to do these days is just take things as they come.” As long as she goes on acting, she adds. “My ultimate goal in life is to be in a Miyazaki film. My Neighbour Totaro (1988) is the film I always go to if I’m not feeling so good or missing home.” To voice the English version of a Japanese animation: is there an actor in the world with such a modest ultimate goal? It’s as Kiwi as the bullet story.

She knows she has missed out on some of the waymarks of youth, such as the school formal and going to university, though she hopes to go sometime; she is interested in so many things, from Greek myths to biology. What about campus life? “I have missed out on some of those things but I’ve never wished I wasn’t doing what I’m doing. When I go home to Wellington I get to spend time with friends and do those things that are, as you say, specific to this time of life. But I also think that through acting, you get to experience such a huge range of things. I’ve lived through so many different lives. I feel pretty satisfied with that.”

Turning the tables on homelessness

Homelessness is a growing problem in Australia as well as New Zealand. In 2016, the ABS estimated there are 25,000 homeless people in Victoria, with the majority dossing in overcrowded houses. A state standing committee report into homelessness in March found that while the biggest group were young, there was a growing cohort of older women with no money and nowhere to go. Behind the figures must be hundreds of human dramas but there are very few films on the subject. “Which is odd, don’t you think?” asks Gaysorn Thavat, director of The Justice of Bunny King.

Her film has often been compared to Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake. “He wasn’t homeless but he was on his way to it – it shows the process of how it happens.” But Loach had already made the definitive film on the subject: Cathy Come Home, a BBC Wednesday Play, in 1966. Cathy and her husband are forced from one home after another and finally lose their children. The play was watched by a quarter of the British population, led to a public outcry and the formation of the homeless charity Crisis, and has since been voted the most influential television program of all time.

Source: Theage.com.au

Harper’s Bazaar: Thomasin McKenzie Is Wasting No Time

The star of M. Knight Shyamalan’s new thriller, Old, defies the adage that youth is wasted on the young.

Thomasin McKenzie is only 21 years old, but lately she’s been thinking a lot about the passing of time. “I think I’m someone who really struggles to be in the moment,” says the actress, who stars in Old, the new M. Night Shyamalan thriller. Recently, at her father’s urging, McKenzie took up meditation. (Sam Harris’s Waking Up is her favorite guided app.) Working on Old, the story of a family whose tropical island vacation turns terrifying when everyone suddenly begins to age rapidly (their life spans each reduced to a single day), helped put things in perspective too. “It made me think a lot about being present and taking each thing as it comes.”

For McKenzie, time is a recurring theme right now. In Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, a psychological thriller in which she stars opposite Anya Taylor-Joy, due out in October, she plays a young woman who is mysteriously transported back to Swinging London in the 1960s. In Life After Life, the BBC’s upcoming four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel of the same name, McKenzie’s character dies and is reborn several times over the course of six decades. “Maybe I’m just supposed to be thinking about time these days,” she muses. “Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.”

McKenzie auditioned with Shyamalan for her role in Old over Zoom. It was the early days of the pandemic, and she was hunkered down in her native Wellington, New Zealand. “It was quite awkward,” she recalls. “But obviously it went good enough for him.” McKenzie then had two hours to read the script in its entirety as Shyamalan’s projects are famously shrouded in secrecy. “It’s thought-provoking and unlike anything I’d ever read or seen before,” she says. And while a Zoom audition may have been new territory for McKenzie, acting is in her blood: Her mom is actor and drama coach Miranda Harcourt, her father is the writer and director Stuart McKenzie, and her maternal grandmother is actor Kate Harcourt. The third of four children, McKenzie grew up on far-flung movie sets around the world, from Philadelphia to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. “I think if my family weren’t in the film industry, my life would have been completely different,” she says. “It’s really formed who I am as a person.”

McKenzie herself started acting when she was nine, learning through osmosis rather than through any formal training. Initially, though, she wanted nothing to do with the family business. “I knew that it wasn’t as glamorous a job as you might expect from the outside,” she says. “I wanted to be anything else.” It wasn’t until she was 13, when she played a younger version of sexual-abuse survivor and activist Louise Nicholas in the 2014 film Consent, that she saw the power of storytelling to effect change and decided to pursue acting as a career. “It was a really tough role, and that opened my eyes to the fact that through acting, you get a chance to have a voice.”

It was after starring in Debra Granik’s 2018 film Leave No Trace that McKenzie’s career began to take off. (Granik has a reputation as a star-maker; her 2010 drama, Winter’s Bone, featured a then-little-known actress by the name of Jennifer Lawrence.) A string of critically acclaimed projects followed—David Michôd’s The King; Liz Garbus’s Lost Girls; and Taika Waititi’s Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit among them. McKenzie’s measured performances consistently stand out, subtle—quiet even—yet soulful and impactful.

McKenzie is building her career by studiously choosing projects that have emotional heft and telegraph larger messages. She’s a compulsive over-preparer. “I’m always scrambling to watch the things that they’re talking about, just so that I come off smart or whatever,” she tells me.

Before filming Last Night in Soho, the director, Wright, sent her a list of some 50 films—horror, classic, and cult, mainly—as suggested viewing to add context and reference points to McKenzie’s preparation; she made it through most of them. “Education is still happening, I feel,” she says. “I’m still learning a lot with every single thing I do.”

Source: harpersbazaar.com

Welcome to Thomasin McKenzie Fan, the latest online resource dedicated to the talented NZ actress Thomasin McKenzie. Thomasin has been in TV shows like "End of Term", "Shortland Street", "Bright Summer Night" and "Lucy Lewis Can't Lose". She has also been in films such as "Leave No Trace", "Jojo Rabbit", "Last Night in Soho", "Old" and "The Justice of Bunny King". This site is online to show our support to the actress Thomasin McKenzie, as well as giving her fans a chance to get the latest news and images.
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