Mastermind Magazine

Thomasin is featured in the current issue of Mastermind Magazine. Click on the gallery link below to see all new photos in full size.

i-D Magazine

Thomasin McKenzie on embodying Ottessa Moshfegh’s latest twisted creation
After roles in ‘Old’ and ‘Last Night in Soho’, the New Zealand actor breaks even crazier new ground in the sapphic thriller ‘Eileen’.

When she was six years old, Thomasin McKenzie’s grandmother asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She listed every career you can think of — with one exception. “I said, I do not want to be an actor,” she recalls. “Little did I know.”

Thomasin is one of those actors so self-effacing and ego-free in the moment that it’s difficult to match her in person with her myriad screen roles. With her young face and sharp features perpetually etched with worry, she’s become a go-to dramatic foil for directors like Jane Campion, Taika Waititi and Edgar Wright. After her breakout role in Debra Granik’s grossly underseen Leave No Trace in 2018, Thomasin has bounced from one buzzy project to the next. She popped up in The Power of the Dog, was present on the beach that makes you old in Old, brought much-needed humanity to the contentious Jojo Rabbit, and starred opposite Anya Taylor-Joy in Last Night in Soho. You already know Thomasin McKenzie, but she would like for you to get to know her more.

She moved to London a few months ago for a film — Joy, about the world’s first IVF baby — but decided to stay. The long haul flights from the US to her home in New Zealand after every project were getting too much and it was time for a change. We’re meeting in a north London bakery in her new neighbourhood. “I’ve worked in London more than anywhere else,” she says. “It felt like the right next step.”

Filming Last Night in Soho, a movie enamoured by London’s cultural scene, was “a great introduction” to the city, she says, and she’s kept in touch with Edgar, who continues to show her the sights. “He’s the best tour guide possible,” she says. And, obviously, in between projects she’s acclimatised to the UK through the usual suspects: Love Island and The Great British Bake Off.
Thomasin, an actor since her teens, says she treated the job “almost like a chore” at first. Descended from a dynasty of actors — her mother, Miranda Harcourt, is the daughter of Kate Harcourt; both were made Dames for their services to theatre — acting is in Thomasin’s blood, but she wasn’t naturally drawn to it. “My dad has done it, all my siblings have done it, I think I was just a bit over it,” she says. She gave in and first started acting to earn pocket money, then quickly found that she was good at it. “I also realised that acting gave me a voice,” she says. “I think there is a little bit of an activist in me that wants to be able to share important messages, and acting is an amazing way of doing that.”

She finds herself at, as she calls it, “an interesting point in my career”. The pandemic put the kibosh on her usual schedule of three or four films a year and it gave her the time and space to reevaluate what she wants from her career. Now, she only does two carefully chosen projects. “My team and I have been more selective,” she says. “I’m not doing everything that comes to me now.”

Set in nowheresville, Massachusetts, her latest film, the dark, seedy and gripping Eileen is a nasty little powder keg of a thriller about a dejected young woman who becomes consumed by a new arrival in her town. (If you think you know where it’s going, you really don’t). It feels like a perfect stepping stone for her as she makes the deliberate decision to step away from younger roles. Though Eileen may be in her early twenties, an abusive upbringing has warped her development, making her unworldly and almost feral; at once, Thomasin is playing both an adult and a child. “It’s a coming-of-age film, in a way,” she says.
Adapted from the Ottessa Moshfegh novel by the author herself (and her partner Luke Goebel), the script for Eileen came to Thomasin not long after she, like most girlies, had read My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the BookTok darling about a depressed heiress who sedates herself for a year. She immediately knew she wanted to play another of the author’s somewhat twisted creations. “Ottessa’s writing is almost… queasy,” she says, thinking of the right word. “It makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable.” Because of this, she says she was “a bit intimidated, at first” by the writer. “I tend to ramble and can be a bit… word vomit… but she’s really lovely, and her and Luke are just so smart.”

Eileen’s journey to the big screen retains all of the novel’s murky, mordant humour. We first meet Eileen discreetly ogling a couple making out and stuffing handfuls of snow into her pants to cool herself: her own Eileen-ish way of masturbation. At her workplace, a men’s prison, she hallucinates being ravished by the guards. She goes home to her shabby attic bedroom and mainlines candy like a sugar-addicted six year old. Though it didn’t make it into the film, novel-Eileen is addicted to consuming laxatives, getting off on, as Ottessa writes, her “oceanic, torrential” bathroom visits. “I would have done it if I had to, but I’m happy I didn’t,” Thomasin says, sounding genuinely relieved. But as grimly funny as Eileen’s unorthodox life is, Thomasin felt a duty of care towards the character.

But Thomasin’s thoroughness with Eileen was as important for her as it was for the character. “At the time I was going through my own mental health journey, and I’m the kind of person who really likes receiving diagnoses.” She spent evenings on set journaling her idea of Eileen’s thoughts and feelings in the following day’s scenes. “Sometimes I can maybe take it too far,” she says. “But it’s a great way to communicate with your director–” She breaks off, distracted by a woman at the table next to us, who’s opened a notebook and started scribbling down notes and drawings. “My journals were much like that,” she whispers. “But yeah, it’s a way for me to let the director know that I’m dedicated, and I’m passionate about what we’re making.”
Starring opposite Thomasin in Eileen is Anne Hathaway as Rebecca Saint John, a counsellor at their prison; a woman as glamorous as her name suggests, whose vivacity and charm breaks apart Eileen’s sheltered life. “It was probably the most starstruck I’ve ever been,” she says, a lifelong fan of The Princess Diaries. Given that Eileen is similarly awed by Rebecca, did this off-screen dynamic inform her performance? “It really helped a lot, actually. I just had to behave as Thomasin,” she says. “Usually you’re not allowed to stare at another actor, but Eileen was a great excuse for me to just stare at Anne.”

Following Last Night in Soho, I point out that this is the second time in Thomasin’s career that she’s starred in a 60s-set film opposite a glamorous blonde woman her character is obsessed with. “Oh my god, that is so true. I hadn’t thought of it like that,” she says. Perhaps she needs to do a third to close out the trilogy? “Yeah, like [Edgar’s] Cornetto Trilogy. Maybe [next time] I could be the blonde woman?”
While filming Eileen, Thomasin became conscious of the difference between her and Anne. “I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be a glamorous person,” she says. “I don’t have that grace. I’m a bit awkward, a bit clumsy, a bit erratic. It was the same with Anya; that was great casting because we’re also very different people. Anya and Anne have this natural grace and elegance to them, and it’s nice to see that contrast.”
I tell Thomasin she’s being too hard on herself. She’s not looking for a compliment. She explains that she’s always been drawn to outcast characters hovering at the fringes, never quite fitting in, because that’s how she’s felt a lot of her life. “It doesn’t bother me,” she says. “I like that part of myself — I own it — and I get to play really cool roles because of it. I’m happy to be a bit awkward.”

Source: i-d.vice.com

Vogue Magazine

Thomasin McKenzie Watched Mark Wahlberg Movies to Prepare for Eileen

Thomasin McKenzie takes it as a compliment when people don’t know she’s from New Zealand. The 23-year-old actor—who broke through with 2019’s Jojo Rabbit and 2021’s Last Night in Soho—regularly showcases accent work so good that her Kiwi heritage can come as something of a shock. “After the first screening of Leave No Trace, I went up onto the stage and we did a Q&A and the reaction of the audience was so gratifying,” she says. “Everyone was turning their heads and looking at the person sitting next to them like, What the hell? Who is this person? I was pretty stoked.”

In the latest addition to her impressive oeuvre, McKenzie tackles the titular role in the psychological thriller Eileen, the first film adaptation of an Ottessa Moshfegh novel. (Moshfegh and her partner, Luke Goebel, wrote the screenplay together.) McKenzie plays the mousy, repressed Eileen Dunlop, a 24-year-old who spends her days working as a prison secretary and caring for her alcoholic father (Shea Whigham) while fantasizing about the men at the prison. Yet when the new prison psychologist, Rebecca (Anne Hathaway), arrives, she pulls Eileen into her intoxicating orbit.

The film, directed by William Oldroyd (Lady Macbeth), is anchored by a stellar performance from McKenzie, who holds her own against an electric Hathaway. Below, McKenzie tells Vogue about sharpening her Massachusetts accent, accidentally getting too into character, and her relationship with her costar Hathaway.

Vogue: Were you a fan of Ottessa Moshfegh before you read the script for Eileen?

Thomasin McKenzie: I’d read her book My Year of Rest and Relaxation sometime during COVID, before reading Eileen, before even hearing about the script. I knew it was the first of Ottessa’s books to be made into a film, so I was really interested.

Her writing makes you feel queasy but also grips your attention, and the film manages to capture that same feeling.

I know exactly what you mean. Her style of writing is queasy, uncomfortable, and very truthful. It’s very visceral. It was really fun playing with that tone in the film and trying to achieve that feeling you get when reading her work.

How did she help you develop Eileen as a character?

She was there for two days for rehearsal, and we all sat around a table and talked through the script—about Eileen’s relationship with her dad, Rebecca, and the Polk boy. The thing I was most nervous about was the accent because Ottessa is from Massachusetts, so she knows the accent very well. So I was quite stressed that I wouldn’t get the accent right because she’d be the first person to pick up on it if it was wrong.

You do a lot of accent work in your roles. How do you develop them?

A lot of time on Zoom. For the longest time, when I was younger, I used to wish that I actually was from America, just because I was so frustrated at the amount of time and money I’d had to spend on accent coaching. But now I’m really grateful to be from New Zealand. I find it very uncomfortable using my own accent when I’m working, so being able to put on an accent for a character is really helpful to me. [Massachusetts has] an interesting accent. There’s a lot of Irish influence on it. I watched a lot of films with Mark Wahlberg.

I’ve also noticed that you’re such a physical actor—

[Makes a face.]

Are you surprised?

I’m flattered! Physical in what way?

You bring this timidness to Eileen. Then I think about your performance in Jojo Rabbit, which had a ferocity to it. Even in scenes where you’re not talking, you carry yourself in a way that is wholly representative of your character.

She’s very self-conscious, she’s got struggles with her body image, she hasn’t received a lot of loving touch from her family, she hasn’t had any kind of romantic relationships, she doesn’t have any friends. I wanted to give a feeling of that, so I try and pull my stomach in, tuck my pelvis, and round my shoulders a little bit to give a feeling that she was trying to protect herself, in a way.

Knowing how isolated and disgusting she felt influenced my shell around her. With Elsa in Jojo Rabbit, she’d spent so much time in that space behind the wall, so she was hunched a lot. Being able to come out of that cubbyhole and stand up straight—I remember thinking that would be a really wonderful feeling, to be able to fully stretch herself out, or even to sit on Jojo’s sister’s bed and feel the warmth and the cushiness of the mattress. Elsa was quite a confident girl. She was sassy and more confident in her body. She wasn’t so afraid to take up space like Eileen was.

One of the most poignant scenes in Eileen is when she waits at the window for Rebecca and realizes she’s not coming back. Can you tell me a bit about filming that?

I have a funny story about that scene, which I don’t know if the props department would be very happy with me telling. Eileen was smoking throughout that scene, and we had to do the take over and over again. I’d asked if I could have a pack of what I thought were fake cigarettes on hand, and after a few, I was like, Wow, the placebo effect is really working. I feel like I’m getting some head spins. Once we finished those scenes, I mentioned it to the props lady and she was like, “Oh, no, they’re real cigarettes.” I had asked for Shea Whigham’s cigarettes because I knew he would always have some on hand. I didn’t realize that he had been smoking real cigarettes, and she didn’t realize I was asking for fake ones. So I was a chain-smoker for that day.

In the book’s basement scene, I believe the gun goes off when Eileen and Rebecca are fumbling with it. But in the film Eileen is holding it, and she says she pulled the trigger because she was angry. What do you make of that?

I think Eileen was in such shock and so angry that her body pulled the trigger for her. I realized when filming on the day that Eileen’s sister, Joanie—who abandoned Eileen and her dad—had been physically abused by their dad. So for Eileen, pulling the trigger was also kind of acknowledging her own pain and the abuse that she received from her father and expressing her anger and pain from that. I don’t think it was a fully conscious moment, though.

Eileen and Rebecca have quite an interesting dynamic. How did you two build rapport off-screen?

Luckily for us, I feel like our real-life relationship reflected the relationship between Eileen and Rebecca. I’ve been such a fan of Anne ever since I was a kid watching The Princess Diaries. Those are my all-time favorite films. When I met her for the first time, I very much was starstruck. Anne naturally is a really formidable person. She has such grace and style and intellect to her, just like Rebecca. So just like Thomasin was in awe of Anne, Eileen was in awe of Rebecca in similar ways. But luckily our relationship is much less toxic.


2021 photoshoot outtakes

I added new photoshoot outtakes from 2021. Click on the gallery link below to see all new photos.

2023 Sundance Film Festival

Thomasin attended the 2023 Sundance Film Festival yesterday. Click on the gallery links below to see all new photos.

New portrait photos

I added 2 new albums to the gallery with portrait photos of Thomasin. Click on the gallery links below to see all new photos.

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

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

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

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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