Anya Taylor Joy: ‘I haven’t chosen to become a method actor, nor do I want to be’

At one point, the hype machine around Anya Taylor Joy reminded me so much of Jennifer Lawrence circa 2012. When I say “hype machine,” I’m not putting the onus on the women, nor am I saying that J-Law and Anya are similar actresses. I just think their situations are/were very comparable – their sudden ubiquity, the loads of fashion magazine covers, the endless red carpets, the pace of their supernova-stardom, the back-to-back-to-back projects. We know now that J-Law burned out for a time, and I suspect Anya will too, especially if she keeps up the pace she’s had for the past three years. Anya is one of Harper’s Bazaar’s Women of the Year, and she was named Actress of the Year. She’s also promoting The Menu in this cover story. Some highlights:

Moving to London from Argentina. “My first memory is that things were grey – and that wasn’t a colour I’d seen much of before… I feel like, as a kid, I got the best possible training for the nomadic nature of this job… Now, when people ask me where home is, I say, home is wherever I’ve slept for longer than two nights.”

She was offered a Disney Channel pilot & Robert Eggers’ The Witch on the same day. “I remember it was the same day I got asked to be in a Disney Channel pilot, and it was so exciting to be offered anything at all that I ran around the house like a loon. But I just had this really good feeling about The Witch that made me willing to forego the Disney experience for the thing that felt unknown to me, the thing that felt sacred.”

She’s not a Method actor: “I haven’t chosen to become a method actor, nor do I want to be, but I’m noticing that the more I work, the more that line gets blurred.”

She’s never home so she never pays attention to what’s going on while she’s working: “There are these massive billboards with my face on them in New York, and I’ve never even seen them. I think that’s been good for my headspace…. [But] In 2019, I made Emma, then had one day off and did [Edgar Wright’s psychological-horror film] Last Night in Soho, then had a day off and did The Queen’s Gambit. I remember driving back from the English countryside to start work on Soho the next day thinking, right, you’re allowed one hour to cry. You get one hour to heave and sob and be grateful for the incredible experience you had, and then you need to start focusing on what you’re going to do tomorrow. But I’m curious to see how it’s going to work out in the future because, well, I have a bit more of my own life now.”

She’s looking forward to living in her London home with her boyfriend: “I was very excited by the notion of putting a toothbrush down, knowing that I didn’t have to pick it up again. I have now not seen that toothbrush in about a year, but at the time it felt great.” When she and Malcolm do have time together, they like to spend it peacefully, doing nothing special. “It’s fun to wake up and go to breakfast and service the car and sort out stuff… I know that sounds silly, but that what we’re craving. We’re craving just, like, life together.”

Setting boundaries: “In the past couple of years, I’ve definitely learned how to say ‘Hey, that’s actually not OK with me’, or ‘You’re not listening to me’ – and I don’t think I’d have got there had I not been pushed in a certain way, because I’m naturally a people pleaser. But eventually you get stepped on enough that you start to stand up and say no. I think everything has an equal measure of light and dark. I’ve definitely been through the dark experiences of it – but I’m noticing that, in terms of long-game strategy, kindness will out. If you work hard and are good to people, they want to keep working with you, and then another door opens.”

It’s hard to say no: “Saying no is genuinely difficult for me, because I always want to do everything. But I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can ask myself, do you feel passionate enough about this to spend seven months living all the way across the world, away from everyone you know and love? Will that sustain you? And if the answer’s yes, you should probably do it.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

She’s been talking about needing to slow down and actually live a normal life-as-Anya for as long as I’ve been reading her interviews (three years). She’s currently into a year-long shoot in Australia for Furiosa, largely cut off from her family and friends. Just in case you were wondering how that was going. Anyway, I like her and I feel for her because she is a workaholic and it must be difficult to say no when she’s getting ALL of the scripts out there, which is what I used to think about Jennifer Lawrence too. Hopefully, Anya will learn how to say no to more stuff, or maybe say yes to easier stuff.

Cover courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK, additional pics courtesy of Cover Images and Instagram.

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8 Responses to “Anya Taylor Joy: ‘I haven’t chosen to become a method actor, nor do I want to be’”

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  1. B says:

    Whoa, she looks like a “human doll,” (or human Barbie)…

  2. BeanieBean says:

    I finally saw something she was in, The Menu. That was a great movie & she was great in it. Still haven’t seen Jennifer Lawrence in anything. I am woefully behind in movie watching.

    • dj says:

      I love her choices so far in movies, very quirky and smart. I have seen Last Night in SoHo and The Menu only because she was in them. They were both very smart, suspenseful and hard to market movies. I loved them.

  3. Case says:

    She’s a great actress and I love how she comes off in interviews as well. She seems smart and lovely.

    I believe she quietly got married this year, so it would seem she’s making some progress on focusing on her personal life. I understand it’s hard to slow down work-wise when she’s so in demand, though. Hollywood is so fickle and she’s smart to take these opportunities while she’s so popular. I expect her career will go far beyond an “it girl” moment, though, because she’s talented and picks great projects.

  4. CK3 says:

    I think she’ll slow down some once she gets an oscar nomination, a notable snub, or a solid franchise under her belt. She’s been a “rising/breakout star” for a hot minute and I imagine there’s a bit a fear (real and imagined) that without something solid, a stoppage right now might have studios looking for a new “it” girl. She’s incredibly talented, but talent doesn’t always mean staying power. I’ve enjoyed her work, but I’ve never seen her as indispensible simply because her acting generation is filled with so many physically similar (and talented) actresses. If you’re casting a young actress in the 25-28 range with credentials and talent, you’re really spoiled for choice. It is pretty uncanny that Zendaya, Florence P, Julia Garner, Sydney Sweeney, ATJ, Saoirse Ronan and Kaitlyn Dever are all in that range and that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. Usually, you have this problem with actors.

    • Louisa says:

      Why do people think Zendaya is a good actress? She’s fairly wooden. People only put her on a pedestal because she’s a brown actress.

      • Tami says:

        Not only is this an incredibly racist comment, but it is very untrue. Zendaya is incredible in Euphoria. She absolutely earned both Emmys she has now and will definitely earn that Oscar she gets in the near future.

  5. tealily says:

    She was working on all those projects at the same time? Yeesh! She must be exhausted! But I can understand being in her position and feeling like she needs to say yes for awhile. I’ll be she slows down a bit after Furiosa. At least I hope she does! But I guess as long as she keeps getting offered projects she’s excited about (I’ve loved everything I’ve seen her in!), then that’s cool.