Anya Taylor-Joy is clearly the new genre it-girl. Since making her feature debut in 2015’s critically lauded The Witch, Taylor-Joy has starred in Luke Scott’s sci-fi actioner Morgan and now in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming thriller Split. With two more efforts in the genre set for release in 2017, she seems to have taken a liking to the darker side of cinema. It’s no wonder her name keeps popping up in casting rumors for the X-Men spinoff New Mutants, which has been described as a “Stephen King meets John Hughes” style horror film.
As for Split, it stars Taylor-Joy as one of three young women who are abducted by Kevin (James McAvoy), a man who suffers from a multiple personality disorder. If they hope to escape, the women must navigate his 24 personalities before they fall prey to “the beast.”
Last week at the film’s press day, we had to chance to sit down with the actress for an exclusive interview. Among other things, she spoke about the message in Split, working with first-time directors, potentially joining New Mutants and so much more.
Check it out below and enjoy!
I loved how the film had this heightened sense of escape strategy because of the different personalities. Which of Kevin’s personalities was most fun to play off of?
Anya Taylor-Joy: Probably Hedwig. I had a great time playing with Hedwig, He’s just such a sweet guy and obviously he’s a kid and he’s pretty creepy especially towards the end. But the idea of Casey having an actual relationship with this little kid that lives in her captors body was something that instantly attracted me to the script so when I actually got to do it, it was so much fun.
Another thing that I really appreciated about Split was that it wasn’t all thrills.
Anya Taylor-Joy: Yeah, it’s pretty funny right?
It’s VERY humorous, and then there’s this really important message in the film about dealing with acceptance and empowerment of victims of abuse. Can you talk about the significance of that?
Anya Taylor-Joy: There’s something so beautiful about seeing the experiences that you’ve been through and not taking it as like, “I’m now tarnished. I am now irrevocably broken.” You’re not. You can rise like a phoenix from the ashes and burn even brighter than before. It’s this idea that anybody that’s been on this planet longer than two years and sometimes even people that are two years old have been through something that has shaped them and that has tried to push them in a negative direction and you can actually take a stand and be like, “no, I’m flawed but my heart is still beating. I’m still here and I’m vital.”
You’ve worked a lot with first-time directors. Robert Eggers with The Witch, Luke Scott (Morgan), Vikram Gandhi (Barry)…
Anya Taylor-Joy: And Cory (Finley) that I’m doing Thoroughbred with and Sergio G. Sanchez on Marrowbone. All of them apart from Night, really [laughs]