Anya Taylor-Joy is now firmly established as one of the fastest-rising stars in Hollywood, having recently landed a Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film thanks to her acclaimed turn as Beth Harmon in Netflix’s smash hit The Queen’s Gambit. But the 25-year-old has revealed she thought her career was over before it had even gotten started.
When the actress made her feature film debut in Robert Eggers’ supernatural period piece The Witch in 2015, she only had a handful of television episodes under her belt, and was now the lead in an atmospheric chiller. Of course, Taylor-Joy won rave reviews for her performance, with the movie itself also garnering widespread critical acclaim and commercial success after earning $40 million at the box office on a $4 million budget. But she revealed in a new interview that she was less than confident in the buildup to its release, and even considered quitting acting.
“Robert Eggers showed us the film maybe two hours before the audience screening, and I was devastated. I thought I’d never work again, I still get shivers thinking about it. It was just the worst feeling of, ‘I have let down the people I love most in the world. I didn’t do it right’. And I’m quite verbose, I like to talk, I like to communicate. I did not talk, I just cried. I couldn’t handle seeing my face that large. I know it sounds crazy now, but yeah, I was.”
Evidently, there was nothing to worry about, and her impressive work only served to open up more doors than ever before. Further outings in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and Glass, as well as comedic Jane Austen adaptation Emma and The New Mutants put her firmly on the map, with The Queen’s Gambit taking her career to yet another new level.
Next up for Taylor-Joy is Edgar Wright’s neon-soaked psychological thriller Last Night in Soho, a second collaboration with Eggers in The Northman, a role in David O. Russell’s star-studded next film alongside such luminaries as Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and Chris Rock. That’s without even mentioning that she’s playing the title character in George Miller’s Mad Max: Furiosa, so The Witch worked out pretty well in the long run.