27 oct 2021

Anya Taylor-Joy, the magnetic heroine of The Lady’s Game, stars in Last Night in Soho

A year after the runaway success of the exciting Netflix mini-series The Lady’s Game, the name and mischievous face of 25-year-old Anya Taylor-Joy are everywhere. Named this week as Dior’s international ambassador for fashion and beauty, the actress also stars in the seductive Last Night in Soho, out this Wednesday. Portrait of a former bullied teenager who became one of the most popular girls in the world.

When the excellent mini-series The Lady’s Game appeared on Netflix last year, the craze was such that chessboards were snapped up, as were the sixties clothes and flamboyant red hair color of the heroine, now the most popular of 2020. But the series also made Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays a chess prodigy plagued by addiction, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after names in record time. The actress is currently starring in Last Night in Soho, the new film by Edgar Wright(Baby Driver) released this Wednesday. In this dark, gory, pop-horror fantasy, she plays a sexy, badass ’60s apprentice singer who ends up selling her charms rather than performing, under the influence of a Machiavellian manager. No mean talent, Anya Taylor-Joy displays phenomenal charisma, while demonstrating that she can sing and dance.


This versatility is not new. Moving from one adventure (and country) to another seems to be in the girl’s genes. Born in Miami, Anya Taylor-Joy is one of six siblings whose mother is a psychologist of Spanish and English descent who was born in Zambia. His father is a former Argentine-Scottish banker born in Buenos Aires, who changed his life to devote himself to motorboating. The family lived in Argentina when Anya Taylor-Joy was just a baby, then in London. Stubbornly opposed to England, the little girl continued to speak only Spanish until the age of eight. In the pages of the Evening Standard, she confided in 2017:“Argentina is a place all green and there were horses and animals everywhere. Suddenly, I was in a big city and didn’t speak the language. I didn’t really feel like I fit in anywhere. I was too English to be Argentine, too Argentine to be English, too American to be anything. The children simply didn’t understand me (…). I was locked in lockers. I spent a lot of time at school crying in the toilets.” The American-British childhood is marked by ups and downs, between ballet as a way of channelling her excess energy, and bullying at school from the age of fourteen, which led her to go far away (New York) and leave school two years later.

Anya Taylor-Joy takes acting classes at in the United States, as a way of escaping the daily aggression she suffers in the schoolyard . Revenge on her classmates will have to wait. Three years after leaving for the Big Apple, the then seventeen-year-old is back in London. She was then spotted on the street, in front of a fashion store, by casting agent Sarah Doukas, the woman who discovered Kate Moss, and immediately signed up with a modeling agency. The stars now seem to be aligned for the Londoner, who took part in a photo shoot with actors from the series
Downton Abbey
confided to one of the actors, Allen Leech, her desire for cinema. Like a fairy godmother, he directed her to his artistic agent. Anya Taylor-Joy’s career then got off to a slow start, with an appearance in the low-budget horror comedy Vampire Academy (2014). And his scene is cut in the editing. A blessing in disguise?


After this forgettable incursion, the actress went on to make a string of interesting series and films with strong visual universes. She was seen in the fantasy series Atlantis (2014), the horror film The Witch (2015), which revealed her to the general public, the science-fiction feature film Morgane (2016) and then in the biopic Barry (2016), which tells the story of Barack Obama‘s youth. The winner of the Trophée Chopard (at Cannes, in 2017) almost always attracts the admiration of critics with her inhabited acting and hypnotic gaze. Mutinous, youthful, graceful and sometimes exuding a fascinating darkness, the actress’s strange, retro, very old Hollywood beauty evokes at once a blonde version of Christina Ricci, a hidden daughter of Mia Farrow and a modern Bette Davis. All of which attracted her to heroine roles with a gothic aura, such as that of a teenage victim of a kidnapper with multiple personalities in M. Night Shyamalan ‘s thriller Split (2017), or haunted appearances in the Spanish horror film The Secret of the Marrowbones (2017) or the moving historical mini-series Miniaturist (2017).


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After starring in Radioactive (2020), Marjane Satrapi’s biopic of Marie Curie, the cult series Peaky Blinders (season 5, 2019), and a new Jane Austen adaptation, Emma. (2020), there seems to be no stopping the actress. She can be called upon for a blockbuster (Marvel’s The New Mutants , released last year) or a daring series like The Lady’s Game (2020 ), which earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries. A dazzling performer in Last Night in Soho, she’ll be the only one to be seen on screens in the months and years to come.


The artist will be appearing in The Northman (2022), a revenge story set among the Vikings in Iceland, in the 10th century, a remake of Nosferatu based on the vampire myth… or the eagerly-awaited Canterbury Glass (working title) with Christian Bale, Taylor Swift, Margot Robbie and Rami Malek. The woman who holds an American and British passport, as well as Argentine residency, will also star in the dark comedy The Menu and reprise Charlize Theron ‘s role in the prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, scheduled for 2024. Meanwhile, she’ll be playing an inspiring heroine in real life, as Anya Taylor-Joy has just been named Dior’s global ambassador for fashion and beauty. We can therefore look forward to an avalanche of red-carpet appearances smoky hypnotic eyes and sculptural evening gowns from this chameleon artist, who should soon become a huge star…


Last Night in Soho (2021) by Edgar Wright, currently in theaters.