Revealed during the pandemic thanks to the Irish series “Normal People” in 2020, Daisy Edgar-Jones is pursuing an amazing career. At the Locarno Film Festival, she received an honorary award. Meet a rising star.
While much of the world was confined between four walls because of the pandemic, Daisy Edgar Jones, she became a star. In a few months, the series Normal People, in which she plays one of the two main roles, has turned into a phenomenon. His interpretation is hailed by the public and the critics, to the point of even winning his very first nomination for the Golden Globes.
Since then, the face of this 24-year-old Briton has been everywhere. Last March, she gave the reply to Sebastian Stan in the cannibal thriller Fresh – available on Disney+. More recently, she starred in another series, By order of God, with Andrew Garfield – also available on Disney+. In the cinema, she is the heroine of Where the crayfish sing, adaptation of a best-seller which has been very successful in American cinemas. In France, the film is expected for August 17.
For its 75th edition, the Locarno Film Festival, which takes place from August 3 to 13, 2022, honors this young actress with an honorary prize, the Leopard Club Award. A reward that salutes a remarkable rise in a context that is, to say the least, turbulent. A handful of journalists, including AlloCinewere able to visit him in a hotel to ask him a few questions.
How does it feel to be here in Locarno to present this film, receive this award and be at the center of attention?
Daisy Edgar Jones: I had never attended a film festival before, so it’s really magical to be here. Then look at this view! (she turns to the landscape, editor’s note). It’s great to come here and know that the public will discover the film tonight, and I feel very honored to receive this award. One of the first films I was able to make when I was 19, called Pond Lifeis also previewed here, so it’s quite fun to get my first and newest work together at the same time.
How did this desire to become an actress come about?
I always liked theater at school, even though I was rather shy, quiet and reserved. I remember doing plays for the first time and being able to play characters who were very different from me, who were a little more cheeky or rude. And I really enjoyed seeing how much you could pull off when you weren’t yourself.
Then when I was 15, I joined the National Youth Theatre, which is a big company in London. I’ve done a play with them every year since I came to this school. It’s thanks to them that I got my agent and started auditioning professionally since I was 16.
Your parents are both in the industry, aren’t they?
My mother, before I was born, was a film editor. My father, in fact, he worked on TV, but in a different kind of media. He ran Big Brother, which was a TV show. I was too young to watch this (she smiles, editor’s note).
Did they encourage you?
They knew the environment, so they were more confident. It’s scary to allow your child to do work that may not always be very reliable or stable. The fact of not having been afraid of that, of having had that experience, was beneficial to me.
I would be curious to know your reaction following the phenomenal success of Normal People. It’s not just the fact that it’s a hit, but a lot of people have identified with the characters. I feel like it was more about Paul Mescal and yourself, your presence and the whole vibe brought to the screen. Did that put extra pressure on you?
When I did Normal People, Paul Mescal and I had never played a leading role before. I don’t even think that Paul had ever done a film or television at all, which is incredible. It was his first time in front of the camera. I had experience before that, but none of us had been exposed to this extent.
On the set, we weren’t aware of the magnitude this could take. We didn’t even think the series was going to be seen. Today is different. I had a little more awareness. I know people will pay more attention to my work. I try not to think about it and forget about it on set. When the movie comes out, it takes on a different shape and it doesn’t belong to you anyway.
I would like to play the role of a villain.
When we see your last three projects, Where the crayfish singseries By order of God and Fresh, they all talk about violence against women and how systemic it is. Is this a coincidence or a deliberate choice on your part?
I think it’s a coincidence. I’ve always wanted to play complicated women, who don’t fit into boxes and who don’t correspond to what a woman should be. I think playing complex characters, both gentle and powerful, brave and shy, and all these different facets, that’s what interests me. But I guess it’s a coincidence that they all had this experience in different ways.
What are the future goals you want to achieve in your career?
I would like to be able to play characters that are really very different, try to transform myself and not choose characters that are perhaps too obvious. I would like to play the role of a villain for example. And I would like to work for great filmmakers. I love being directed and being immersed in an artist’s vision.
You talk about “too obvious” characters. What do you mean ?
Well, I feel like I’m playing a lot of sweet, quiet, pretty nice young women. I think, well I hope, to be a nice enough person in life, but I would like to play a character who is very different from me, that’s for sure.
Do you have any projects soon?
I have some plans for next year. I can’t really comment on them because they haven’t been announced. I’m going to star in a new book adaptation. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself (she starts laughing, editor’s note). It’s a literary classic this time, which is a bit different.
Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Locarno, August 5, 2022.
Where the crayfish singAugust 17 at the cinema.
The Locarno Film Festival runs from August 3 to 13, 2022.