Movie Stars: Taylor-Joy, Anya–Best Year of her Career

Anya Taylor-Joy: Best Year of her Life


Courtesy of NETFLIX; Liam Daniel/Focus Features

Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s only 24, has been busy filming the latest David O. Russell film in Los Angeles.

She woke up February 3, the day the Globe nominations were announced, to a flurry of calls and texts.

“It was actually wonderful news. It was a lovely surprise — and pretty surreal.” She earned an acting nomination for Netflix’s breakout series The Queen’s Gambit (the streaming service’s most watched series ever), and earned another nomination for Emma, the new version of Jane Austen made by Focus Features.

On February 4, she earned a SAG Award nod for The Queen’s Gambit as well.

It’s hard to think of another actress of her age, who had risen to stardom so quickly, by giving impressive performances in TV series and films, many of which in the thriller horror genres.

The American-born Argentine and British actress made her debut in the fantasy series Atlantis (2015).

She rose to prominence with her lead role as Thomasin in Robert Eggers’ period horror The Witch, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Fest and had wide theatrical release in 2016. The film and Taylor-Joy’s performance received critical acclaim, and she won the Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor.

She gained further attention for her performances as Casey Cooke in the psychological horror films Split (2016) and Glass (2019), and Lily Reynolds in the black comedy Thoroughbreds (2017).

In 2017, she received the Cannes Film Festival’s Trophée Chopard and a nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award.

Taylor-Joy had starring roles in the BBC One drama miniseries The Miniaturist (2017), the BBC One crime drama series Peaky Blinders (2019), and the Netflix fantasy drama series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019).

She earned critical acclaim for her performances as Emma Woodhouse in the Jane Austen adaptation Emma. (2020) and for playing Beth Harmon in the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit (2020).

Special Year

I’d never had a year like that, where I knew who I’d be playing every single day of that year. I knew exactly the day I had between to shed a character and become the other one.

One Day between Projects?

I had a day between Emma and Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and two days between that and Queen’s Gambit. I was so passionate about all the projects, so I really couldn’t let them go. I do think the timing was perfect because it was right to play Emma before playing Sandy and Beth. I think Beth would have been different if I didn’t have the growth that I experienced playing the other two characters.

Shedding a character 

You just have to dive in. Everybody thought I was crazy. Every single person on each of those projects said, “What are you doing?” But I said, “These characters are amazing. I can’t not do this.”

Wardrobe for Emma and Queen’s Gambit

There’s a replica of a necklace that Jane Austen’s brother gave to her, and Emma wears that, and I call that the “Death Star.” I have a lot of love for the Death Star.

With Queen’s Gambit, it’s probably a pair of black high-waisted pants, which I still wear. And I loved the blue trench coat that she first steals the bottle of vodka with.

Virtual Awards

My mother is very excited to dress up. I’ll be in London, so it will be like 2 a.m. for me. I’m choosing to see it as a very wild sleepover. Wake up at 1 a.m., get hair and makeup done, and sit down in front of my computer.