WONDERLAND – Like any actor (or slightly melodramatic child) worth their showbiz salt, Lucy Boynton practised crying in the mirror growing up. Obsessed with Anna Chlumsky’s character in 90s classic My Girl and “scandalised” by her talent and young age, Boynton tells me she’d pause and rewind the funeral scene, “I’d go up to the bathroom and play out her dialogue seeing if I could do what she did and make myself cry like her… It was a long summer.”
Arriving on screen at just 12 years old herself, alongside Renée Zellweger in Miss Potter, Boynton’s CV lists no cheesy rom-com blunders or sitcom shaped snatches at the limelight. Becoming one of Hollywood’s most watched and most wanted young talents, at 23 she’s carved a career from child stardom without ever once compromising her lmic integrity, climbing to her covetable position through a string of challenging roles. Plus, all those years of practise- weeping must mean she’s got crying on demand in the bag by now.
From playing a singing Irish rocker in Golden Globe nominated Sing Street, to perfecting her American twang as a prescription-pill popping teen in Netflix’s Gypsy — a skill she collected from a childhood parked in front of Sabrina the Teenage Witch — Boynton has defied conventions, refusing to be typecast on any terms. “It’s amazing how much your look, and for example, hair colour can affect [the roles you get],” she says, exasperated. “As soon as I dyed my hair blonde, I was auditioning for the same roles that I had when I had dark hair but it was suddenly like, ‘Oh okay, so you can play the ditzy girl!’ I’m trying to break away from that.”
Boynton’s penchant for playing a wide range of characters comes from her intrigue about what makes people tick. Despite swapping school books for self-tape auditions at 18, she tries to keep a balance and maintains her education with anthropology and psychology classes. “Understanding the subjects only strengthens my ability to put myself in other people’s shoes and other situations,” she explains, familiar with delving into the darkest of minds, having just wrapped religious thriller Apostle, in which she plays a cult leader’s daughter.
Her next release, Rebel in the Rye sees Boynton star alongside original Skins heartthrob Nicolas Hoult as Claire Douglas, the troubled teenage wife of one of the most reclusive modern writers, J. D. Salinger. A revamp of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express will follow in November and sees Boynton positioned next to a cast of Dames (Judi Dench) and Depps (Johnny, duh) as Countess Andrenyi. “Most of my scenes were with Sergei Polunin,” Boynton tells me of her co-star, the world famous ballet dancer. “I was really intimidated by him at the beginning,” she laughs, “because I’d heard his reputation was the ‘bad boy’ of ballet.” While the notion of a pirouetting troublemaker is rousing, Boynton verifies Polunin as “the sweetest human being”, but with the rest of Hollywood falling at her feet, it seems Boynton’s talent could charm anyone, ballet’s bad boy included.
Taken from the Autumn 17 Issue of Wonderland; out now and available to buy here.
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