Art & Culture / Film

The Cut: You’re going to see a lot of Emily Beecham in 2020

We catch up with the rising star for a quick-fire interview about her latest indie flick, the future of cinema and the early roles that laid the foundations for the rest of her career.

With poise, dedication and a sprinkling of grit, Emily Beecham is establishing herself as one of the actors set to make a splash in 2020. A versatile actor with a unique edge, she can flit from tenderly-held passion projects to career-making, big-budget movies.

After winning the Best Actress award at Cannes for her character-driven performance in dystopian indie flick Little Joe she’s already on every film critic’s Ones To Watch list and mainstream audiences will soon catch her in big hitters for Netflix and Disney. You might not have heard of Emily yet, but soon she’ll be a name on everyone’s lips.

We catch up with her for a quick-fire interview about Little Joe, the future of indie cinema and the early roles that laid the foundations for the rest of her career.

How did you break into the industry?

I got my start in acting when I auditioned for LAMDA, a drama school in London. I applied for a one year course and they ended up letting me do the full, three-year degree. Before then, I hadn’t much experience in acting and didn’t know whether I was any good or not. After that, my first roles were bit pieces in television. An early experience was playing a ghost in a show called Afterlife, which was very little pressure as I had no lines.

You’ve worked in both film and TV; what’s your favourite to work across?

They’re both very different from one another and hard to compare. I’ve really been enjoying the films I’ve been doing recently, however. Film feels like a collaborative process and the movies I’ve done recently have been lead roles, which allows you to go on a journey and make artistic choices. You have more of a discourse with the director and in my case, that’s been great, as the directors I’ve been working with are really interesting people.

US audiences have the chance to see you in the recent feature Little Joe. What attracted you to this project?

It wasn’t something I even had to think about —  I’d seen the director Jessica Hausner’s work, Lourdes is an amazing film. Then I met Jessica and had a very stimulating conversation about my character’s life. It was clear it was going to be a really interesting project from the start.

You recently won the best actress award at Cannes for your turn in Little Joe, what did that mean for you?

It took me about a week for me to process that that had happened and I was a bit scared, to be honest. I didn’t know that I had won for sure until I was sat in the audience. It was quite an intense experience but amazing obviously and I still have to tell myself it really happened. It opens up the doors to talk to some amazing filmmakers and that’s all I could hope for really.

We hear you’re going to appear in Outside The Wire soon — could you tell us more about this project?

Outside the Wire is a film exploring a future where states can use AI robots to fight wars and which considers how that might impact armed conflicts. It looks at whether people might not feel like there are any consequences of armed conflict if they don’t see wounded soldiers coming home – even if there are still civilians being harmed or killed.

Outside The Wire is a Netflix production. From your personal experience, how do you think that streaming platforms like Netflix are impacting the film industry?

They’re making so much content and it’s a lot more work for actors. It’s clear that they’re interested in creating new opportunities, particularly in television.

What are your hopes for the future of independent cinema?

I hope that there are always funds for it as it’s often creating some of the most interesting conversations, due to the freedom it involves. It’s not like a studio production where there are lots and lots of people involved in making the decisions. As a result, independent projects tend to feel a little bit more unique and I think that’s very special. I just hope that there’s always money to make these kind of projects, whatever the future holds.

Where can we catch you next?

Little Joe has just come out in the US and is going to be released in the UK in February. I’m also finishing off Cruella, which is a Disney feature about Cruella De Vil, with Emma Stone in the title role.

Little Joe is now out in selected US theatres and will launch in the UK on 21 February 2020.

18 December 2019