sophie cookson source
- -

ELLE – Sophie Cookson isn’t what you’d imagine. She plays an ass-kicking spy named Roxy in Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a journalist fascinated with exorcisms in The Crucifixion, and most recently, a barista with a dark side and penchant for playing games in Gypsy. But in person, she’s remarkably normal. She’s the kind of celebrity who instantly makes you feel at ease, even though you’re about to photograph her at The Bristol, one of the fanciest hotels in Paris. The kind who jokes about drinking champagne on the job, travels with an old friend, and yes, has that English Rose charm you’d expect the Sussex, England-raised actress to have. In short, she’s the “cool girl” you want to pal around the city with. But she’s also got a lot going on (even though she describes her style as simple), like many of the roles she plays. And that’s why I was down to spend a few hours with the new face of Chanel time pieces.

How would you describe your personal style?
I think I’m really quite simple. I tend to really like something and then wear it to death. Quite minimal, quite boyish. I’m here wearing ripped jeans, Timberlands, and an old jumper of my mum’s so that kind of describes it: quite thrifty, androgynous, and simple.

How has working with Chanel influenced your style?
I’ve always loved rummaging through my mum’s wardrobe and finding classic pieces. I went through a phase where I rejected anything that was vaguely up-styled in any way and I just lived in a baggy jumper for a bit. I guess working with them again made me get in touch with that more feminine, graceful side which I think you can reject as a younger adult and find it again.

If you could trade style with any celebrity, who would it be?
I think Riley Keough is killing it at the moment. She has this punkish style going on and it always feels very genuine and very free and easy. I think that’s a great trick to a red carpet style. You really wearing it rather than the clothes wearing you. It has to feel like a whole entity. I’ve always really loved Kristen Stewart and all of the stuff she does with Chanel, it’s always very individual and a fresh take on it, which I like.

You have five minutes to get dressed in the morning—what’s your go-to outfit?
Well currently there are kind of two answers. There’s the everyday Sophie that’s getting on with stuff which is my Timberlands and my old-school dungarees which I just found, and a little jumper underneath. I’m enjoying that look at the moment. Evening, I’ve just got myself some really nice black suede boots and big black leather Acne jacket. So oversized jacket, skinny jeans, and boots is always a get up and go evening outfit. Just black is always good. You can’t go wrong.

Let’s talk about your work. You’ve done these super, labor-intensive roles like in The Kingsman and The Crucifixion. What draws you to these parts?
I think I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and I like being pushed and I like being stretched to the absolute limit. I think a lot of actors are like this. I want to be learning constantly so every role I look for, it has to be something different. Whether it’s a genre I haven’t done before or a period I don’t know about. I think all of the characters [I’ve played] definitely have determination in common, whether they know it from the get-go or find some kind of inner strength. I’ve been really lucky to play female roles like that.

You’ve played a lot of cool, complex female roles.
Yeah definitely. Sydney in Gypsy is the epitome of complicated. That’s really fun, building up all of those layers. In someone that complicated you don’t know if they’re lying or manipulating or if they’re being manipulated. It’s like when Jessica Chastain was talking at Cannes about how she wants to see real-life complicated women. That’s the work that we should be aiming towards doing. Seeing women we see in everyday life reflected in the screen.

What did you learn from working with Naomi Watts?
She’s amazing and has this very collected, cool composure. She just has this little thing rippling underneath that you can’t quite work out, but she’s thinking seven things at once. She’s constantly playing with you. No take is ever the same—especially when you’re working fast and you’re speeding through a TV script—there are long days and a scene can get monotonous and so she’s really exciting to work with. She’ll toy with me and say I’m going to do something on this take but like don’t freak out. She’ll have fun with it, never losing that sense of playfulness.

A lot of people seem to ask you about what it was like to kiss her. Are you tired of talking about it?
Absolutely. Naomi and I had a day of doing press and she was like, “Oh my god, if one more person asks me.” You know, it’s true. And I think a way of dealing with an interview is laughing it off and whatever, but it’s a kiss. It’s the same as any other kiss, male-female, female-female, male-male. And it was built up to be something a lot, hopefully the storyline is about more than a kiss. I mean I get it, it’s a good kiss, but there are other questions to be asked especially in a series like Gypsy that deals with a lot of complicated issues: mental health, privacy, safety, all of these kind of things. To have that as the main question at times is a little frustrating, but we were kind of expecting it too.

That was actually you singing in the club scene in Gypsy. Have you always been a singer?
Yeah, we had singing lessons in drama school and did things like that, but it was my first time singing with a band on stage in that context and in a recording studio. That was equally terrifying and amazing. My first day on set was the gig you see in episode one and I was like ‘Oh my god, throw me in the deep end.’ Christ. It was really, really good and it actually revealed a lot of character stuff to me about Sydney, which would’ve taken longer to click if I didn’t do that scene first.

Do you get stage fright?
Yeah. I’ve never had paralyzing stage fright but of course. I feel that that’s part of the drive though. You have to convert it into something useful and used it as some kind of energy or motivation.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Oh God. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any karaoke. Probably, I actually think Living On a Prayer was the last one I’ve done, which I’m quite embarrassed to admit, screaming it at the top of my lungs. I prefer being the one watching and egging people on. Singing in the shower? Perfect. Singing karaoke for me needs a lot of tequila.

Do you have a go-to shower song?
I actually ended up singing most of Cabaret in the shower the other day. I’m doing loads of research on Judi Dench because we’re playing the same character in a film coming up and I ended up watching clips of her when she was younger singing Cabaret. There is some logic in that. I wasn’t randomly singing it.

I think Judi Dench is one of the coolest people alive.
[Laughs] I mean it’s no pressure on me, is it?

If you could recast an all-female Kingsman film, who would you want in it?
Marion Cotillard would have to be in there, possibly as Colin Firth’s character. Then I’d have maybe someone like Tilda Swinton as Merlin, I think that would be really interesting. For Michael Kane’s character I’d have Judi Dench. Hmm, ask me again and I’ll come back with a full cast list.

If you can take an hour lunch break with anyone, who would it be?
You know…Sir David Attenborough. I feel like that would be a really nice lunch. I think we could be somewhere quite beautiful and we could chat about the nature as we’re going. I think that’d be a good lunch.

Labels: Interviews, Photoshoots

Comments are closed.