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INSTYLE – Director Matthew Vaughn has a track record for turning under-the-radar actors into overnight stars. He was the one who put a pre-Bond Daniel Craig on the map in Layer Cake and launched Chloe Moretz as the tiny, foul-mouthed Hit Girl in Kick Ass. So when Vaughn picked an unknown actress called Sophie Cookson to play the lead role in his new film Kingsman: The Secret Service – despite Harry Potter star Emma Watson being widely tipped for the part – there was understandable buzz.

As I watch Sophie Cookson slip onto a banquette opposite me at Soho restaurant Dean Street Townhouse, it’s hard to ignore a few striking similarities to the world-famous actress she beat to the part. Like Watson she is fine-featured, petite, with drama school vowels, and in today’s chic high-necked dark floral dress and oversized scarf there’s an undeniable ‘poised young Brit thesp’ vibe to her. Did she know she had such high profile competition when she auditioned? “Not a clue” she says, shooting me a thank-god-for-that look “it would have really piled on the pressure.”

Kingsman is a gloriously silly James Bond spoof created by Vaughn with the screenwriter Jane Goldman; every bit as brilliant as the pair’s 2010 cult hit Kick Ass. 24-year-old Cookson – who plays new agency recruit Roxy – has a handful of previous credits to her name, including a part in Sky miniseries Moonfleet with Ray Winstone, but Kingsman is the film that will put her on the map when it hits cinemas this week. So who exactly is this girl who sprung from nowhere to score one of the hottest movie roles of the year? We settled in with a mint tea and quizzed her to find out.

How does it feel to be in a movie with all these massive stars?
“Just so surreal. The big one for me was Michael Caine. I remember shooting a scene with him in this tiny library and thinking, ‘my grandmother would have loved this.’”

Who are you taking as your plus one to the premiere?
“Oh don’t, it’s a political nightmare! My Dad keeps emailing going ‘well I can do this date, and this date and this date’, I’m like ‘um, I didn’t invite you yet!’”

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Labels: Interviews, Videos

Labels: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Movies, Videos

YAHOO – Taron Egerton and Sophie Cookson are the bright young talents starring in Kingsman: The Secret Service. The action-spy film sees them co-starring alongside Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson — not bad for a couple of recent drama school graduates!

FAMOUS caught up with Taron and Sophie during their visit to Sydney.

How does it feel to work with award-winning actors so early on in your careers?
Taron: It’s all down hill from here mate! [Laughs] Sophie: How do you up from there?
Taron: I guess everyone’s now becoming aware of the film with all the promotion, but we’ve had 18 months to process it. It’s surreal. We’re actors, you know, and of course we have all of that respect and admiration for them, but ultimately there comes a point where you have to just get down to it and make some movies.

Were the cast what you expected them to be in real life and did they give you much advice?
Sophie: I didn’t really expect anything. I went in with complete open-minded because as soon as you start having any expectations of what it’s going to be like you are disappointed or it throws you off a bit. But they were just as nice as I hoped. Colin Firth is the gentleman you think he is. There was no lecturing or anything, it was all quite seamless.
Taron: Don’t fart in interviews, that kind of thing [laughs]. They were all very lovely. You expect to see the personas they present to the world, but then they also have their private personas. I guess we were able to see a little more of their private selves – everybody was as nice as I’d hoped.

Are you both thrill seekers like your characters in the film?
Sophie: Oh, no no! If you asked me to jump out of a plane, I’d pay you any amount not to. I like being physical but not like that.
Taron: I’m not like that at all. I really enjoyed the experience of doing it but when I left drama school, I did not envisage action! But it was great fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Labels: Interviews, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Movies

Labels: Interviews, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Movies, Videos

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Labels: Interviews, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Movies, Videos

DARK HORIZONS – So far, filmmaker Matthew Vaughn is essentially five for five when it comes to delivering movies of quality – “Layer Cake,” “Stardust,” “Kick-Ass” and “X-Men: First Class” have all been very strong but wide-appealing films and his new effort “Kingsman: The Secret Service” keeps that very high standard going.

Both homage to and pastiche of the spy movies of old, especially early James Bond, the film still manages to carve out its own distinct identity thanks to a wicked sense of humour, some stellar action set pieces, and a cast of British talent ranging from legendary thespians like Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Mark Strong to a group of formidably talented young newcomers.

Earlier this week I sat down and spoke with two of those newcomers, specifically the film’s leading man and woman Taron Egerton and Sophie Cookson. Fresh out of drama school with some stage and TV work under their belt, “Kingsman” is their first foray onto the big screen and this very professional and charming pair were happy to discuss their experience in the video.

Labels: Interviews, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Movies, Videos

CLEO – Fresh out of drama school, Sophie Cookson hit the jackpot landing the female lead in Matthew Vaughn’s latest blockbuster, Kingsman: The Secret Service. The 24-year-old stars alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson, as well as fellow newcomer, Taron Egerton. She spilt all about being the only girl on set, playing the super smart, sassy and beyond stylish, Roxy.

Congratulations on Kingsman. I’m not normally a spy movie person but I walked out and thought it was fantastic!
“Amazing, it’s really infectious isn’t it?”

Yes! What was it that attracted you to the film in the first place?
“Um, everything! [Laughs] I got an email asking me to put myself on tape and Matthew Vaughn [the director], who I love, was directing it, and Colin Firth was also attached. Immediately I thought, ‘Well that’s never going to happen’. But Roxy, my character, is like her own entity. She’s not a romantic lead and really stands her ground. So seeing someone that independent and strong, I thought I could really mould her into what I wanted.”

Were you star struck when you met Colin?
“I guess you freak out in your bedroom beforehand, like ‘Oh my God, oh my God, be calm, be cool!’ And then you’re like, ‘Hi Colin’ as he’s walking past. But you have to be, because at the end of the day they are just people wanting to make a good film. They were all wonderful and very generous people as well as actors so it was a pleasure being around them and they automatically put me at ease.”

You have some pretty amazing scenes like being stuck underwater. Did you do all the stunts?
“Apart from one stunt, we did everything. It was amazing to do the underwater stuff. We had some free water diving training taught by this champion who can hold his breath for something ridiculous like half an hour underwater. He was phenomenal. We were filming in December so you get totally drenched, reset, go out into the freezing cold, get changed, and go back in. Plus, we were shooting it for about three weeks and it was supposed to be four days but I think that’s slightly ambitious.”

You also have some fun scenes with little puppies! It’s like a dream come true!
“I still dream about my poodle, Max, and I’m not really a poodle girl either! He was the sweetest dog and he needed a home after, and I was so desperate but a poodle that big in a London flat just wouldn’t work.”

You’ve done TV in the past but this is your first film. Would you like to continue with film?
“I think anything where it’s descriptive and it’s about the people involved and the story telling, no matter what genre, be it radio, film, TV or theatre. It’s definitely opened my eyes up to what it means to make a good film.”

Labels: Interviews