THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD – While there’s nothing wrong with being a Bond girl, Sophie Cookson was thrilled to be in a spy movie in which she wasn’t just “the girlfriend”.
In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Cookson plays one of the youngsters vying for a role in a mysterious agency, whose veteran, martial-arts fighting spies include the likes of Colin Firth.
To land the spot, she and the others, including Taron Egerton’s Eggsy, are put through a number of dangerous tasks.
“I mean, there is nothing wrong with being a Bond girl, but at the same time, you read so many scripts where the girl automatically falls in love with the guy, or you’re waiting the whole story for them to kiss and I have to say I was reading and waiting for (it) to happen,” Cookson tells AAP in Sydney.
The 24-year-old was over the moon when she realised that wasn’t what her character was about.
“It was a huge relief, actually, to know that there was a script out there that did that,” she says.
But the movie isn’t your typical spy flick, either.
MARIE CLAIRE – Sophie Cookson is the next big thing. We don’t throw that term around lightly in the marie claire office so it must be true. Plucked from obscurity fresh out of drama school by filmmaker Matthew Vaughn (the man who made Kick Ass’ Chloe Grace Moretz a star), Cookson is the 24-year old star of this month’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, alongside a pitch perfect Colin Firth. Yes, it’s an action film, and yes, it’s based on a comic book, but Vaughn’s tongue-in-cheek treatment (Firth’s dashing secret agent carries an electrocuting signet ring and a shotgun-slash-umbrella, for example) turns what could have been a run-of-the-mill spy film into a rollicking adventure worth its weight in popcorn.
Cookson – as the smart, stylish and supremely sassy Roxy – is the female lead, holding her own in a boys club of suited secret agents that includes Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Jack Davenport and newcomer Taron Egerton. Did she love being the only girl on set? “Totally,” Cookson grins. “It was incredibly empowering.”
MC: Your first film – and it was a big budget Matthew Vaughn extravaganza! How did that feel?
SC: Incredibly overwhelming… Never in a million years [had I] dreamt that I would do anything like this. When I first auditioned I got an email saying: here’s the script, Colin Firth is attached, and I didn’t take it seriously at all. I don’t put the two together, like myself and Colin Firth, it was so strange. I spent most of the job thinking I would probably be fired or something. [Laughs]
MC: Taron Egerton, who plays main character Eggsy, was also new to film. Were you guys close on set?
SC: One of our first rehearsals, all of the recruits were sat around a table and Matthew [Vaughn, director] got us to put our hand up if we had done a film before. And no-one put their hand up. And Matthew was like ‘Christ what am I doing?’ We were all in it together.
MC: We love your character Roxy and the fact she’s the only girl amongst all these men. Was it a real girl power moment for you?
SC: Totally. Even from reading the script I loved the fact that [Roxy] is not the male accessory, she’s not romantically linked to anyone, she’s just there because she deserves to be. It was incredibly empowering to play. [Kingsman] is quite a misogynistic secret service organisation. They’ve never had a female [agent]. So automatically the odds are against [Roxy].
FILM3SIXTY – We speak to rising star, Sophie Cookson about working with Matthew Vaughn on Kingsman: Secret Service, the perils of stunt-work, and the importance of perseverance.
“Drama school certainly doesn’t prepare you for hanging upside down in a tree whilst strapped in a harness for hours upon, hours.”
For most actors and actresses the journey to their first big-budget feature film is a slow one. Not, however, for Sophie Cookson, who, fresh from her TV breakthrough in Sky One’s Moonfleet earlier this year, will join Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine and fellow newcomer Taron Egerton in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsmen: The Secret Service, released in UK cinemas this Thursday 29 January, 2015.
Based on the graphic novel by Vaughn’s frequent source of inspiration, Mark Millar (Kick-Ass), Kingsman: The Secret Service details the life of a working class hooligan “Eggsy” (Egerton) who is plucked from a South London council estate by the dapper super-spy Harry Hart (Firth) to join a clandestine organisation, The Kingsman.
Sophie’s character Roxy, has also been enrolled in the Kingsman training program. We sat down with Cookson to discuss how, fresh out of drama school, it felt to be plunged into the limelight, and her experiences of working with such a talented cast.
This is your first film, and unlike many actors and actresses you are starting with a bang, with a great cast, and big budget. How have you found the experience?
It has been a baptism of fire. It is amazing working with such an established cast, and people who I have looked up to since I was a child. Working with Matthew was also an honour, because I remember the first time that I watched Layer Cake (2004), I was completely blown away. Working with people like Matthew was nerve-racking, but at the same time I knew that I was in safe hands.
You have gone on a fast-paced journey through drama school, TV and on to a film?
It was, but in a way it was great because it didn’t give me time to freak out about it too much. Also, I don’t know anything, so I have no frame of reference to compare it to. You cope with what you are given, don’t you?
Scans from Empire and F*** magazines (February 2015) have been added to the gallery. I also added a new photoshoot of Sophie with her ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ co-stars Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson.
Magazine Scans > 2015 > Empire (February)
Magazine Scans > 2015 > F*** (February)
Studio Photoshoots > Outtakes & Sessions > 2015 > Session 005
I’ve added new high quality stills of Sophie as Roxy in ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’.
Film Productions > Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) > Production Stills