Angourie was someone that I've wanted to photograph for a while now as I had been reading her writings/work a few months previously and seen some of the films she had starred in. Partly also because the epitome of girlhood and the ideas evolving femininity has inspired a lot of my creativity lately, subsequently making me fall in love with the recently released take of Sofia Coppolas 'The Beguiled', in which Angourie was apart of. All these concepts of the special relationships between girls, the underlying support from women altogether and the magic that women can produce together only really came to me as an overwhelming wave of importance/realisation this year, but in fact I had been shown it my whole life through films, books and friendships.
What really sparked my imagination with Angourie however, was reading her essay about the portrayal of gender in the media, and ultimately how women in the art form of film and television are not represented equally to men. The examples of females in Hollywoods top films are commonly portrayed as wives, girlfriends and have been situated in less empowering roles. “Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them”, said Ellen Tejle, a cinema director in Sodermalm, Sweden said about the Bechdel ratings test. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens.”
In addition to the lack of women being employed behind the scenes (directing, writing, producing etc) of these films leads to the deprivation of gender bias in the nomination of awards. Which doesn't really add up as research has suggested that women buy 50% of movie tickets (sold in the U.S). Movies and media are only a branch of the gender inequality found in the stems of different industries such as politics, medicine and the military force. This doesn't have to be the societal standards though. Lets be the generation of improvement and empowerment. It all starts with change, action, education and sharing. and that can start now! As Emma Hall writes in her play, We May Have to Choose; ‘Whether it is gained from a book, a teacher, or a film, education is power. Power is unequal. Action is everything.
I thought Emma Halls quote resonated with me in particular, often you can feel stuck and unsure when it comes to taking action and spreading awareness of social justice issues, but what better way then to portray it through art/imagery. Angourie I believed to be the perfect muse of this series, as she is a female in film herself and on screen that I found to be incredibly inspiring, not just for her talent but for her insightful mind and thoughts. From the very first moment of meeting her, and our onward hours I could tell she was the sort of person who just reflects goodness, light, warmth and beautiful words. I thought to myself most of the afternoon; "our world needs more people like you!".
"MOVIES CAN INFLUENCE CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETY, AS WELL AS COMMENT ON ITS CURRENT STATE. I THINK IT'S SO POWERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL, AND I FEEL SO PRIVILEGED TO BE A PART OF THIS STORY TELLING".
I think we can both agree that film is one of the most powerful art forms created, from your perspective, what impacts do you believe movies have on society and our world? The fantastic thing about a movie is that it can drive our world forward to a better and more accepting society. We can dream the impossible, and create worlds in which anything can happen. Movies are both a reflection of our culture and a cause of it. Isn’t that amazing? Movies can influence change in our society, as well as comment on its current state. I think it’s so powerful and beautiful, and I feel so privileged to be a part of this story telling.
The Beguiled by far has to be one of the most visually beautiful films I have ever seen all year. It must have been pretty amazing to be a part of. What was the most memorable part of the whole experience? The most memorable thing about it was definitely living in a corset for almost two months! All of my costumes had to be worn with a corset. It’s a very odd feeling to be sitting in a chair playing candy crush while wearing a corset and 19th century clothing!
Is there a dream role of yours that you’ve always wanted (or want) to play? I’d really love to play Emma in an adaptation of Emma, by Jane Austen. It’s one of my favourite books, and I love all the film and miniseries versions of it! Clueless too, as it is my feel-good movie.
Do you find that you are more drawn to playing characters that have similar traits and notions to you or do you prefer to put an act on for someone completely different to yourself? I think as an actor it’s always fun to play someone very far removed from yourself. You get to pretend to be something you’re not, and play around with it. However, I think it’s also easier to play someone similar to myself, because I can understand the character’s motives and actions better. It’s always fun to do a mixture of both, I think. And no matter how different the character’s life is from mine, I always try to pick out similarities and find things to relate to.
The cast for the Beguiled was (almost) all female. Having worked with icons such as Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning and then being directed by the feminist idol herself Sofia Coppola. Was there a sense of empowerment on set? Definitely! It was wonderful to be surrounded by women, especially because the film industry consists predominately of men. It was a very comfortable and calm environment. I think everyone really felt at home on set. We also only had two shooting locations, so I think that added to the magical community.
Fast forward to 2027, where do you picture Angourie to be in that time? Hopefully celebrating my 26th birthday, surrounded by loving friends and family, and lots of dogs!
What’s the best advice you have ever received? I feel like I’ve received lots of good advice! I remember my mum telling me not to ‘be myself’. She told me to not ‘be’ anything, instead I should just do things, and that will make me who I am. I’ve never forgotten that. I don’t have to necessarily be anything, I just am, and I’ve done that by making things happen.
"IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO MAKE A MOVIE, WE CAN CHANGE WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE".
You have probably asked a million times already (I’m sorry!), but what was it like being in a film that was directed by Sofia Coppola? Was it as dreamy as you had imagined it to be? So dreamy! The atmosphere that Sofia created was beautiful. We’d always block the scene in a dark room with no lighting, and then when we came back, ready to shoot the scene, it was filled with soft light coming through the window, glowing candles, and a smoky haze. It was very dreamy! It made it so easy to get into character, because the atmosphere was so real.
Where do you hope to see the film industry for females in 10 years’ time? Hopefully a lot more inclusive! More diverse casting, a wider range of stories, and more recognition of small, independent films.
As we have both previously discussed, there is still an in balance of gender equality currently in the film industry. Coming from someone such as yourself, whom has broken into the industry as a young female, in what ways do you believe we can help minimise and diminish the inequality? Action! Spreading the word is always good, but making things happen is even better. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to feel helpless while in the midst of such a big issue, but simple things like making a donation or volunteering are great. And use your voice and influence! Together we’ll all make things happen.
What is one book you believe everyone should read in their lifetime? When I was younger, I was really inspired by the book ‘How to Be an Explorer of the World’ by Keri Smith. I think I got it when I was nine years old, and it really opened my eyes to the world. It’s not a novel, it’s more of a guide to exploring your environment and the people around you.
As you have been a part of quite a few films this year from Spiderman Homecoming, Jasper Jones and The Beguiled, what exciting things can we expect from you in the coming months? I’ve recently finished filming a movie called ‘Every Day’. It’s based on a book for young adults, and it will be coming out early in the new year. I’m really excited for this one!
I also saw that you were invited to Miu Miu show at Paris Fashion week, what a dream! Your dress was so beautiful. Do you find the fashion and film industry ultimately overlap in different aspects?I definitely think they overlap! One of my favourite things about starting on a new film is discovering the costumes my character is going to wear. The way we dress is such an interesting part of our identity. It’s art and movement and architecture all in one.