Florence is one of Teen Vogue’s Young Hollywood 2019 Issue cover stars! The magazine posted an interview with her on their website, which included a new photo session by Nacho Alegre. The images have been added to our gallery, and you can read the article below!
Florence Pugh’s Young Hollywood 2019 Interview on Little Women and What She Learned From Amy March
Having grown up in England, Florence Pugh says she remembers watching films that starred English performers such as Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. In those movies, Florence found a model for female actors — as she would soon be herself — who played characters in ways that were truthful to themselves and who didn’t feel the need to make themselves into something they weren’t. In her relatively short career, Florence has tried to do the same: “I’ve tried not to get too bogged down by what people want you to be,” she tells Teen Vogue.
Florence has also, perhaps inadvertently, followed in those actors’ footsteps in other ways, possessing an early inclination toward period pieces and Shakespearean remakes. In December 2019, for example, we’ll see her take on the iconic role of dramatic, spoiled Amy March in a remake of Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig. In the film, Florence joins a who’s who of young actors, including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Timothée Chalamet, as well as industry stalwarts Meryl Streep and Laura Dern. It’s no small feat to star in a lineup of these proportions, though Florence has already garnered critically acclaimed experience and buzz in movies including The Falling (with Maisie Williams) and Netflix’s Outlaw King (with Chris Pine).
As part of Teen Vogue’s Young Hollywood Class of 2019, Florence opened up about the pressures of starring in a remake of the beloved classic, working with such a star-studded cast, and her vision for the future of Hollywood.
Teen Vogue: With Little Women, what feelings did you have going into being in this film, which is re-creating an iconic piece of American literature?
Florence Pugh: I was terrified. I was totally terrified. Not only was it Little Women, but it was also Greta Gerwig, and not only was it Greta Gerwig, it was Saoirse Ronan, and, you know, Meryl Streep, and Eliza Scanlen, and Emma Watson. I didn’t think I belonged there. Funnily enough, no matter how many big films I do, I’ve never felt like I’m supposed to be there, and that I’m pretty lucky to be there. But yeah, I think with anything that has a huge name to it, and a huge history to it, you have to be fair, and people aren’t necessarily always gonna like it. The one thing that I always try and take with me, if there’s, like, a remake, or you’re doing something again, is that every generation has a new story to tell.
TV: What do you think you learned about yourself while filming Little Women?
FP: So I played Amy, who’s the youngest of the sisters, and there’s something so amazing about being bratty and saying it how it is and, like, coming out with these horrendous lines that would just sting someone. It’s like … gosh, yeah, that’s rude, but realistically, she’s saying the truth, and how wonderful would it be to be honest? And I was like, I know that that’s not me, but if I could take away something, [it would be] to be a bit more honest.
TV: How did you first get into acting?
FP: I’ve always been pretty loud and [was] pretty out there as a kid, and I ended up doing a film in my last year of school. I didn’t know anything about the world, and I didn’t really know how far it was going to go, and it ended up being quite a well-received film. And then from that, I got an agent and I started doing the standard auditions.
TV: That first role, in The Falling with Maisie Williams, what did you learn from that experience that maybe you’ve taken along with you in your career?
FP: I remember the first time I got on set, I was so scared that I forgot my only line of the day. I only had one line, and mine was the one that came first, and it was so simple, and I was like, “I forgot my line,” and I was so nervous. I also remember watching the way that actors appreciated and took everyone, every crew member, as equal. I remember thinking, I hope that I can continue to be like that. Treatment of others is a very key lesson to learn early on.
TV: You have done a number of period pieces. Do you find yourself gravitating toward those sorts of roles, or are there quirkier types of roles that you would love to play in the future?
FP: As it happens, those have been the roles that have had great women in them and great storylines, and that’s always what I’m attracted to. My team [and I] have always made a point of saying, “What’s the point in you doing something without having a character that you are totally in love with?” As I’ve said before, I don’t think they even have to be good people; they can be complicated, and as long as they have something to say and are representing something, then great. So, yeah, I’ve done a few period pieces, but that’s not it forever, I promise.
TV: What’s the most surreal moment you’ve had so far while being a young actor?
FP: In Fighting With My Family there’s a scene where I have to wrestle; I have to do the famous fight between Paige and AJ Lee. We actually did perform it in front of all those thousands of people. And just beforehand, we had a little dress rehearsal, and there were all these famous wrestlers going around and watching as well. Terrifying. All these amazing wrestlers were just standing on the edge of the ring, just watching you. So I was dying. And I remember Dwayne [“The Rock” Johnson] just came in, and he basically was coaching me on how to do all these moves, and he was like, “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you if anything goes wrong — I’m here.” Dwayne’s teaching me how to wrestle, and he’s also saying that he’ll protect me? Sure…OK!
TV: You have had a big social following for a bit — what sort of responsibility do you feel because of that? Especially as a young person?
FP: So much responsibility. People tend to only show the positives, all the highlights, and it’s very easy to do that because we go on our phones and we edit it to make it look pretty, and then we go, “OK, this is what was really good about today.” It’s also down to us to maybe open up a bit and make sure people are seeing your spots on your face on a Monday morning, and people are seeing you looking horrendous and people are seeing you in trackies, and people do see the very boring, mundane parts of your day. I’m trying not to edit my life too much.
TV: What depictions of women would you like to see more of in Hollywood?
FP: I think we need to see more of every persona, shape, size, color, age, hair color. It’s so important to keep it broad, because for a while there’s been this very small amount of faces that can be seen and voices that will be heard, and we’re in this really special time right now where Hollywood is reeducating itself. It would be really wicked to see more fun, strange faces and more peculiar stories, because it’s a big world. There are a lot of people to cater to.
TV: As a representative of young Hollywood, what parts of you as a performer do you hope to see more of in Hollywood in general?
FP: Something that I’ve always been really keen on representing is some honesty with the way that we view ourselves. That’s something I’ve always appreciated watching actors that I’ve looked up to, is when they look like you and me, or they have a funny elbow, or they have, you know, a hairy face. I promised myself that if I were to do this, I couldn’t pretend to look like someone that I wasn’t, because that’s the whole point of what I’m trying to represent. I would love for people to watch my films and go, “Oh, my God, we have the same weird thighs” or “We have the same knees, and she’s doing this, and what an inspiring character that’s being played.”