Anya Taylor-Joy: I have always loved roles as slightly crazy people

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Anya Taylor-Joy has said she has always felt comfortable playing “slightly crazy people.”

The actress, best known for her roles in The Witch, Split and Peaky Blinders, will next be seen in the title role in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, alongside Bill Nighy, Miranda Hart and Johnny Flynn.

She told the PA news agency: “We wanted to do something that was kind of genre-shifting and also very true to the wit that’s in the books.

“Sometimes in period dramas, you get so held back with all the rigidity and the idea that everyone is so perfect all the time.

“They’re still people; they’re just wearing corsets, and people do ridiculous things, so we really leaned into that.

“I think Emma, the way that I saw her, she’s always living in her own movie and she’s kind of directing her own movie, so I brought that on to set.

“I have always loved slightly crazy people, who other people have a hard time trying to understand – because that’s where I feel comfortable.

“I am just like, ‘Yes, OK, I get where all this is coming from!’ And I’ve just been really lucky to get to play all of them.

“Emma is very different – I think all of my characters are very different but Emma is particularly on the other end of the spectrum in terms of how loud and how out there she is. But it was just such a joy, I loved it. She’s my little monster.”

Taylor-Joy also discussed working with the rock photographer Autumn de Wilde, who makes her feature length directorial debut with the film.

She said: “She brings that rock sexiness to moments that you wouldn’t expect – like any scene where hands are touching… I don’t know if it made it into the movie, but there’s always a hand shot and it’s like the most exciting thing that you’ve ever experienced and it’s just two gloved hands touching.

“We approached any dance-y bits or big balls as a thriller. So it was always about which eyes are going where and who’s forming what opinion about what, so I think we just wanted to get the steps right and make it look kind of OK.”

Emma is released in UK cinemas on February 14.