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Talking to Locarno LiveTV, the talented Daisy Edgar-Jones, recipient of Locarno75's Leopard Club Award, shares the joys of in-person festivals, her acting choices, and her experience of the set of Olivia Newman's Where the Crawdads Sing, playing in Piazza Grande.
What fascinated you in Where the Crawdads Sing, the popular novel by Delia Owens?
I loved in particular the character of Kya and the way she learns to navigate and understand the world through her observations of nature. The novel did a really good job of exploring the rules that we live by in society and the rules of nature, and which are fairer. I found the theme very interesting and I loved that there was this murder mystery aspect to it as well as this intense love story and a survival story. There was so much in it that I found very fascinating.
Was it a tough experience to play Kya, a girl who becomes an adult abandoned by her family in the wild?
It was at times because she goes through a huge amount of pain, she’s very lonely and isolated. Playing characters means in a certain way becoming very fond of them, sometimes you feel quite sorry for them. But I mostly was just full of admiration for Kya because, despite suffering these losses and setbacks, she still manages to push forward and survive, ultimately thriving in a really hostile environment.
What was it like shooting in the marshlands of North Carolina?
At times it was quite challenging. It was very humid and there was crazy weather, with insects and alligators everywhere. At the same time, it’s been very helpful because it meant that I could just fall into the character’s head rather than having to create that world in my imagination. We were really there, we weren’t using a green screen, you could really hear the sounds of the marsh and feel the heat. So, it felt very helpful to film on location in order to get into Kya’s mindset.
Are there any similarities between Kya and Marianne, your character in the miniseries Normal People?
I would say there are some. Both Kya and Marianne are grappling with their understanding and their view of themselves. They’re both very resilient, but they also deal with things very differently. And something I’m interested in as an actor is trying to play characters that are very different from each other.
How did you work with the director, the talented Olivia Newman?
I loved working with her. She had such a deep understanding of the world and who she wanted Kya to be. Some of my favorite days were watching her work with the really talented Jojo Regina, who played little Kya. I think you can always tell how special a filmmaker is with the way they direct young children, because she got such a beautiful performance out of Jojo.
In which way has the success of Normal People has changed your career?
In a lot of ways. I think I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to audition for Crawdads if they hadn’t seen my work in Normal People. I owe it everything. I learned so much on that job, and I’m so endlessly proud of it. I feel very lucky that that was sort of my beginning because it’s the kind of story I’m always interested in. I love stories about relationships and how human beings can really change each other if they want to.
Becoming an actress has always been your goal?
I think it has; I’ve always wanted to be an actress. I love it. I love watching theater, I love watching films, I love acting, so I think it probably was. I had a small dream of potentially being a dairy farmer when I was very little, but other than that it’s always been acting.