Anya Taylor-Joy may have haunted viewers with her debut performance in 2015’s "The Witch," a supernatural tale set in Puritan New England, but the 20-year-old actor doesn’t really like scary movies. “I’m such a scaredy cat,” she says. “I thought I was really brave, so I watched ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and didn’t sleep for weeks. I don’t really enjoy being frightened — but I do like making horror films.”
The British-Argentine actor now stars as the title character in "Morgan," a sci-fi thriller about a genetic experiment: a bio-engineered sentient being—that goes terribly wrong.
Directed by Luke Scott (Ridley Scott’s son), "Morgan," out Friday, also stars Kate Mara and Paul Giamatti. We spoke with Taylor-Joy about the pitfalls of A.I., her love of music and how "Free Willy" inspired her to be an actor.
I’m kind of afraid you’re going to strangle me through the phone.
People have been coming up to me and saying they’re quite frightened of me. I guess that’s a good thing! Not usually in real life, but it must mean, the movie works.
The film is a classic Frankenstein story, but it’s also a timely tale about the dangers of technology. How do you feel about A.I. and tech in general?
I’m so technologically challenged; I’m not good with machines at all. In terms of A.I., I don’t really understand this human desire to continue to try and play God. We have so many films that show us the dangers of messing with nature, movies like "Jurassic Park." "Morgan" is a cautionary tale in that sense. Come see our movie and see why we shouldn’t mess with genetics and people.
The character of Morgan is pretty complex. It isn’t human, but it is capable of human emotions. What were some of the challenges of playing a character like that?
I just thought, ‘Who is Morgan?’ I thought about what it must be like to be so young, and she’s just sort of been created and dropped into this world. She knows so much just because of her engineering, and yet she knows nothing from experience. I really tried to look at everything with fresh eyes and from a very pure place.