On April 16, Anya Taylor-Joy will have a lot to celebrate for her birthday. Time Magazine chose her as one of their 2021 Time 100 Next, a list of individuals “shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership.” She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her charming role as the title character of EMMA. and won one for her cunning performance as a chess prodigy in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. Later this year, she will be starring in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and later will reunite with The VVitch's director Robert Eggers for The Northman. To commemorate her birthday, we're highlighting two Focus films — EMMA. and Thoroughbreds — that showcase her wit, skill, and wicked sense of humor.
Born in Miami and raised in Buenos Aires and London, Taylor-Joy left school as a young teenager to pursue her acting career in New York City. In a few years, Taylor-Joy gained international attention for her piercing performance starring in Robert Egger’s stylish horror film The VVitch. Her ability to play complex women with razor-sharp intelligence quickly made her a stand-out star. In Cory Finley’s dark comedy Thoroughbreds, Taylor-Joy's turn as Lily, a privileged teen who pulls another young woman, Amanda (Olivia Cooke), into a nefarious, dangerous plot, demonstrated her acumen for physical acting. "While Finley gives her no shortage of words to steel her way through, Taylor-Joy wears the film on her face; watch closely and you can practically see her moral insulation being stripped away,” notes IndieWire, confirming "her status as one of the world’s best young actors." Collider agrees, exclaiming “whatever ‘that thing’ is that makes a star, she’s got it in spades.”
In Autumn de Wilde’s EMMA., Taylor-Joy spread her wings to bring to life one of literature's most beloved characters. As the story's “handsome, clever, and rich” heroine, Taylor-Joy's Emma uses her many gifts to control the lives and loves of everyone around her, even as she fails to fathom her own heart. Diving deep into the character, Taylor-Joy both did justice to Austen’s favorite character and created a new Emma all her own. “Taylor-Joy, so good at finding the seductive danger in wide-eyed beauty,” notes Rolling Stone, “has a ball confounding expectations about how a young lady of fortune should behave.”