The transatlantic actor became the face of horror’s resurgence in lung-punching roles in ‘The Witch’ and ‘Split’
With occult sleeper hit The Witch, actress Anya Taylor-Joy became the unlikely poster girl for a new resurgence in the horror genre. The Witch took Taylor-Joy to dizzying heights, as she played Thomasin, a teen girl in 17th century New England who is accused of murdering her younger sister with dark magic. Her sheepish, virginal look acts as an ideal mask for the vicious emotions bubbling just beneath the surface. In M. Night Shayamalan’s comeback, Split, Taylor-Joy floored moviegoers with her full-tilt performance as Casey, a basement captive of a killer with dissociative identity disorder (played by James McAvoy). A self-described “empath”, the actress has learned how to bend past experiences into stellar performances. She feels it so the audience can too.
Born in Miami and shipped between Argentina and England during her youth due to her parents’ respective citizenships, Taylor-Joy eventually quit homeschool, writing a long essay to her parents arguing why she should be an actor. She dabbled in modelling and met Irish actor Allen Leech on the set of a photo shoot, reading him one of Seamus Heaney’s poems. Leech was impressed and recommended she meet his agent.
Now she’s one of Hollywood’s most in-demand young actors, throwing herself into projects like upcoming film Thoroughbred, a suburban mystery where two teen girls rekindle their friendship before realising neither is what the other appears to be. It’s that amiable exterior Taylor-Joy wields to great success, hiding a steely undercurrent of emotions on which she can draw, whether on screen or off.