Esmé Creed-Miles is 19 years old and already a proven action hero. Of course, this should be obvious to anyone who’s seen the London-born actor as the titular teen assassin of Hanna, a new spy-thriller series adapted from the 2011 movie of the same name.
It’s a physically and emotionally demanding role: Hanna is a genetically modified 16-year-old who grew up friendless in a forest and was trained by her father to be a lean, mean killing machine. Yet Creed-Miles performs the stunts with a scary conviction and transforms an esoteric character study into a three-dimensional human. After all, Hanna is also a coming-of-age series: young super-soldiers experience existential angst and awkward crushes, too.
At 7, Creed-Miles played a Shirley Temple doppelganger in Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely (unlike Hanna, her childhood wasn’t spent hiding from the CIA), and she’s co-starring in the upcoming, very un-Hanna comedy movie Pond Life. Nevertheless, the breakout star has ambitions beyond acting. “I want to finish my EP and I’m looking forward to driving my own projects,” she says. “I’m making a short about the ‘female’ condition.’”
In other words, Creed-Miles won’t be pigeonholed. “Performances make me want to perform,” she adds, “songs make me want to sing, and books make me want to write.”