Sophie Cookson: “I think mystery is sexy”Whether seducing Oscar nominees on Netflix or playing an action heroine, the Kingsman star stays in charge of her destiny by accepting that its out of her hands
The ink had barely dried on her Oxford School of Drama graduation certificate when Sophie Cookson received the call informing her that she’d been cast in Matthew Vaughn’s 2015 hit, Kingsman: The Secret Service. Fast forward to 2017, and the 26-year-old British actress finds herself sharing passionate screen time with Naomi Watts in the Netflix psychological thriller Gypsy, as well as starring in four films, including a return to the roll that kick-started her career, as Roxy in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
THE RED BULLETIN: You jumped straight into a major Hollywood film after drama school. What did you learn from the experience?
SOPHIE COOKSON: To stay on your toes. You really don’t know what’s going to happen in life. If someone had told me back then that two months after leaving drama school I’d be cast in a Hollywood production, then I would have laughed my head off. Honestly, there were times when I thought that the effort I was putting in was pointless, but I learned that things can change at any moment. But you need to be very passionate about it, you need to put in the hard work and dig your heels in.
What about the auditioning process?
Nerves are a killer, but you need to know that it’s all in the head. If you go in with the mentality like: ‘I need this, I have to get this’, then it is palpable. You just need to trust in yourself and know that you’re enough.
Do you still get nervous?
We all do, it’s a normal human emotion. I remember going to auditions where I was physically shaking, and that doesn’t look good [laughs]. But you just need to channel that to your advantage – there’s definitely an adrenalin buzz that helps. Things happen in an audition room that weren’t planned, and that often comes from anxiety, which can be a good thing. But in general, it’s just really not worth getting too wrapped up in it all.
I read that you dream about losing a tooth when you’re stressed out?
Yes I do! I haven’t had that dream in a while, but I’ll probably have that tonight now, thanks! [laughs].
One interpretation of dreams about losing a tooth that it represents anxiety over losing control. Do you ever feel like you’re not in command of your destiny?
Totally. I think that’s something we’re all scared of. I think a lot of actors are control freaks, and this is perhaps the worst possible industry in which to be that kind of person, as you’re subject to [the whims of] a lot of other people. But I guess you just do what you can and try to keep your shit in check, but ultimately it’s not up to you, there are a lot of other forces at work.
So it’s all about taking risks?
Yes, but I’ve eased up on those recently.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Probably dropping out of university to go to drama school. I just remember having a restlessness and thinking that I would regret this forever if I didn’t try. So that was a huge risk.
You’re back as Roxy in Kingsman: The Golden Circle later this year. What can fans expect?
Just even more. That’s really the only way to describe it. It really is like the first film times 10: crazy cast, more fights, more explosions, everything is bigger, better, more badass and more Matthew Vaughn!
You played quite the seductress in Gypsy – how would you seduce someone in real life?
I think mystery is extremely sexy. But I’m really terrible at that kind of thing. I guess I would try and play it cool, but I think I’d prefer to be seduced to be honest.