SBJCT JOURNAL – Meet Lucy Boynton, much more than your latest blonde breakaway bombshell. We talked inspiration and evolving with your career. Captured in LA clad in some of Miu Miu’s latest most IT GIRL looks, for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Have you had a role that you really identify with most with? What was it?
I’ve realised recently what excites me most is if there isn’t much at all that I can identify with in the character I’m playing. Obviously in order to play them you have to have empathy for them, and so to find that you try to draw lines in abstract ways between your experience and theirs, but I wouldn’t want to play someone close to me. There’s no journey or adventure there. There’s more to learn from someone further from your own existence.

Was there a moment in your life where you knew 100% you wanted to be an actress, and how did you make it a reality?
I had a few years going through an awkward teen phase where I was auditioning several times a week and getting nothing. I had suddenly become too old for the child roles and was still too young for the adult roles so it was quite relentless rejection. It made me question myself and how much I needed or wanted to be in this industry if this was an insight into what it would be like. As crap as it felt at the time I’m now really grateful to have had that period to step back and see it all more clearly, to check myself and what I was really looking for in it. It forced me to acknowledge just how much I love it and need it and how much I’m willing to put into it.

How has your career changed from when you first started acting at such a young age, and how do you hope to evolve in the next few years?
I started when I was twelve so I’d say it’s evolved quite a bit! One thing I’d say is that I’m much more deliberate in my process and preparation now. It’s been a fierce education and I’m learning better how to get as much as I can out of it, learn as much as I can from each job and each person I work with.

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Studio Photoshoots > Outtakes & Sessions > 2018 > Session 005

THE LAST MAGAZINE – Acting is not a game of make-believe for Lucy Boynton, star of the new film Bohemian Rhapsody. No newcomer to the scene, her lead role opposite Rami Malek as Queen’s Freddie Mercury proves the New York-born, London-raised actor is destined for success.

In the biopic, directed by Bryan Singer of X-Men fame, the 24-year-old Boynton plays Mary Austin, Mercury’s wife and longtime muse who inspired the ballad “Love of My Life.” The hotly anticipated film follows the founding of British rock band Queen in London in the early Seventies, focusing on the life story of the icon and visionary lead singer Mercury.

At first, Boynton didn’t jump at the role, she admits. “I’m quite tentative when it comes to biopics,” she explains, “because they cross a line into intrusiveness or exposing someone who isn’t alive or around to draw a line or defend themselves.” However, upon reading the script, she changed her mind: “It’s a celebration and an ode to this person and these brilliant minds that formed Queen. It doesn’t shy away from anything.” The Fox producers called Boynton on a Tuesday, having worked closely with her on the star-studded Murder on the Orient Express the year before. She signed on the following day and just two days later, she was on a plane home to begin filming.

Boynton’s interest in acting began early, inspired by a school drama teacher who sparked a sense of wonder in her as a child. “She taught us something that I still find most fascinating about this job: You aren’t pretending to be someone else, you are really embodying this person,” she recalls. “At its best, you really step out of yourself and become the other person, which is a very strange thing to be able to teach ten-year-olds.”

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Studio Photoshoots > Outtakes & Sessions > 2018 > Session 004

CONTENT MODE Considering your formative years growing up in the UK, did that had any influence on your various roles in British centric films?
One of the reasons I’m so drawn to this job is the life-hopping, time-hopping element of it. London has always been my home so to get to explore it in new ways throughout different decades and centuries and through the eyes and experiences of such contrasting perspectives is a total thrill. It feels like a behind-the-scenes history lesson.

Can you describe the research for your role as Mary Austin in Bohemian Rhapsody which is set during an iconic time in music history ?
My first step was watching all the interviews she’s done to try and gauge what she’s happy talking about publicly, and how she spoke about some of the moments we specifically address in the film. Also it wasn’t so much about focusing on her ticks and idiosyncrasies as one might usually have to hone in on. Because I’m playing her at a time and age much earlier than the interviews were taken I focused more on how she described her experience and tried to get into the mindset of how someone innocent of hindsight might see it. And beyond that Brian May, who actually introduced Freddie and Mary to one another, was my main source of information and opinion. He was incredibly generous with his time we were so so lucky.

Mary Austin is known to be very private; were you able to meet Mary and discuss her life with Freddie Mercury? And her life without him?
Unfortunately as much as I would have liked to, and would still like to, I didn’t get the opportunity to meet Mary or have a conversation with her, which added another pressure of wanting to portray her story honestly but with as much respect to her boundaries as possible. Also because I wasn’t able to ask her about the specific moments we address I am very much aware, and hope the audience understand too, that my portrayal of her is an interpretation of her experience.

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Lucy Boynton was just 12 when she landed her first acting gig, as young Beatrix in 2006’s Miss Potter. But it wasn’t until 2016’s Sing Street—from Once director John Carney—that she really found her groove. “Because I started at such a young age, I went in with a ‘take what comes, do what I’m told’ approach,” says Boynton, now 24. “Sing Street was the first time I’d worked so collaboratively. [Carney] would say, ‘I hate this scene—let’s rewrite the whole thing.’ The amount of control he gave the actors was amazing.” Boynton, who was born stateside to travel-writer parents and moved to the U.K. at age 5, calls those two films “bookmarks” in a résumé that also includes the BBC’s 2008 Sense & Sensibility miniseries and last year’s Murder on the Orient Express.

This fall, Boynton stars opposite Rami Malek in the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. She plays Mary Austin, the Queen frontman’s longtime companion, confidante, and muse, whose place in Mercury’s story is often overlooked. “Their relationship was such an exquisite thing to explore—how deeply supportive they were of bringing out in each other the most honest and real versions of themselves,” Boynton says. Before Bohemian Rhapsody hits theaters, on November 2, Boynton portrays the daughter of an early-20th-century cult leader in the Netflix thriller Apostle, which starts streaming October 12. “The difference between the two demonstrates my favorite thing about this job,” she says. “You get to live so many lives.”

Boynton’s Netflix run continues with The Politician, an upcoming comedy series that’s part of Ryan Murphy’s buzzed-about nine figure move to the streaming giant. (The series also stars Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt and, reportedly, Barbra Streisand and Gwyneth Paltrow.) “It’s kind of terrifying,” Boynton says with a laugh. “It’s impossible not to be aware of the Ryan Murphy empire, but he is so kind and funny, and you feel in such safe hands every day.” As for roles Boynton would love to tackle, there’s a when rather than a who on her bucket list. “It was a bit of a whirlwind year in terms of jumping in and out of different time periods, but I haven’t done anything in the Jazz Age,” she says. “I’d love to do that.”

THE TELEGRAPH – After production ended on Lucy Boynton’s latest film, Bohemian Rhapsody, the 24-year-old British actress was surprised to find herself dating Freddie Mercury.

The film begins in 1970 when Farrokh Bulsara, a Zoroastrian Indian immigrant (played by Rami Malek), is working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. By the final scene, set 15 years later, he has become Queen’s lead singer, performing a Live Aid set watched by a packed Wembley Stadium and a TV audience of 1.9 billion. When filming wrapped in February, Boynton and Malek started seeing each other.

After watching the film, it’s impossible to imagine anyone but Malek as Mercury, who died of Aids-related pneumonia in 1991 at the age of 45; the 37-year-old American actor disappears entirely into the role. Learning to speak – and sing – through prosthetic teeth was only a small step on the way to a transformative performance that Brian May, Queen’s guitarist, has called “flawless”.

“He became Freddie so closely that I assumed many of those idiosyncrasies must be his own,” says Boynton. “Then we started hanging out, and I realised that he could not be more different. Having got to know him better, and then gone back to watch the film, I just think… how?”

In Bohemian Rhapsody, Boynton plays Mary Austin, Mercury’s one-time fiancée, who remained his closest friend and muse long after their romance had dwindled and he was living out his true sexuality. The relationship between the two characters is the emotional heart of a film that has had a far from straightforward journey to the screen.

Talk of a Mercury biopic first began in 2008, to be scripted by The Crown’s Peter Morgan and produced by two of the surviving members of Queen, May and the drummer Roger Taylor. Two years later, Sacha Baron Cohen was said to have been cast as Mercury. But in 2013, he quit, amid reports that he wanted the film to be a “gritty, R-rated tell-all centred around the gifted, gay singer”, while May and Taylor were intent on a more respectful narrative.

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THE BEAUTIFUL MIND SERIES – Actress, Lucy Boynton, on being a woman in film and embracing the darkness in alternative selves.

Stepping in and out of other selves
When you’re becoming another human, you have to find something in them that resonates with you. But it’s not that they have to be like you. In fact what excites me most are the characters that I don’t see in myself. In no other job do you get to step in and out of other selves like this.

Why I’m drawn to the dark
There’s something dark in actors. To be able to be so transient in identity there has to be a certain amount of yourself that is – empty is the wrong word – open. You have to be an open wound. I love the darker material because it is an extreme that I don’t experience in my own life. It quenches some kind of absence in me.

The darkest character I will ever have played…
Is one I’m going to play in Medusa, an upcoming film by Osgood Perkins. He’s the director I also worked with in The Blackcoat’s Daughter and I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House. The films Osgood writes are dark and devastating but also beautiful and rooted in grief and loss. Violet, my character, is dark but only in the sense of absence of light. There’s an innocence to her darkness.

The empowering feeling of instilling fear
Being brought up as a woman, you have a sense of vulnerability projected onto you, in the way you are taught to take care of yourself walking home at night and so on. But in this film, Violet is the one the others fear. For someone who looks like me, someone you might mistake as vulnerable, it’s empowering to instil fear in others.

Wow this is dark!

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