She has oodles of critical acclaim and with the huge draw from Ready Player One, Olivia Cooke is becoming an A-list actress. In the year 2018 alone, she put out 4 giant roles that would constitute an entire career. So, here’s your introduction to the British-born actress who’s been touted as "the next gig thing" for whom the term "superstardom" is being used. Her modest roots make her stupendous rise an even better story. There is nothing in her past that could be said to foretell her enormous, precocious success. There were no acting genes passed on by her parents. Her mother was a sales rep for a food manufacturer and her father is a retired cop. She remains sensitive about her natural accent which plainly reveals to the practised ear, her working-class roots of Manchester England, which she takes pains to conceal with an acquired American one. Like so many British actresses before her, she graduated from the proving-ground of the BBC’s high-quality TV series before becoming familiar to North American audiences in the A&E thriller series Bates Motel. She garnered a series of rave reviews for intense, painful roles which she has been praised for powerful, understated performances. But this list of reasons she is taking Hollywood by storm goes beyond her undeniable talent for acting. Her strong beliefs and deep conviction are already making her stand out way above the Hollywood crowd.
15 From Oldham To Hollywood In 6 Years
At least that’s how the newspaper in her hometown puts it, bursting with pride at the rapid ascent of one of their very own, Oldham being part of the suburbs of greater Manchester and Hollywood being, well, the centre of the universe. It is such a great story, it merits risking a little repetition. They see a young wannabe that had, in recent memory, been starring as Maria in the Oldham Sixth Form College’s production of West Side Story, but who in 2012 still lived in her single mother’s house with and her only not-so-close brush with stardom was a brief appearance in a One Direction video. Come 2018, she’s left the nest for America and in that short span has become an award-winning multimillionaire sought after by the biggest names in Hollywood. In fact, it read like one of those Hollywood films with the big happy ending.
14 She’s Worked With A-List Stars And Directors
You can judge where an actress is on the ladder of success by the company she keeps. And Olivia has been running with the A-listers. There is no matching the magnitude of being in a Steven Spielberg film; The Ready Player One mentioned elsewhere in this list. But even aside from that, she was hanging with the heavyweights. Not only did the 2015 release of Katie Says Goodbye change her life, she worked closely with the highly-regarded Academy-Award winning Mary Steenburgen. In the 2016 horror/ mystery film Limehouse Golem, she played alongside Bill Nigh a British institution best known in North America for his memorably crusty old rocker in Love Actually. And in the Vanity Fair TV series, she’s with Michael Palin, part of the legendary Monty Python comedy troupe.
13 Not Into The Star System
She may be star material, but she is decidedly not starstruck. She is well aware of how both fickle celebrity and public opinion can be having an almost visceral reaction as if afraid of being hurt. She told Vanity Fair she treads lightly because “because you can become unpopular so quickly.” She eschews the curated, artificial hype of social media and deleted her Instagram account. She’s used to working with big stars but doesn’t seem impressed by it telling Refinery29 that she’s “not very starry-eyed when it comes to actors and directors because you could meet someone, and they could be jerks.” She rejects the entire concept of stardom, telling Den of Geek she rejects to the “sense of entitlement with being a star. She is tenaciously holding on to the idea of being able to lead as normal a life as she can.
12 Kate Winslet Is Her Inspiration
Winslet is an Academy-Award-winning actress. In fact, Olivia finds her, “awe-inspiring” for reasons that reveal a great deal. Both are British-born with filmographies that run from Brit classics to edgy erotica, with a marked tendency to reject what IMDB calls “pretty-girl parts” in favour of “devilish damsels” which Olivia says Winslet does “frigging amazingly,” a perfect description of Olivia’s own career. The uncanniness has no end. IMDB goes on to observe that Winslet would like to describe her characters as “ballsy.” And nothing could better capture the essence of Olivia Cooke, and supports the view she will soon have one of those little statuettes, just like Ms Winslet’s
11 She’s Pals With Steven Spielberg
If she has any problems, a lack of confidence and self esteem are not among them. But she did confess to the Express that auditioning for the iconic director was nerve-wracking and elsewhere that she was shaking in her boots when reading for the superstar director. It took a couple of weeks of shooting to get over the nerves. She told Irish News she was relaxed by his charm and kindness and inspired by his “energy and zest for life. She told The Collider that Steven said he enjoyed working on her character and avatar. It is, after all, science fiction and so, it might not have been the most artistic collaboration she’ll ever have, but being on a first-name basis with the only director in history whose films have grossed $10 billion at the box office is pretty amazing.
10 She Loves Pushing the Envelope
She told Refinery29 her credo is to get “roles where I get to be raw, and no makeup and head shaved, whatever” She’s done a lot of “whatever”. In The Quiet Ones, her character seems to be possessed by a violent demonic spirit. In the award-winning Katie Says Goodbye, she plays a down-and-out waitress and assault victim who turns to the streets to escape her trailer-park destitution. In Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, she demanded her head to be shaved for the sake of credibility in her portrayal of a young woman with terminal cancer. Vanity Fair describes her character Amanda in Thoroughbreds as a budding sociopath awaiting trial for destroying her horse. There’s more, but you get the general idea. All have carried tremendous risk. But that’s her artistic comfort zone out there on the edge. The kind of difficult roles that can bring a lot of notice and awards.
9 She’s Already An Award-Winning Actress
Major publications like Grazia UK are certain that there is an Oscar with Olivia’s name in it in the near future, perhaps even for her work as one of the main characters in Thoroughbreds. But the simple fact is, she already has awards and nominations. In 2014, she won the UK Stars of Tomorrow award from Screen International. While it’s far short of an Academy Award or Golden Globe, factor in that previous winners include Emily Blunt, Emilia Clarke, and Benedict Cumberbatch. In 2017, her courageous, heart-wrenching performance as Katie in Katie Says Goodbye won Best Actress awards at International Film Festivals in Manchester, England and Newport Beach. Even at a precocious age, she is more than ready to take it to the highest level. Oscar, here she comes!
8 She Moved To The USA
You could say she’s established a beachhead to continue her invasion of Hollywood. At the ripe old age of 21, she decided it was time to move to America. The acclaim that came with her performance in Katie Says Goodbye strongly suggested her future lay in Hollywood film, the catch was, as she told Refinery29, she hated Southern California’s “beautiful Amazonian women, in their Lululemons, and Victoria’s Secret hair.” She reflected that New Yorkers in the cast and crew of Katie were “the most creative, generous people [she'd] ever met.” So she went there, to Greenpoint to be exact — an enclave of artists and hipsters in Brooklyn. She told The Telegraph she loves how people there don’t really care who you are or what you’ve been in.
7 Just A Girl From Manchester
It says something endearing about her that as W Magazine reported, when she got the call telling her she’d won a part in a movie with one of film’s living legends, Steven Spielberg, she was home doing laundry. The Telegraph called her “refreshingly self-deprecating.” They also liked how the rising star declined a studio’s offer of car and chauffeur in favour of plain old public transit.
She believes her credibility as an actress depends on not getting “too big to do normal things, like going to the store, so you can play normal people.”
She remains close to her mother who raised her and says she sometimes calls her a one the morning.
6 The Right Place At The Right Time
Even those destined for stardom can use a little luck. What seemed like setbacks became blessings. She chose not to finish her drama studies at Oldham College for a chance in a BBC mystery series, Blackout, a gamble that soon paid off. On the same day the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art turned her down, she got a part as a demon-possessed girl in the 2014 supernatural/horror film The Quiet Ones which launched a streak of roles in that genre. Not only did it lead to more work, she recalled receiving a valuable piece of advice from fellow cast member and distinguished British actor Jared Harris that she called “integral” to her career.
He told her, “Don’t let them take advantage of you.”
It made a deep and lasting impression that “a guy of his accolades saying that to me at eighteen, first film, it definitely stuck with me."
5 She Pushes Her Level Of Comfort
Like her hero Kate Winslet, she has expressed even greater disdain for the “pretty, s*xy girl” types. But as her performance as the ill-fated worker in 2016’s Katie Says Goodbye shows that by no means should she be mistaken as a prude, but rather as having a deep-seated aversion to conventional big-budget eye candy, leading-lady types. She not only accepted scandalous scenes in, she revelled in the experience. She told Refinery29 that “it was incredible(and) important, especially in America, to sort of erase the taboo of s*x and make more of a taboo of having such violence in films.” It speaks volumes of the passion she brings to her craft and life. That outspoken idealism could fit well in the new politicized atmosphere of Hollywood in the #MeToo era, raising her standing even higher than her sheer prodigious talent has already brought.
4 She's Starring In The Next Binge-Worthy Craze
Vanity Fair is a quintessentially classic English novels. Never heard of it? Yeah well, who heard of Downton Abbey before they invented binge-watching? Broadcasters around the world are leaping at the chance to buy the ITV/ Amazon co-production of the 19th-century novel starring Olivia as the iconic grasping social climber Becky Sharp. Grazia magazine already predicts it will lead to “Downton levels of ubiquity for Olivia,” meaning she will be on TV screens everywhere. What it means for her stature in Hollywood is that it nicely diversifies her already-impressive filmography. There’s nothing the studios admire more than a commercial success. It solidifies her as a bankable box-office queen, while at the same time, adding the undeniable prestige of the historic period drama for which the Brits are justifiably renowned for.
3 She’s Perfected Her American Accent
It has long been a rite of passage for foreign actors transitioning to Hollywood. For someone of Olivia’s heritage, the challenge was particularly daunting. As a native of Manchester, she was born with that distinctive accent known as the Lancashire Burr — thick as a London fog. You can get some idea watching her on IMDB TV talking about her watchlist — she likes Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Funny enough, she studied the dialogue in the Kardashians' reality show as well as Ross and Rachel in Friends reruns and it worked.
A Reddit post had high praise for her work in Ready Player One, calling her American accent "amazingly good, super cute, and s*xy. Her real British accent, not so much.”
2 No More Scream Queen In 2018
As we've outlined above, she’s become successful beyond her wildest dreams doubling down on raw, edgy roles and sci-fi thrillers. If there’s a signal as to where she goes from here it is a movie called Life Itself. It’s the place to be if you’re a movie star these days. As Hollywood Reporter puts it, “The stars are coming out for Life Itself.” Engadget calls it a multigenerational love story that spans decades and continents. Wait, it’s not just a movie. The teaser from Amazon proclaims it as a “major motion picture event." The stars are too numerous to name but include Antonio Banderas, Samuel L. Jackson and Annette Bening, the Spanish- American co-production is directed by This is Us creator, Dan Fogelman. This would appear to be Olivia adding mainstream drama to her repertoire. Because, when it comes to playing raw and edgy, she has nothing left to prove.
1 She Pushes For Equal Pay
It has been just another way the American film industry has mistreated women, by paying them much less than they’ve paid the male equivalents. Olivia told Metro News that gender pay equality will “Massively” affect who she signs with in the future, threatening to unleash her “bad-ass lawyer” make sure that never happens again.” A Twenty-something newcomer just off the boat from Britain is threatening an entrenched establishment in which until a very short time ago women felt compelled to endure sexual harassment from male executives to get work. Traditionally, young starlets would limit remarks to timid, heartfelt thanks for just getting a chance. Olivia is going where women far more senior than she, have feared to tread. She has been so impressively self-assured at a young age on screen. She has served notice that she’ll be doing that off-screen as well. Lordy, that woman is going to leave a mark.
References: simplemost.com, telegraph.co.uk, refinery29.com, vanityfair.com, metro.co.uk, engadget.com, thenorthernecho.co.uk, collider.com, telegraph.co.uk, vanityfair.com, metro.co.uk, engadget.com, reddit.com, thenorthernecho.co.uk, collider.com, olivia-cooke.com