No more cat­walks, no more pouts, this for­mer model is giv­ing film all she’s got.

YEN - - FILM -

Abbey Lee is in a bath­tub in Los An­ge­les, soak­ing out some anger. “I had a car ac­ci­dent about two hours ago. It was bull­shit,” she says. “Me and a lady both re­versed at the same time out of these di­ag­o­nal car spots and she went bal­lis­tic as if it was my fault, I was like, ‘Lis­ten mate, that was a mu­tual col­li­sion, I am not go­ing to lis­ten to your shit.’ And she just went on. That made me pretty fu­ri­ous.” It’s a short bridge be­tween Lee’s mouth and her emo­tions. Her de­fault set­ting is raw, Daria-toned hon­esty, and whether in real life or on screen her words come out easily and with con­vic­tion – her latest film Ruben Guthrie is tes­ta­ment. Di­rected by Bren­dan Cow­ell and adapted from his orig­i­nal stage play, Lee plays the Czech model girl­friend of an advertising wun­derkind who is try­ing to deal with his al­co­hol is­sues. “I was in Africa at the time shoot­ing Mad Max and I got an email from my agent who said [Cow­ell] was in­ter­ested in see­ing a self-tape. I hes­i­tated at first, mainly be­cause it was play­ing a model, I had a bit of a prob­lem with that, be­cause I am, you know – I was very cau­tious. But af­ter I read the script I re­alised that it was ac­tu­ally a lot more than that, [I re­alised] how fuck­ing good it was.”

In the film, Ruben Guthrie tries to give up al­co­hol for love. What would Abbey Lee be will­ing to give up for the same thing? “I don’t know. To be hon­est it’s been quite a num­ber of years since I’ve felt that way about some­body so right now I don’t feel like giv­ing up any­thing.”

Lee has shot four films in the last three years, among them Mad Max and block­buster Gods of Egypt (2016) where she plays an “al­bino ser­pent-rid­ing as­sas­sin – you know, the usual,” she jokes. As a kid, she was ob­sessed with fairies and mer­maids, so it’s no sur­prise to her that the fan­tasy epics are at­trac­tive to her. “I’m very in­ter­ested in other realms, but also re­ally emo­tion­ally driven char­ac­ters, like the one that I play in Ruben Guthrie, they’re the two sides of what I like to do, so far.”

“What I love about [act­ing] is there’s so much more re­spect in the film in­dus­try, I get treated re­ally well and I have an opin­ion and I re­ally feel re­spected – and I strug­gled with that as a model, the treat­ment is just not the same, and I re­ally love that about act­ing. It’s nice to be re­spected.” If we’ve learnt one thing, it’s that Abbey Lee is not to be un­der­es­ti­mated. Or re­versed into.

Ruben Guthrie is in cine­mas from 16 July, 2015.

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