AC­TION HERO­INE

THE STAR OF THIS SEA­SON’S BIG­GEST MOVIES ON THE BEST AD­VICE JARED LETO EVER GAVE HER.

ELLE (Canada) - - Style -

this is what Annabelle Wallis’ idea of the per­fect Satur­day looks like: “I’ve got friends coming over, and we’re go­ing to talk about projects we want to do to­gether. I’m go­ing to be tak­ing lots of pic­tures, and we’ll go in the wa­ter, surf and pad­dle­board and have some rosé on the beach. And then we’ll have a bon­fire.” h

This sum­mer, two ac­tresses and an artist put their own spin on some clas­sics.

For Wallis, a Bri­tish ac­tress best known for her roles as Grace Burgess on the BBC hit Peaky Blin­ders and Jane Sey­mour on The Tu­dors, this scene from a Cal­i­for­nia tourism ad isn’t just idle day­dream­ing; it’s what she ac­tu­ally plans to do the next day. “I’ve sent out, like, 10 texts this morn­ing say­ing ‘If you’re around, come over,’” says Wallis over the phone from her home in Mal­ibu, Calif. “I want to see ev­ery­one be­cause I know it’s go­ing to be a busy time. These mo­ments be­come pre­cious.”

That “busy time” the 32-year-old is re­fer­ring to? Well, she’s got two films coming out this sum­mer: She stars op­po­site Char­lie Hun­nam in the his­tor­ical epic King Arthur: Leg­end of the Sword, out on May 12, and she plays an ar­chae­ol­o­gist who ac­ci­den­tally “un­leashes” a rather un­dead Egyp­tian princess in a re­make of The Mummy (with Tom Cruise), out in June. Al­though this take on the hor­ror clas­sic in­cludes changes to the geopo­lit­i­cal map since the 1932 orig­i­nal—her char­ac­ter is in the Mid­dle East pro­tect­ing her­itage sites from ISIS, for ex­am­ple— Wallis says that it’s mostly just a lov­ing homage to the ac­tion films that were old Hol­ly­wood’s bread and but­ter. “It’s tak­ing the cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ence we grew up with and re­shap­ing and re­form­ing it for a so­phis­ti­cated au­di­ence,” she ex­plains.

In ad­di­tion to helm­ing two of the sum­mer’s box­of­fice tent poles, Wallis has pro­duc­ing in her sights and is busy look­ing into “buy­ing rights to books and things.” She’s been read­ing a lot lately, re­vis­it­ing the likes of Austen, Chekov and Shake­speare, all of which she was first ex­posed to in high school.

I of­ten feel like I read those books too young. Like they were wasted on 15-year-old me!

“You’re right! I re­mem­ber just hat­ing go­ing to school be­cause I felt I had bet­ter things to do and read­ing a book was a real bur­den. Now that I’m reread­ing these old texts, I see the beauty in the lay­ers of emo­tion that I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand at the time.”

Speak­ing of lay­ers, you’ve been act­ing for over 10 years. Why are you mak­ing the kinds of role choices you are now?

“When you get to the point where you have free­dom of choice, I think, for me, it’s very im­por­tant that I present women in the way that I know them. My best friends are ac­com­plished women: One just be­came the head per­son on the refugee coun­cil for ba­si­cally all the coun­tries that Trump has banned, and an­other went into the Ama­zon and doc­u­mented a tribe for the first time in 50 years.”

Have you ever felt pres­sure to take a role just be­cause it’s a job?

“Jared Leto is one of my best friends, and he once told me: ‘Annabelle, film is for­ever. What you leave be­hind stays for­ever.’ I think about that all the time. I’ve done enough ter­ri­ble things that will be around for­ever. If I get a voice, I need to make sure I use my brain, my words, my in­tel­lect and my world view in a way I’m proud of.”

And that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean only tak­ing on hefty, “se­ri­ous” parts.

“It doesn’t mean be­ing a snob! But it’s very ob­vi­ous when you read some­thing and you feel un­com­fort­able about the way you or an­other woman in it is feel­ing. I mean, I don’t have a prob­lem with nu­dity if it serves a pur­pose; if it’s there for the right rea­sons, you go into it with­out even think­ing twice. But noth­ing gra­tu­itous. No­body needs that any­more.”

So what do we need more of? What’s the first thing that comes to mind for your dream project?

“I’d say a battlefield in the high­lands of Scot­land, like a Wil­liam Wal­lace but with me as Wil­liam. I’d have a fe­male bat­tal­ion with all the greats—Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Port­man—bat­tling to­gether for sur­vival.” It sounds like a fem­i­nist Brave­heart. “We can dab­ble in some ex­tra-tal­ented men—we could have a DiCaprio in there. There’s def­i­nitely room for a Gosling. And Javier Bar­dem. It would be like those Christ­mas com­edy en­sem­bles where ev­ery­one has a cameo but with pe­riod sav­agery.” So like Love Ac­tu­ally but with blood? “Love Ac­tu­ally but with a bit of a fight, be­cause I’m a tomboy. I have to have a bit of rough-and-tum­ble in there. Also, think of that af­ter-work en­vi­ron­ment! All of those peo­ple down at the pub af­ter work would work re­ally well in my life.” n

Wallis (and, above, with Tom Cruise) in The Mummy

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