Eighties charm is crystal clear
She was born 14 years after Jim Henson’s fantasy came out but this rising star was not going to miss out on its remake, writes David Meddows
With starring roles in box office hits such as The Witch, Split and Glass, Anya Taylor-Joy probably doesn’t need to try too hard at getting the attention of Hollywood producers. But there was one show she desperately wanted to be a part of and she was going to work to get it.
The young actor, who has at least seven more projects set for release in the near future — including the highly anticipated The New Mutants and a 2020 remake of Emma opposite Johnny Flynn — was so keen to be a part of the Jim Henson Company’s Dark Crystal revival, she sent producers multiple audition tapes.
“I think I was overeager, I sent like four different versions of what I thought Brea’s voice could be like and luckily they really liked my enthusiasm,” she laughs.
“It was just another audition prospect sent to me but when I saw the title I got so excited because I’m a big fan of the original and despite my cinematic past, I got
into film because I love fantasy adventure.”
The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance, which dropped on Netflix this week as a 10-part series, is the prequel to the popular 1982 movie from late puppetmaster Jim Henson and Death At A Funeral director Frank Oz. Set years before the events of the movie, the series has an impressive cast of voices, including Helena Bonham Carter, Taron Egerton, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg and Mark Hamill.
As is the case with other voiced films, Taylor-Joy didn’t get to meet any of her cast mates during the making of the show — not even Bonham Carter who plays her mother in the series.
“There was unfortunately no contact with them which is a shame because I’m such a big fan of everybody in my ‘family’,” she says.
The series is a throwback to the Henson artistry of the 1980s, shunning CGI for puppetry, with director Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk) saying the only digital manipulation was to remove the puppeteers. Taylor-Joy, who is the voice of Brea, a Gelfling princess of the Vapra Clan, was still 14 years away from being born when the original movie was released, but she is a big fan of the era and the movies it produced.
“Currently there’s a renaissance of the ’80s movies charm that are geared towards a younger kind of audience that have a really overwhelming universal theme of morals and adventure and loyalty and standing up for yourself and kind of sticking it to the man,” she says.
“I think that’s what Dark Crystal is, just with puppets and this fantastical world.”
She says in this day and age where “people are missing common human decency”, shows such as The Dark Crystal, which have underlying positive messages, go a long way to restoring faith in people.
“I think sending these hese messages that friendship hip prevails and sticking up for the underdog is a good thing to do,” she says. “I think people miss that because there’s a lot of negativity out there in the world right now and I think it’s nice to be able to escape in the e cinema or escape in the e comfort of your own home ome and be reminded that good ood people do exist.”
Having largely played dark characters in movies unsuitable for minors, Taylor-Joy is also looking forward to being able to watch something with her young cousins whose exposure to her career so far has been through censored trailers.
“I’ve got a couple of young cousins who I’m very close to and other than a children’s movie I just did, they haven’t been able to watch any of my work and they’re all so excited about Dark Crystal,” she says, pointing the blame at Stephen King for her caution. “I remember being a kid and seeing the first It far too early and that really scarred me for life so I’m very cautious about what I expose them to.
“I let them know the whole plot line of the movie but they just don’t have to see me killing anybody… yet.”