Total Film

EMILIA JONES

IS ON SONG…

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Ilove a challenge,” says Emilia Jones. “I welcome pressure.” Just as well. The 19-year-old Brit (Locke & Key) had to learn American Sign Language, trawler fishing and public singing for Sundance smash CODA, in which she plays Ruby, a would-be songstress with Deaf parents. At least being the daughter of The Snowman cherub Aled Jones might help, right?

Your director Sian Heder said you found the singing daunting. Your dad never pushed you into taking lessons?

No! My parents were the least pushy parents you’ll ever meet. There was none of that. We are a very musical family. We’re always listening to music… but I was like Ruby; I didn’t have the confidence for singing and I think CODA gave it to me. I think my dad was happy about that! Do you feel films like Sound Of Metal, A Quiet Place and now CODA are showing Deaf characters in a positive light?

Yes. A strong example of representa­tion done right is in CODA. Deaf actors play Deaf characters who are fully realised and not defined solely by being Deaf. And I think that is rare to see on screen. I think that’s another thing that drew me to this project. Sian wanted everything to be as authentic as possible.

You did bit-part roles for Paolo Sorrentino (Youth) and Ben Wheatley

(High-Rise). What did you learn?

My goodness… I feel like I learned so much being around incredible people and being in different places and working with different people and hearing different stories. I’m constantly learning on the job. And I think those films really helped me grow.

You’ve been shooting Seasons 2 and 3 of Locke & Key backto-back. How’s that been?

I feel like at this point in time, we just are our characters when we arrive on set. You kind of don’t have to think about it; you don’t have to think, ‘How would I feel at this moment?’ You just know.

ETA | 13 AUGUST / CODA IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM ON APPLE TV+ FROM NEXT MONTH.

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