Inside suite of the Ritz, English actress and the face of Clash de Cartier, Kaya Scodelario, stands out among its interior and blue satin armchairs.
There is something about her gestures and almost aristocratic aura that blends very well with the decor, but her look says something else – raw, unrefined and almost severe.
Since the English TV drama series Skins, where she played Effy Stonem, the rebellious teenager who fascinated all girls of her age, Kaya Scodelario is still where we do not expect her to be. Playing Catherine in a film adaptation of the Wuthering Heights (2011), a Disney heroine in the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean (2017) and a survivor in the saga Maze Runner (2018), the beautiful 27-year-old Anglo-Brazilian already has 16 feature films, a marriage with Benjamin Walker and a child on the clock, and she has not planned to slow down.
This year, she leads again with Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a Joe Berlinger's biopic on serial killer Ted Bundy, who has just debuted on Netflix. She plays Carol Ann Boone, the murderer's last wife before he was executed in 1989 in Florida, and became pregnant while on death row.
To prepare for the role, Kaya studied rare interviews with Carol Ann: "She voluntarily disappeared after her husband's execution, I was never able to talk to her. It's complicated because I had a responsibility to her, I had to represent her honestly. With the archives, I could learn her gestures and understand her voice."
She also met several women who were infatuated with criminals while they were behind bars:" They have always fascinated me, there is something so human in there."
In taking on this role, the actress wanted to do something different. Even more surprising is that she is cast in the horror film Crawl, directed by Alexandre Aja (in theatres in July 2019), where she confronts alligators in an abandoned house in Florida.
She says, "I wanted my son to see a movie where I do not kiss anyone, where I am neither the woman nor the girlfriend of someone. And where I fight."
The actress has things to say about the place of women in Hollywood, and she could be one of those who will change the game in the future. She chimes in saying, "I want to produce. It has always been my dream. I meet so many women who have the ideas, the talent and the abilities, but to whom doors were often closed. I would like to work with them, build something from A to Z. "
Kaya Scodelario has the ideas in place, the means as well. Until now, she had never officially lent her image to a brand, but this year, she finally chooses to work with Cartier. She says, "I wanted to be sure to adhere to the ethics of the company. I find it very important."
After the launch of Clash de Cartier in Paris, the new line of Cartier jewellery that she endorses, she goes back to train on ice skating for her other new leading role in Spinning Out, a new Netflix series where she plays a young figure skater.
This is the first time in almost ten years that she returns to the small screen for a series. "Things have changed a lot. I was quite worried about the pace of filming but I really enjoyed being thrown right in. I'm lucky enough to have a fairly intuitive game."
She owes it to Skins in 2007, where she was playing a troubled teenager, which can be a double-edged sword for a 14-year-old girl. "I have lived through it for a long time. It was the case of all the actors. We played teens of our ages who fell in love and were heartbroken and we lived the same thing. It was probably a little therapeutic. In any case, it helped me develop a very frontal game."
Since then, the Skins team has taken the lead. Nicholas Hoult scored a lead role in the X-Men franchise, Dev Patel has scored a serious of award-winning roles including Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, and Daniel Kaluuya is everywhere: Black Mirror, Get Out, Black Panther. Ten years on from Skins, the group still each other every day and get together as often as possible.
To believe that mastering the role of the average teenager can lead one so far and teach strong human values, Kaya understood that keeping feet on the ground in Hollywood has never been easy, but she certainly seem like she has got it under wraps.
Translation by Calvin Chong.