Anya Taylor-Joy Recalls Key Scene From The Witch She Asked The Director To Change, And I’m Glad She Spoke Up

 Anya Taylor-Joy choosing to live "deliciously," in A24's The VVitch.
Anya Taylor-Joy choosing to live "deliciously," in A24's The VVitch.

Anya Taylor-Joy has become a household name with her mesmerizing performances in movies and TV shows like The Queen’s Gambit, Emma, and Last Night in Soho. But it was her breakout role in Robert Eggers’ chilling 2015 film The Witch that first showcased her immense talent. The actress recently opened up about a pivotal moment during the filming of terrifying film that prompted her to discuss a change with Eggers. And I'm so glad she did, because it not only highlighted her dedication to her craft but also showcased her willingness to stand up for her character’s integrity.

In a recent video interview with British GQ, where the Northman actress breaks down her most iconic characters, which hail from some of Anya Taylor-Joy's best movies, she shared an insightful behind-the-scenes story about a critical scene in the Puritan period piece. Her revelation sheds light on her early experiences in the industry and her collaboration with director Robert Eggers. She shared her instinctual understanding of her character, Thomasin, and how she influenced a significant change in the film’s portrayal of female emotions. According to the actress:

I remember having a really important conversation with Rob, where there’s a moment where Thomasin’s been accused of doing everything, and she’s trying to tell her parents and it’s actually the twins and that they’re making this covenant with the devil. And Rob had written that I was hysterically crying, and I just couldn’t get there, which was weird for me because tears come relatively easily. And I just looked at Rob and I was like, ‘She’s angry. We have to stop pushing this narrative that we just cry all the time. Like, she’s so angry right now.’

The star's candid discussion with, at the time, first-time horror director Robert Eggers about her character’s emotional state was critical to the film, in this fan's eyes. It not only altered how the scene was shot but also how the audience perceived Thomasin’s journey. Instead of a display of helplessness, the scene transformed into a powerful assertion of the young girl’s frustration and strength. This adjustment brought a deeper complexity to her character, resonating strongly with viewers who appreciated the nuanced performance. The Dune: Part Two actress continued:

Having that conversation with him and kind of sticking up for my character in a way really set a precedent for me. I loved it when the film came out, Rob came up to me and said, ‘You were right.’

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch
Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch

It's truly remarkable that a young actress, early in her career, had the courage to advocate for her character and their truthful portrayal. Her interaction with the eventual Lighthouse helmer surely set a precedent for her future roles, ensuring that she would continue to bring authenticity and depth to her performances. The Princess Peach performer's insistence on capturing Thomasin’s anger instead of defaulting to tears challenged traditional portrayals of female characters and contributed to the film’s overall impact.

The Witch is one of A24's best horror movies and a tremendous slow-burn horror. Anya Taylor-Joy's performance is incredible. The film tells an important story through scares and represents Taylor-Joy's behind-the-scenes prowess, highlighting the power of collaboration and the importance of trusting one's instincts. Even early in her career, she had a strong sense of her characters and wasn't afraid to voice her thoughts, ultimately strengthening the final product. This is significant for the horror movie genre, which often sidelines the nuanced emotional landscapes of its female characters.

Anya Taylor-Joy's star power keeps climbing, thanks not only to her incredible talent but also to her genuine dedication to her craft. You can catch this in-demand actress by revisiting her star-making turn in The Witch, which is streaming with a Max subscription. You can also see her in George Miller’s newly released Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, where she shines in some intense action sequences, including one that’s nearly 15 minutes long.

Finally, forget to check out our 2024 movie schedule to see what other exciting films are coming to theaters near you.