Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   April 04, 2021

Olivia Cooke on the Oscar-nominated Sound of Metal and the pressures of being a woman on set
The Oldham-born actress is best known for playing Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. Now Olivia Cooke, 27, is starring in an Oscar hopeful and preparing for a Game of Thrones spin-off.

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   March 27, 2021

2 scans from ELLE UK April 2021 have been added to the gallery

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   March 07, 2021

“Game of Thrones ? Bit nervous about it”
How Olivia Cooke ditched A-Levels, got snubbed by Rada – then landed a role in TV’s hottest prequel

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   November 10, 2020

SQUAREMILEOlivia Cooke has established herself as a star of film and TV on both sides of the Atlantic – and she’s still only 26. With two new films out this winter, the Oldham actress sits down with Max Williams to talk politics, lockdown and hangovers

Olivia Cooke in the laundry when Steven Spielberg called. An actual launderette – she was living in New York City at the time, 21 years old, starring in the TV series Bates Motel. And her phone went off and the most famous director in the world – history? – was on the other end.

‘Hi Olivia, Steven here…’

“It’s just mad,” recalls Cooke. “You’re just doing the most normal stuff and then you get a call that could potentially change your life. It’s never the environment that you imagine it to be in. It’s so exciting and so surprising, but also quite mundane as well.”

Spielberg was calling to tell Cooke that she had landed a lead role in his giddy love letter to 1980s’ pop culture Ready Player One, a CGI extravaganza that would gross nearly $600m worldwide. The film came out in 2018, the same year Cooke won plaudits for her Becky Sharp in ITV’s much-ballyhooed adaptation of Vanity Fair. Roll out the red carpet? Not quite.

“My life didn’t really change,” says Cooke, cheerfully. “It helped me get other jobs and things but it was quite humbling in a way as well. You’re still out there, you’re still auditioning for things. Your life doesn’t suddenly change because you’ve been in a Steven Spielberg movie. You’ve still gotta prove yourself. To teach me that at a young age was probably quite good.”

She’s been proving herself ever since she caught the acting bug after school at Oldham Theatre Workshop north east of Manchester.

She later dropped out of sixth form to play Christopher Eccleston’s daughter in the 2012 drama Blackout, landed the Bates Motel role a year later, and has racked up a string of critically acclaimed films including Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), The Limehouse Golem (2016), and Thoroughbreds (2017), Oh, and that one with Steven what’s-his-face. Put colloquially, she’s been smashing it from day dot. Aged 26, there’s plenty of smashing still to come.

Short term, Cooke has two films out in consecutive months: October’s comic-thriller Pixie followed by December’s Sound of Metal. The former sees Cooke’s titular protagonist pursued by gun-toting priests across the Irish countryside; she describes it as “a fun bit of escapism. It’s a bit of a ride”, and if you haven’t yearned for some escapism these past months then congratulations on your new home on the moon.

Sound of Metal is a darker affair. Cooke plays Lou, the partner of Riz Ahmed’s tormented heavy metal drummer, a former drug addict in the process of losing his hearing. (Fewer gun-toting priests in this one, an omission generally to the detriment of any narrative but Sound of Metal pulls it off.) Both fantastic for different reasons, the two films serve as a perfect one-two demonstration of Cooke’s versatility and ever-increasing star wattage.

And make no mistake, Olivia Cooke is a star, although she certainly wouldn’t consider herself one. “I know my career’s successful and stuff, but I don’t hang around in those circles,” she says at one point. ‘Those circles’ being the glossy haired, gleaming toothed denizens of the Hollywood Hills. “I very much live in reality. Apart from my job, my life is very normal.” Read More

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   October 14, 2020

METRO.CO.UKPixie’s Olivia Cooke on why you don’t have to be posh to act – and how she once got a piggyback from Harry Styles

Right now, the British film industry could do with Olivia Cooke as their poster girl.

The delightfully frank actress has been on a one-woman mission to re-populate ailing movie houses. ‘Since cinemas have been open, I’ve been going and I felt perfectly safe,’ she tells me. ‘There are measures put in place. You are socially distanced. You are masked the whole time.’ Even so, the 26-year-old from Oldham wants more Westminster backing. ‘I just hope that there is some relief that comes from the government.’ At a time when Hollywood is shifting releases to 2021 and Cineworld is temporarily closing, it’s a relief to hear someone like Cooke sticking up for cinema.

She does have a vested interest, after all. While she rose to fame on TV – in Psycho prequel Bates Motel and Vanity Fair – she’s also played the lead in Steven Spielberg’s big-screen thriller Ready Player One, an experience so nerve-wracking ‘you’re having to take yourself to the toilet just to remind yourself to stay cool!’ Now she’s back in Pixie, a charming road movie about to park itself in cinemas.

We last met on set in Belfast – the petite Cooke looking super-cool in a red leather coat – when she’d been hanging out with Alec Baldwin, who plays a gangster priest (‘he was really hospitable’). A year on, Cooke’s back in London after giving up her New York apartment. Pixie is the last thing she did, thanks to Covid-19. ‘The whole year got decimated!’ she sighs, ‘but everyone’s in the same boat.’

A breezy comedy caper that feels like the Irish answer to True Romance, Pixie casts Cooke in the title role: a shrewd schemer who gets involved with two dopey lads (Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack) who come into possession of a stash of drugs. ‘I think her impulse for fun and adventure is very much in me and her curiosity too,’ Cooke says. ‘But I think she’s quite cutthroat… if I was that cutthroat, I’d be thinking about it for years and years.’ Like her callous student in Thoroughbreds, Pixie is another fine example of Cooke’s ability to play offbeat-but-credible women.

‘These off-kilter, messy, women – who aren’t the archetypal leading ladies – have maybe showcased what I can do a bit more than if I was just playing a run-of-the-mill manic pixie dreamgirl that was imagined from a teenage boys’ bedroom!’ Pixie also recalled women she grew up around. Like? ‘My mum, obviously. Who I think is a very strong lady. She brought up two daughters on her own [after divorcing Cooke’s father] and then my sister [Eleanor], who’s 21. Who just says it like is it. Doesn’t give a s*** about being flowery with her words or who she offends. She will just be honest to a fault, which I quite admire, even though you’ve got to have a tough skin around her.’ Cooke joined a theatre workshop when she was eight, and began auditioning a few years later, even landing in One Direction video Autumn Term, getting a piggyback ride from Harry Styles.

‘Oh God, yeah,’ she groans at the memory. ‘I was 17. They weren’t famous at all, and my Manchester agent just said it was a local pop group! I didn’t have to go into my cafe job and I got £250!’

Fortunately, she went on to bigger things, playing Christopher Eccleston’s daughter in TV drama Blackout. It was an inspirational moment meeting the former Doctor Who. ‘He’s a Salford lad. I just thought, “Oh, God, you’ve had the same beginnings as me. And you are, especially in Britain, a household name, and you stuck to the core of who you are.” I think when I did that, [acting] felt a lot more accessible.’ Prior to lockdown, Cooke worked with Riz Ahmed (the upcoming Sound of Metal), John Boyega (Naked Similarity) and Jack O’Connell (in Little Fish), all lads putting to bed the idea that you need to be posh in Britain to act. ‘Just because we didn’t go to public school, and we didn’t get the proper training at Rada doesn’t make us any less equipped for the job or make us any less intelligent,’ Cooke argues. ‘We just have a lot more life experience, which is great for the job that we do.’ Well said.

Like most of us these past months, Olivia Cooke has been sitting on her sofa doing the whole box-set thing. So what were her lockdown TV treats? First off was Normal People, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones in a painful love story. ‘Normal People came at a time when I was on my own in my flat. And I just thought “This is diabolical! What the show is doing to me shouldn’t be allowed!”’ She also loved Michaela Coel’s sex abuse drama I May Destroy You. ‘I was absolutely just blown away. I thought it was so nuanced and so beautiful. Like nothing I’d seen before.’ Then it was time for Sky Atlantic’s I Hate Suzie, with Billie Piper as an actress who gets her phone hacked. ‘It just really holds a torch to the entertainment industry and how we’re all such reprobates!’ We’re all just flailing madly trying to make sense of our lives. I mean, we all are, aren’t we? Especially this year.’