Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   October 10, 2020

Olivia Cooke: ‘Colm Meaney does everything with a wink and it’s so delicious’

The Manchester actor on making the leap to Hollywood, and starring in new Irish-set film Pixie

Lockdown has been a strange time for everyone, including Olivia Cooke. At 26, the star of ITV’s Vanity Fair and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One hasn’t had a fallow month in some eight years. Not working has been quite an adjustment.

“I haven’t worked in a year,” says the British actor. “I’m going a bit mad. I have a weird PTSD reaction to the sound Netflix makes when it turns on. During lockdown I got so lonely I went on Instagram for the first time. I like seeing what Bernie is saying but I’m done with it now. There’s something about my algorithm. It keeps showing me toenails with fungus and teeth-whitening treatments. Why do you keep showing this to me?”

Even if she isn’t travelling and shooting, Cooke has plenty of projects to promote. Last year she played a pregnant homeless woman giving her baby up for adoption in John Carney’s romantic comedy series Modern Love. Sound of Metal, a drama starring Riz Ahmed as a drummer losing his hearing and Cooke as his singing girlfriend, will premiere on Amazon Prime this December.

Before that there’s Pixie, a kinetic, post-Tarantino crime caper from Barnaby Thompson, the producer of Wayne’s World and director of the St Trinian’s movies.

Pixie (Cooke in the title role) is a young Northern Irish woman out to avenge her mother’s death. But when her scheme hits a snag, she finds herself on the run – and part of a romantic threesome – with two young men (Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack). Along the way, they encounter Pixie’s crime boss, amateur chef dad (Colm Meaney), a sarcastic drug dealer (Dylan Moran), and a gang of mobster priests led by Alec Baldwin.

“It was so much fun,” says Cooke. “It was a bit debauched, actually. This is my first straight-up comedy that I’ve done. I had heard that those are the most stressful kinds of films to make because you’re constantly worried about whether it’s funny. But luckily the mad tone of the film carried off and on the screen.”

She was impressed by co-star Meaney, who, she says, “does everything with a wink and it’s so delicious”, and was even more impressed by her surroundings. Made with support from Northern Ireland Screen, Pixie was shot around Belfast with additional photography in the west of Ireland.

“We went on a bit of a road trip around Sligo,” says Cooke. “I felt this a lot during lockdown, that in Britain and Ireland we’re really lucky to have such gorgeous landscapes. The Republic of Ireland is so stunning. It’s so lush you feel like you’re in New Zealand sometimes.”

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Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   October 03, 2020

6 HQ stills from PIXIE have been added to the gallery.

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   September 24, 2020

1 scan from Total Film (October 2020) has been added to the gallery

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   September 15, 2020

Pixie (Olivia Cooke) wants to avenge her mother’s death by masterminding a heist, but her plans go awry and she finds herself on the run with two young men (Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack) who are way out of their depth being chased across the Wild Irish countryside by… deadly gangster priests. She has to pit her wits against everyone, taking on the patriarchy to claim the right to shape her own life.

The film opens in UK cinemas October 23rd

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   September 12, 2020

OLIVIA COOKE had no concerns about taking the leading role in a film populated almost entirely by men. She plays the title character in director Barnaby Thompson’s belly-laughinducing black comedy Pixie, which opens on October 23.

‘Ever since I started work, it’s been a bit of a boys’ club,’ said the 26year-old from Royton, who attended the Oldham Theatre Workshop from the age of eight. There are three other, much smaller, female roles, but that’s it. Cooke was not fazed. ‘I’ve inherently just been able to combat that quite easily,’ she told me, ‘to the point where the director, Barnaby, said to me: “You’re a bit scary, Olivia.” And I was like: “OK.” ’ She snorted. ‘Boys are easy to get onside a lot of the time.’ Olivia plays Pixie, a young woman on the lam in Ireland pursued by a host of characters who wish her ill. They include

Alec Baldwin as a drug kingpin who does double duty as a Catholic priest; Colm Meaney as her gangster stepfather; Dylan Moran as a cocaine dealer; plus youngsters Fra Fee, Chris Walley and Rory Fleck Byrne.

Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor in Bohemian Rhapsody) and Daryl McCormack are the unfortunate lads Pixie takes on the road with her. Earlier, one of them warns that she’ll ‘take a Kalashnikov to your heart’.

Cooke laughed when I mentioned that line, but Pixie’s got more of the femme fatale about her than she might like to admit.

Director Thompson, who made the film using a screenplay written by his son, Preston, said the actress was blessed with an ‘endearing cheekiness’. And it’s true; there’s an energy about her that comes across on screen.

Thompson added that while cast and crew were based in Belfast for two months, Cooke acted as a sort of concierge for the ensemble, sussing out ‘hotspots’ (her term) where they could hang out and socialise after filming.

‘That’s a reputation, isn’t it?’ she quipped. ‘We were all a away from home . . . it’s nice to break bread at the end of the day. I think maybe, much like my character, I have to find a bit of lightness wherever I can.’

I’ve watched Cooke over the years, on TV (The Secret Of Crickley Hall, Bates Motel, Vanity Fair) and in films (Ready Player One). But she’s at her best here, enjoying being two steps ahead of the blokes.

She puts her comic touch d down to her upbringing in the North West. ‘All my best friends, who I grew up with, are so funny; and they’re a little bit older than me; so I feel like I copied their personality a and made it my own as well.’