Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   January 22, 2015

Olivia Cooke, 21
Gersh, the U.K.’s Shepherd Management, Luber Roklin

Six months ago, Cooke shaved off her luscious auburn locks to play a teen with cancer in the film adaptation of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. “While I was in the bubble of the film, it didn’t feel like a huge thing, but when I came out of the film, that’s when it was more difficult,” says the English actress, who lives at home with her mom in Manchester when she’s not on set in Canada shooting A&E’s Bates Motel (she plays Emma, a teen with cystic fibrosis). Cooke, who starred in Universal’s horror film Ouija, has also nabbed a coveted role in Paramount’s big Ben-Hur remake, slated to shoot early this year.

Memorable moment shooting the movie: “There were a few. I’d just shaved my head and there’s a scene when I’m in the bed when Greg [Thomas Mann] comes to visit me and tries to make light of the situation. It was really difficult.”

Memorable audition: “There was an audition for a remake of a Disney film, a live-action adaptation. I think I was the first person in the room, and the director kept saying, ‘Be more magical! Be magical!’ and I didn’t know how to be magical. I was trying to widen my eyes more, but it was just not working.”

Role models: “I love Kate Winslet. I think as far as role models go, she and Carey Mulligan; they’re so wonderful and understated. It seems effortless.”

Best advice: “On my first film, The Quiet Ones, I had to do this quite taxing scene and it involved nudity, and I told Jared Harris I was so afraid. And he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.’ And I think that applies to anything. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you, or make you feel extremely uncomfortable.”

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing? “Probably a jewelry maker. I’ve just started trying my hand at making jewelry. Just really delicate rings and necklaces. I’m saying this — but I’ve only made one ring.”

TV show you can’t miss: “Peaky Blinders. And Broadchurch.”

Immediate career goal: “I’d like to not play a girl with an ailment again. (Laughs.) I’m being typecast — I think I must really look really sick. It’s always a challenge and I’m really happy to get those characters, but I’d like to maybe play someone healthy. Maybe an athlete!”

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