Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   January 24, 2017

WWDThe U.K.-born actress returns to Sundance 2017 and discusses her role in Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”

Olivia Cooke had her breakout moment at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where the offbeat teen comedy “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (in which she played said girl) was scooped up by Fox Searchlight just hours after its premiere and released later that year.

“It was a turning point because before that I was getting pigeonholed really quickly as scream queen, which doing two horror movies [“The Quiet Ones” and “Ouija”] and the show ‘Bates Motel’ I could see why,” says the 23-year-old. “To get the opportunity to do a dramedy like ‘Earl’ and really show what I could do put me on the next platform.”

Indeed. At this year’s festival, Cooke is hoping to have the same luck with the psychological tale “Thoroughbred” which centers around two Greenwich, Conn., high school girls (the other played by Anya Taylor-Joy) who form a dark alliance. The film was written and directed by 27-year-old filmmaker Cory Finley.

“He’s a bit of a genius,” says Cooke. “The script was originally a play that he’d written and in three weeks he had adapted it into a screenplay and within three months of meeting him we were shooting.”

Around the same time, Cooke snagged the female lead in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming futuristic actioner “Ready Player One,” which just wrapped and is due in theaters March 2018.

“To get the call that you’re the lead in a Steven Spielberg movie was just mental. Everyone is at the height of their field and Steven is so unbelievably skilled and generous and kind. I got to do loads of stunts as well, which was really empowering and cool.”

How did she manage to swing that with no Tom Cruise-like training? “Gary Powell, the stunt coordinator, is a London lad, and I’m from Manchester so there was that like, working class girl thing going on and we had a really nice camaraderie. They were really patient and pumped me up so I felt like a superhero.”

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