Meet Anya Taylor-Joy, the actress who became the strong-willed character of every dark movie

She played the witch, the brat, the AI, and now she is set to star as a mafia lord's lover, but Anya Taylor-Joy continues to be the dark-hearted sweetheart of Tinsletown


                            Meet Anya Taylor-Joy, the actress who became the strong-willed character of every dark movie

BAFTA-recognized rising star Anya Taylor-Joy has quite a lot in her bag for the upcoming year, and she is already making headlines for her much-anticipated roles in M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming movie 'Glass', which is set to release on January 18, and BBC One's Steven Knight-created show 'Peaky Blinders'. What seems to be common in both the series regarding Taylor's role, is that the actress will once again put on her blunt expressionless face in order to portray characters who chiefly exist on the darker side of character ethos. The American-born Argentine-British actress seems to have already made a name for herself as the actress who resides in the dark corners of the script.

Taylor, who was born in Miami to a Scottish-Argentinian father and an African-Spanish-English mother, received recognition with her breakthrough role in the 2015 New England cult classic 'The Witch'. Starring alongside Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie, Taylor flew out with flying colors with her character, Thomasin, the oldest daughter in a farmer's family who fled their town in order to gain redemption from God. Taylor's take on the character's bright side as the lovable elder sister of three younger children was just as authentic as her portrayal of her character's internal conflicts when she is blamed of mastering witchcraft by the rest of her clan.

Taylor received much appreciation for her role as the decisive witch in the 2015 cult classic. (IMDb)
Taylor received much appreciation for her role as the decisive witch in the 2015 cult classic. (IMDb)

The movie saw her bagging several awards including Best Female Newcomer by the British magazine Empire, Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Actress, Seattle Film Critics Awards for Best Youth Performance. Taylor took her serious-faced, dark character to a whole new level when she took up the lead role in the 2016 Luke Scott-directed sci-fi thriller 'Morgan'. As a genetically evolved human being, Morgan's character seemed to be drawn out of Ava, the AI character played by Alicia Vikander in the 2014 movie 'Ex Machina'. However, Morgan had far darker shades to herself than Ava and Taylor turned out to be just the perfect fit due to her ability to portray her characters as sympathetically dangerous.

Morgan seemed to be the replica (but with darker shades) of Ava. (IMDb)
Morgan seemed to be the replica (but with darker shades) of Ava. (IMDb)

With 'Morgan', Taylor's career trajectory took a new and more welcoming turn when she was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2017, the same year when she was also nominated for Gold Derby Awards Best Breakthrough Performer and Young British/Irish Performer of the Year by the London Critics Circle. With the citizenships of both America and England, and coming from a mixed background, for the longest time the insomniac actress found it hard to fit in, and let's just say her real-life struggle as an outcast pleading to be accepted in society finds its true mirth in all the characters that she plays.

However, Taylor truly outdid herself when she starred as the child abuse victim Casey, in M. Night Shyamalan's 2016 movie 'Split'. As the second installment in Shyamalan's super-hero universe, 'Split' followed the murderous Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by James McAvoy, a man suffering from dissociated identity disorder who kidnapped Casey and her friends. As the only survivor to the Beast's (one of Kevin's 24 identities) wrath, Casey emerged as the true hero of the story while Kevin filled up the spot for the anti-hero. A relatively quieter role than her previous ones, Taylor seemed to have mastered the art of darkness that so often shades her characters.

Her skill as an actress was in full exposure when she took up the role of Casey in 'Split' (IMDb)
Her skill as an actress was in full exposure when she took up the role of Casey in 'Split' (IMDb)

The same darkness lingered when she starred in the 2018 movie 'Marrowbone', which followed a family and their encounters with the paranormal being residing in their home. Although Taylor's role wasn't quite as gloomy as the previous ones, the movie in itself served as a catalyst to bring out the shady portions of her otherwise cheerful character in the film. The feat to play realistically optimistic characters continued when Taylor fitted into the shoes of Lily, in the 2018 movie 'Thoroughbred', as the rich teenager who in spite of having it all tends to overthink matters. Unlike her typecast roles, Lily was a breath of fresh as it did not require Taylor to maintain a serious face but it was necessary for her to hold on to her graveside in order to portray the character's struggles.

'Thoroughbred' was a comparatively less serious role for Taylor. (IMDb)
'Thoroughbred' was a comparatively less serious role for Taylor. (IMDb)

As much as 2018 has been quite a successful year for the actress who herself is a believer of supernatural beings, the upcoming year will be just as crafty as the previous. Taylor is set to resume her role as Casey in Shyamalan's final installment in the 'Unbreakable' trilogy 'Glass'. Starring James McAvoy (as Kevin), Bruce Willis (as David Dunn), and Samuel L. Jackson (as Elijah "Mr. Glass" Pierce), the film will see the three unnatural human beings come to a showdown where they will either emerge as villains or as celebrated heroes. We will probably see Taylor's Casey once again act as a foil to Kevin, just as she had done in 'Split'.

The actress already has two big roles pending for 2019. (IMDb)
The actress already has two big roles pending for 2019. (IMDb)

Taylor will also be starring in BBC One's hit show 'Peaky Blinders', which follows the plight of the criminal Shelby family who are on their way to legitimize their business of gambling. While not much is known about her character in the show, it is assumed that Taylor's character will probably turn out to be the new love interest for the protagonist, Thomas Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy. With 'Glass' set to release on January 18, and 'Peaky Blinder's season five hitting the small screen sometime during late Spring, we hope that Taylor will once again bring that unique touch to her characters which make them exclusively hers.