'The Little Drummer Girl': Meet Florence Pugh, the star of John Le Carre's latest TV series adaptation
Florence Pugh has played many characters, but the common factor uniting them is their strength and will to stand their ground.
Though Florence Pugh might consider it "ridiculous" that she is being compared to her childhood inspiration, Kate Winslet, the 22-year-old actor is right now one of BBC's most sought after actresses.
In director Park Chan-wook's adaptation of John Le Carre's 1983 novel, 'The Little Drummer Girl', Pugh plays aspiring actor Charlie Ross. As a bold yet naive woman, Charlie is a liberal-leftist who finds herself in the middle of a project led by Mossad agents, Marty Kutrz (played by Michael Shannon) and Becker (played by Alexander Skarsgard).
As a rising star, Pugh already has quite a number of films to her credit. The Oxford-born actress, who has been performing in theatres since an early age landed her first role on the big screen with Carol Morley's British indie drama, 'The Falling' in 2014.
She starred in it alongside 'Game of Thrones' actress Maisie Williams, and was hailed as the next Kate Winslet. Speaking of her audition clip, director Morley had said then, "We’ve got goosebumps; that was like a young Kate Winslet walking into the room."
Although Pugh herself claims that it has been quite a "shocker", "I was like: that is the most ridiculous claim. Amazing, obviously. She’s been my idol since I re-enacted 'Titanic' and fell in love with Leo. And it’s a privilege to be called the next anything. But I suppose to be the next you is all you can do. If I can make my mark just a little bit, then great.”
Landing the 'Falling' role while she was still studying at St.Edwards in Oxford, made Pugh's career go sky high. The actress went on to play the role of Cara Thomas in the first series of the Anna Friel-led detective drama, 'Marcella', which debuted on ITV in 2016.
In the same year, Pugh landed till now career-defining role in William Oldroyd's 2016 movie 'Lady Macbeth'. The surreal tale, which was based on Nikolai Leskov’s 19th-century novella 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk' (itself was loosely based on Shakespeare's celebrated female character, Lady Macbeth), saw Pugh play Katherine, a rebellious young woman who tries to break away from the shackles of her abusive husband which ultimately results in a dark and twisted tale of betrayal and murder.
Pugh, who has been an ardent admirer of the #MeToo movement, loved playing the role which, according to her, depicts "a very modern woman." While her character in 'The Little Drummer Girl', too, holds traits that portray her as a modern woman, Pugh has always been excited to work in an industry which is now paying heed to gender expectations and things are gradually taking a turn for the better.
Speaking with RadioTimes the actress had said, "Even at the age of 20, I knew there was something up and it had needed fixing for a long time and I was very lucky not to be affected by it. But what an amazing time – this is the beginning of my career, so many things have changed and I get to say I was there from that point.”
While the last two years have been quite successful for the actress who won the Evening Standard award for Most Promising Newcomer and the Best Actress gong at the British Independent Film Awards, 2018 has been quite a busy year for the BAFTA nominated actress.
Before taking up the role as Charlie Ross in 'The Little Drummer Girl', Pugh had appeared in Liam Neeson thriller 'The Commuter' as Gwen, following which she also starred as the brave-hearted Cordelia in BBC's brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, 'King Lear'.
It was also the time when Pugh met her idol, Emma Thompson, who apart from playing Goneril in 'Harry Potter' is also known for advocating many causes, and is a priminent voice in the #MeToo campaign.
Speaking about meeting Thompson, Pugh told the Guardian, "The industry was so sad and so desperate for leadership that to come into work and be around Emma, and Emily Watson and that loud female wisdom all day was so powerful. There wasn’t a day she didn’t educate me on something, or give me a book or podcast to listen to."
Coming to the industry at a time when new horizons are opening up and the industry turning more inclusive, 'The Little Drummer Girl' actress has her plate full. Following her role in the BBC/AMC collab drama, the 'Lady Macbeth' actress headed to Netflix's 14th century period drama 'Outlaw King' which will premiere in the US on November 9.
Pugh plays Elizabeth de Burgh, the wife to Chris Pine's Robert the Bruce, yet another powerful role for the young actress.
Pugh is also set to play a wrestler alongside former WWE star Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson, in the upcoming 2019 movie 'Fighting With My Family,' which is based on the 2012 documentary 'The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family', directed by Max Fisher. Considering her role in the Stephen Merchant film, Park had apparently introduced a wrestling scene in 'The Little Drummer Girl' to create space for Pugh to show off her athletic skills.
Watch the trailer of the movie here:
After that, Pugh will head up for a challenging role in the 'Hereditary' director, Ari Aster's upcoming horror movie, 'Midsommar'.
While Pugh herself has been living off her bags on the road due to her busy schedule, her character Charlie has already set out on an adventure involving love, crime, and betrayal.
Just like her character, Lady Macbeth, Pugh finds her character equally daunting yet ordinary as a person, and she cannot wait to see how her character evolves. "I would love it if she grew and if we followed her again because she’s such an interesting character and by the end of the series she’s been through so much, and she’s dealt with so much for a normal person. I would love to see what happens next."
'The Little Drummer' airs on Sundays at 9 pm on BBC 1.