EJ Moreno speaks to Saint Maud actress Morfydd Clark about her BAFTA nomination for the EE Rising Star Award…
Morfydd Clark has slowly made her name in the film industry as one of the best young actors working today. After her compelling turn in 2020’s Saint Maud, it seems like the world has noticed her power.
Clark was recently nominated for BAFTA’s EE Rising Star award. In the past, future legends like James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart, and Daniel Kaluuya have taken home this award. In our interview, the actress opens up about the nomination and what it feels like contending for the award with some of her favorite actors working today.
Congratulations on your BAFTA Rising Star Nomination. You’ve joined a long list of amazing people who’ve been nominated for this award. Has it fully hit you yet?
Um, no, I don’t think, really. I got told that I was nominated, and it definitely didn’t hit me. I just felt kind of spacey and numb. And then when I saw who I’d been nominated with, that was when I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” Like, there were actors that I obviously knew, like Kingsley and Sope. They’ve done a lot, like Sope, in particular; I’ve crossed paths with quite a few times. And then to see like these young actors doing their first jobs and like nailing it so much. To be with them, as well, was just wonderful. Yeah. So that was a big moment when I saw those names and saw their faces.
Now I know you’re super busy right now, and the world’s a little wild, but did you have any time to celebrate? Did you get to enjoy this moment? Or are you going to plan that for a little bit later?
Um, yeah, it’s definitely a surreal time for all of us. And it has felt strange experiencing very positive things in my career in a year that’s been terrible. Um, so, but I really kind of, I got such joy from, well, pretty much everything I’ve done, but particularly the stuff that came out in 2020. The experience of doing those jobs was wonderful; this is just like an amazing extra bonus.
I am happy to speak with you about Saint Maud because I talked to Rose Glass last year and told her it was one of my absolute favorite horror films in quite some time, with your performance being the highlight of it.
Have you always been fond of horror films, or was that something that kind of came along when you played Maud herself?
Um…so fond isn’t the word, but I’ve always been deeply affected by horror films, and I can’t watch them alone. I very much see watching horror for me is a kind of group experience, and I’m kind of, I kind of love feeling everyone taken and take a breath together. But particularly like psychological horror, I really kind of loathed and loved them in that I would find them so distressing, and they would linger for so long.
Um, so they’re kind of the films that it’s not that I’ve enjoyed them the most, but that they’ve affected me the most.
Is there any particular one that really does stand out as something that affected you hardcore? Cause I know, I think in our age group, The Ring came out and kind of a shock to all of us as growing up. I figured that one out that hit you as well.
Yeah, definitely. That was such a cultural moment for us. Yeah, I remember watching that. It was one of my friend’s birthdays. We all had a sleepover, and we were all in the living room, like hysterical under the covers, kind of competing in terms of his who’s the most hysterical. It is kind of loving it, just watching other people be disgusted as well—that real kinda weird satisfaction of horror.
One last question for you since I know you were working on some big projects now: is there something though you learned from Saint Maud that you’re taking with you on these future projects? Maybe some advice that Rose gave you, or just a little trick learned as an actor that you’re going to bring with you on other projects?
I think there are loads, actually. It’s not that I hadn’t experienced wonderful sets before. Cause I’ve had a really great experience in terms of working. Just what I read about kind of the things that started with the “Me Too” movement, I feel so lucky to have been in very safe and happy environments because people have fought for them to be there.
I’ve never really been a film lead. So being on set all the time, I’d never kind of observed a director for that amount of time. Really Rose has such respect and trust for what everyone else can bring to her project. I think it’s kind of the most important thing you can have as a first-time director, as well as knowing that you need people’s help. So that was really great to watch, and it was great to watch your crew feeling fulfilled and really valued in their work. Also, she gave me a huge amount of confidence t have beliefs in my own thoughts on a character.
So yeah, I think it’s really that the environment is vital to me and vital to everyone. It should be joyful, even if you’re doing Saint Maud.
Well, that’s wonderful advice. Thank you so much for speaking with me about this film and your wonderful BAFTA nomination. I have my fingers crossed for you. I want everyone to win cause I’m the Mean Girls’ generation, where everyone deserves the award.
Thank you so much.
Public voting for the EE Rising Star Award is now open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA and the winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 11th April 2021.
Many thanks to Morfydd Clark for taking the time for this interview.