Florence Pugh: 7 things to know about the heroine of “Don’t Worry Darling”

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With her doll face, her talent as a monster actress and her judicious choice of roles, the Englishwoman Florence Pugh, 26, has carved out a place for herself in the sun in Hollywood. As she sparkles in SF and feminist film Don’t Worry Darling by Olivia Wilde, which is released this Wednesday, September 21, a look back at the life and career of a future great movie star.

Florence Pugh at the premiere of "Black Widow" in London, in June 2021. Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage.

Florence Pugh at the London premiere of ‘Black Widow’ in June 2021. Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage.

1. Difficult beginnings in life

The English Florence Pugh, daughter of a restaurateur father and a dancer mother, suffered from tracheomalacia as a child (a pathology causing a reduction in the airways during expiration), which earned him several hospital stays. When the little girl was 3 years old, her family even moved to Spain for a few years, thinking the warmer climate might be more favorable to the child’s health, before returning to live in Oxford, England. It is undoubtedly in this complicated past (even if the artist keeps a very good memory of Spain) that the Briton draws today to be so credible in performances with strong dramatic potential. She may have a doll face, but she can make a lot of pain, harshness, belligerence, or cruelty appear in a single look or a pensive pout.

Florence Pugh in "A family in the ring" (2019) © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.
Florence Pugh in "A family in the ring" (2019) © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Florence Pugh in “A Family in the Ring” (2019) © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

2. An early vocation

To At the age of 6, Florence Pugh has a revelation while playing Mary in a living nativity scene. A few years later, after several inconclusive castings, the 17-year-old English girl made her film debut in the drama The Falling (2014), alongside Maisie Williams (Aria Starck of Game Of Thrones). A performance hailed by the press which quickly earned her one of the most watched young premieres in Hollywood. We soon see the actress in series like marcella (2016) or in thrilling feature films such as The Young Lady (2016), in which she plays a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage, or the action film The Passenger (2018) with Liam Neeson. From its beginnings, it rubs shoulders with big names, as in the TV movie King Lear (2018) where she shares the poster with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (Florence Pugh’s mentor in the film industry). The actress seems to have a predilection for historical films in costumes, and intense roles. In the horror movie Evil Spirits (2018), broadcast on Netflix, she embodies, for example, a false medium in the grip of a haunted house.

Florence Pugh in "Midsommar" (2019)
Florence Pugh in "Midsommar" (2019)

Florence Pugh in “Midsommar” (2019)

3. A versatile actress, adept at visceral roles

It was in 2019 that Florence Pugh’s career exploded thanks to three critically acclaimed films, all very different from each other. The one who received the Chopard trophy that year at the Cannes Film Festival embodies a wrestler in A family in the ring (2019), a young woman in search of meaning confronts a Swedish cult in the terrifying Midsommar (2019) and the capricious Amy March in The Daughters of Doctor March (released in 2020 in France), directed by Greta Gerwig. This last performance earned her an Oscar nomination in the category of “best actress in a supporting role”. For many film critics, the English actress would have deserved to receive the famous golden statuette that year, during which she proved her versatility and her magnetism in visceral and ambiguous roles.

The trailer for “Black Widow” (2021)

4. The new Scarlett Johansson?

In 2021, Florence Pugh joins the Marvel universe and the world of blockbusters by accepting the role by Yelena Belovathe adoptive sister of the heroine (the black widow), in the film Black Widow (2021). Rather accustomed, until now, to low-budget films, she shows that she can take up the challenge of a very physical role and compete in charisma with one of the most bankable actresses in Hollywood: Scarlett Johansson. Ironically: The star of Midsommar (2019) has been widely compared to the heroine of Lost in Translationas well as Kate Winslet.

The Instagram post "positive body" by Florence Pugh @ Florence Pugh's Instagram
The Instagram post "positive body" by Florence Pugh @ Florence Pugh's Instagram

Florence Pugh’s “body positive” Instagram post @Florence Pugh’s Instagram

5. A figure of the “body positive” movement

When the movie A family in the ring (2019) is out, the media The Evening Standard Wasn’t shy about talking about Florence Pugh’s “chubby hips”. The actress also indicated in an interview that casting agents had repeatedly asked her to lose weight or exercise before giving her a role. No offense to his detractors, in July 2022, the artist showed audacity by appearing, breasts visible, at the Valentino fall-winter 2022-2023 haute couture show in Rome, in a transparent pink dress. It was for her to denounce the body shaming of which she is the victim, criticizing her chest deemed too flat. On Instagram, she posted a long text explaining her approach: “It’s not the first time, and certainly not the last, that a woman has heard criticism about her body from a crowd of strangers. I only worry about the vulgarity of some men. (…) So many of you want to proclaim how disappointed you are with my ‘small breasts’”, she is indignant on the social network, before continuing :I’ve been living in my body for a while, I’m fully aware of my breast size and it doesn’t freak me out. (…) I am happy with all the ‘flaws’ that I could not bear when I was 14 years old.” A statement that definitively installed the actress as a heroine of the body positive movement in pop culture.

A video compiling songs performed on YouTube by Florence Pugh

6. A gift for singing

Singer, musician and songwriter, Florence Pugh posted many videos on YouTube, under the name of Flossie Rose, when she was a teenager. We saw her cover groups such as Oasis, on the guitar, in the privacy of her room, or whisper her own creations. Her beautiful hoarse voice (which we hear singing in her new film, Don’t Worry Darling) could have earned her a career in pop if she had not opted for the cinema. But even today, nothing is lost. The hidden talents of the Briton could indeed easily lead her to win the leading role in a musical.

Florence Pugh in "Don't Worry Darling" (2022) © Warner Bros.
Florence Pugh in "Don't Worry Darling" (2022) © Warner Bros.

Florence Pugh in “Don’t Worry Darling” (2022) © Warner Bros.

7. A dazzling performance in “Don’t Worry Darling”

The chaotic promotion of the film imagined by actress Olivia Wilde, Don’t Worry Darling, during which rumors of conflicts between the actors and the director broke out, almost overshadowed the content of this feminist SF feature film starring singer Harry Styles. Yet this astonishing fable evoking the fate of a housewife in a community located in the Californian desert during the 1950s allows Florence Pugh to shine once again and show the full extent of her register, from the sensuality to dread through girl power. This inhabited performance could well, finally, earn her an Oscar, unless she wins it for the next part of Dunesdirected by Denis Villeneuve and planned for 2023, or for the next film by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer, also in theaters next year. Large-scale projects which should confirm that the Briton has everything of a future big movie star.

Don’t Worry Darling (2022) by Olivia Wilde, in theaters now.

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Florence Pugh: 7 things to know about the heroine of “Don’t Worry Darling”