Agyness Deyn talks about PUSHER


Pusher is based on the edgy and explosive series by visionary director Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE), PUSHER stars Richard Coyle as a drug dealer who grows increasingly desperate over the course of a week after a botched deal lands him in the merciless clutches of a ruthless crime lord.  The more desperate his behavior, the more isolated he becomes until there is nothing left standing between him and the bullet his debtors intend to fire his way.

Agyness Deyn that plays the part of the Flo in Pusher, first came to prominence when she featured on the front cover of Italian Vogue magazine in November 2006. She became an overnight success and cemented herself as a new generation of supermodel. She is the professional muse of Christopher Bailey of Burberry Prosum label and went on to become the face of fashion giants Giorgio Armani and Galliano. After starring in numerous campaigns and walking on catwalks around the world Deyn made the transition into film with her debut in the 2010 blockbuster CLASH OF THE TITANS directed by Louis Leterrier. Deyn took on the role of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of beauty, love and sex, starring alongside Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton. She made her West End debut in February 2012 in THE LEISURE SOCIETY at Trafalgar Studios directed by Harry Burton, which received outstanding reviews from national critics, many commenting on Deyn’s confident performance.

Deyn has also starred in the short films MEAN TO ME and ACID BURN. Since working on PUSHER, Agyness Deyn has been cast to appear alongside Peter Mullan in SUNSET SONG under the direction of esteemed auteur Terence Davies.

Bijan Tehrani: What intrigued you about Pusher? Were you a fan of the original film?
Angyness Deyn: I did not see the original because Luis asked us not to watch it but of course I had heard about it and that it was cool, Nicolas is such an amazing director so knowing that it was from something that he had done was exciting.

BT: Doing a remake is very tough, but this film stands on its own and the performances are remarkable. What was your attachment to the character of “Flo”, and what do you think about the tackling the role?
AD: I just fell in love with her as soon as I read the script, and I believed that she was very different in the original than she is in this one. I just loved the qualities that she has about herself; this idealistic romanticist, this owner of being so upfront in her job. I thought that was really interesting to play, being able to perform as two different people. I feel like a lot of people can relate to her and the hope that she carries for the whole story.

BT: What type of research did you conduct in order to understand the intricacies of your character?
AD: I shadowed a stripper for a while to get a dose of reality on her job. I also spoke to addicts about the in’s-and-out’s of being a drug addict, and how being an addict is almost like a full time job. I wanted to get as much reality as I could, and obviously I had the script—I read books and watched movies and then just immersed myself into the role.

BT: How did you communicate with the director? Did you do a lot of rehearsals or were you allowed to improvise on the set during shooting?
AD: There were no rehearsals; we just had one table read and then we just jumped into it. Richard and I met before we did the table read and then we got to work. We shot it really fast because we had such a tight budget, but I still felt great about the film because it’s done in a tasteful fashion.

BT: How was the experience of working with Richard Coyle on Pusher?
AD: He is amazing! He is such a great actor and instantly when I met him I felt a connection with him. We are both based in the north of England, and that always helps if you are from the same area. I just felt so supported and carried in a certain way, which was really great—especially for my first big role. I felt very at ease working with him and I learned so much, it was like acting boot-camp on the job, which is great.

BT: Pusher is a very interesting international film because the director is from Spain and you guys are from England, it makes for a very unique dynamic. Do you think it is important to have people from different countries making one film?
AD: Yes, definitely! I think it was so great that Luis was Spanish because, watching the film myself, I saw London in a totally different way. It was like fresh eyes—like seeing London for the first time. So, I think he really captured that and he had this unique perspective of the city because he is Spanish and lives in Italy, and he doesn’t live in London. He is just here to shoot the movie, so I think that was great. Also, Zlatko (who plays Milo) was in all three, so it was really great on so many levels. The city is so diverse anyway; it’s amazing how many different types of people are there.

BT: Pusher is one of those films that you can watch over and over, and it keeps its entertainment value because of the structure of the film and the performances.
AD: Yes, of course! I have seen it three times in total now, and every time I watch it I get something different from it and I laugh at different places. It is this roller coaster journey and yet it is really funny at the same time; I was laughing out loud at certain times, and at other times I was not able to watch because it was so intense; but it was really great to be apart of a film that has all of those things and not get bored.

BT: A lot of models who become actors, most of them find it hard to succeed. You are one of those exceptions where some feel that you were born to be an actress; a friend of mine who had seen you on stage in London said that you did such a wonderful job and some of the other roles you have done. So, how did you connect to the world of acting?
AD: It’s about just doing it: doing the job you know, keeping my eyes and ears open and doing the best that I can in the moment with what I have. I feel like the more I do, the more I learn and the more confident I feel. I enjoy having nervous excitement about any project because it is the unknown and the excitement of stepping into it that I love about acting.

BT: How would you compare your stage work to your film work, since you have received so much praise for your stage acting?
AD: Doing the play was such an amazing experience. Doing Pusher was exciting and all new, but actually doing the play was the moment where I was like, “Wow!” and I could actually say I am doing this; I am doing the work and I am doing the job; I am going to work and doing eight shows a week and actually selling out shows, so people are paying to come and watch me and I am a part of a team. I am doing it with all these amazing actors and I am actually doing this as a job. That was such a huge thing to realize, that I can actually do this and just the excitement of learning and growing from each thing.  I feel like I have learned so much from doing the play, but I have so much to learn and I am excited about that.

BT: What is the next project that you are working on?
AD: I am doing the new Terrence Davis film, it’s called Sunset Song. It is pre-war film based on a famous Scottish book, and Peter Mullen is going to be playing my dad in it, so that is really exciting. We start that in the new year very soon.
BT: Sounds promising! Thank you very much for speaking to CWB, and good luck!

Pusher will be opend in Los Angeles on October 26 at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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