The actress opens up about her new supernatural horror, life since ‘Euphoria’ and the sacrifices she’s made for her dreams.
If staying indoors has finally given you the chance to catch up on all the best award-winning series to come out of recent years, it’s likely you’ve seen Sydney Sweeney’s face at least once. The actress has appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale and Sharp Objects, but she is best known as Cassie in Euphoria, the popular blonde who is portrayed with more shattering complexity than high school dramas usually allow for such characters.
“I enjoy trying out different lives,” Sydney says with a shrug. She chooses roles that challenge her, that take her to different headspaces and different worlds. However, there’s one thing her fresh-faced, fallen angel-esque characters all have in common, whether she’s playing a Manson girl in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood or a child bride in The Handmaid’s Tale. They’re all lost somehow and still figuring life out. That makes them relatable to viewers in their teens and twenties, but it’s hard to imagine Sydney herself in the same position. She’s always been headstrong, ambitious and determined as hell. Aged 12, the actress made a PowerPoint presentation with a business plan persuading her parents she was serious about acting. It worked, and the rest is history.
Her ambition is far from slowing down. Instead of putting work on pause altogether in lockdown the 23-year-old launched her own production company, Fifty-Five Films. “Still being able to work on something helped me get through quarantine,” she says. For her first production project, Sydney is executive producing The Player’s Table, a TV series in which she will star alongside Halsey.
Below, Sydney tells us about getting into character, her latest movie Nocturne and what she’s been up to this year.
Firstly, how has this year been for you? What have you been getting up to in isolation?
I’ve had good days and bad days. There are days where I really enjoy being able to snuggle my dog endlessly and then there are days when I was just losing my mind and wanting to go back to work. I mostly hang with my dog. We go on crazy long walks now. We average six miles a day these days. I watch a lot of TV. I read a lot of books too.
You’ve been working virtually non-stop in recent years. How have you been feeling emotionally this year having had to slow down and take a break?
It was definitely difficult. I had some set withdrawals but I started my own production company called Fifty-Fifty Films and being able to develop projects and, in a sense, still work helped me get through quarantine.
Your new film Nocturne is a psychological thriller about the bargains and sacrifices we make for success. What initially attracted you to the project?
When I first read the script it reminded me of Black Swan. It had Black Swan-esque vibes to it and I’m a huge fan. I think Natalie Portman’s incredible. I wanted to do something that was completely different from my character Cassie in Euphoria and I felt Juliet was that. She struggles with a lot of her own demons and there are a lot of mental complexities to her so I wanted to challenge myself and portray that.
I heard that when you take on a new role you create character books to help you get into character. Could you tell me about that?
Yeah, so these books are basically like a journal diary map to all of my characters from the day they’re born until the first page of the script. I take everything I can from the script and then I build and fill in all the gaps about why she is the way she is today and what memories led her to hold herself the way that she holds herself or sit the way she sits. It’s just like this really cool, creative development process to build a person. Just like we are all people with different memories that create who we are today. I take the same approach to a character.
How did you come up with that method? Did you keep a journal yourself as a teenager?
I would always try to make my own diaries and journals but I could never get into it which is weird. I would always just imagine the characters when I was younger and then I started writing it down slowly and it progressed into what it is today. I’m very artsy and I love arts and crafts so I put my own love into each of these books.