From high school dropout to Colin Firth co-star: Odessa Young’s Big Gamble | Movie

dessa Young dropped out of her Sydney high school just days after her 17th birthday. The teenager, who played two major roles in Australian films, was celebrated on the festival circuit and decided that Year 12 meant “the learning part is over, and then comes the test”.

She was “very persuasive” to her parents that she was serious about acting: “I’ve always been a good debater, so they had no choice but to take it.”

Yang single-mindedly pursued her ambitions. She had her major career break at the age of 16, playing the runaway teenager of the same name in Sue Brooks’ “looking for Grace,” and a week later in Simon Stone’s Hedvig’s role in the film “The Daughter”, based on Henrik Ibsen’s play “The Wild Duck”.

But this gamble will take time to pay off. No roles are offered for high school dropouts. “For a year nothing happened, I sat on my butt and didn’t do anything,” she said with a laugh. On the day after her 18th birthday, Young moved to Los Angeles.

Yang, 24, has lived in the United States for six years — the past four in New York (“I don’t like monolithic towns,” she says of leaving Los Angeles).She played the role of a 1920s English maid in French director Eva Husson’s film Mother’s Day, opens in Australia this week. Her character, Jane Fairchild, is constrained by class, gender and religion from marrying her secret high-society lover Paul Sheringham (Josh O’Connor of The Crown), She grew up in an orphanage, where she was trained, before being forced into family life services.

Odessa Young in a scene from
Odessa Young of Mother Sunday. The 22-year-old actress played a young woman and Jane, a woman in her 40s. Photo: Robert Viglaski/Associated Press

Feminist character, Jane received a typewriter and Character The image of Virginia Woolf runs counter to Young’s breakout role in “Daughter.” At the center of a gloomy family maelstrom, Hedwig has no room for autonomy in that story, only fatal tragedy.

“I think I was stereotyped as a ‘screamer’ for a while after that,” joked Young, speaking at her home in Williamsburg, New York, where she lives with her boyfriend and dog for the past four years. . “I think I’m good at crying in front of the camera; now I’m actively trying not to cry.”

Mothering Sunday opens in the UK in 2021 and the US in March, and Young’s performance has been praised for its energy and tenacity. The screenplay is based on the 2016 Graham Swift novella, and the film is primarily set in 2020 in the small English village of Hambleden, in Buckinghamshire, west of London. Young, who was 22 at the time of filming, played young women and Jane in her 40s, prompting director Hu Sen to describe Young as “a young woman in her old soul“, said “sometimes it’s hard to remember that she was in her early 20s”.

In playing the older Jane, Young is contemplating the aging of her own mother. “Ultimately, what I saw changed in her was becoming more and more herself, which was a very exciting thing,” Yang said. “I can only hope this happens to me… It’s a good way of pretending I’m already there and I’ve figured something out.”

Until then, Young is learning from the best like O’Connor, who breaks free in the bedroom scene. “There’s an alchemical luck to it,” Young said of their casting. “When talking about these things, it doesn’t help that small talk: We all know what we need to check with each other, and then we have to make each other comfortable.”

Jane’s employers Godfrey and Clarrie Niven by Colin Firth and Olivia Coleman, they were heartbroken by the loss of their two sons in the trenches. Coleman’s performance is a study of grief, but she tells orphan Jane, she thinks it’s a kind statement: “It’s such a blessing to be born without a loved one.”

Olivia Colman (left) and Young in the Mothering Sunday scene.
Olivia Colman (left) and Young in the Mothering Sunday scene. “Olivia has this talent for taking away any tension in the room,” Young said. Photo: Associated Press

“Olivia has a gift for removing any tension in the room,” says Young. “It wasn’t an easy scene, but it made the work worthwhile. I’ve learned so much from that day that I may not be able to articulate it until years later, but the way she behaves is so powerful and defining .”

Most recently, Young starred in the true crime series stairs As one of the daughters of murder suspect Michael Peterson, Martha. Toni Collette plays Katherine Peterson, the infamous woman found dead at the bottom of the family stairs, and her husband Michael, played by Colin Firth – the second time Young has worked with him.

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“[Firth] He’s been one of the most important people in my career so far because he’s just so good,” Young said. “It’s so good. “

In that role, Young felt some “loss” of her character. “I felt totally incompetent, I felt like I was doing the worst job in the world,” she said. Really? “Yeah, I feel like I wasn’t specific enough. Six months of filming made me feel very uncomfortable and uncomfortable, and then I realized, actually, I didn’t think there was any way to feel comfortable and settled.”

As he learned more about the case, Young abandoned all preconceptions and concluded: “Whether he does it or not is none of my business”.

Young, second from left, plays Martha at Kathleen Peterson's funeral in The Staircase
Young (second from left), playing Martha at Kathleen Peterson’s funeral in The Staircase. Photo: HBO/Binge

Young is resting and considering her next move. Next she wanted to make more movies and found television to be a “marathon sprint.” For the foreseeable future, New York will stay home in order to balance her transatlantic screen career.

It has an “unrepressible identity,” she said. “It made me fall in love with the city even more, going through the pandemic, because suddenly I felt like I had a stake in it and I was actively involved in it, rather than just watching it or reaping its benefits without giving myself. “

Unlike Jane in “Mother’s Day”, Yang ends with no bookish air. “If I’m being completely honest, I’m really struggling with my TikTok addiction right now,” she said. “I haven’t read a book in a year and it’s too bad – really bad, I feel like my brain is completely soft.”

With her dry Aussie tongue firmly pressed to her cheek, she added: “I just try not to spend too much time looking at my phone. I want to be transparent about that and have people hope talking about it will help.”

Mothering Sunday opens nationally in Australia on June 2