SHE was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 2019 movie Little Women but Florence Pugh had much more fun in latest film Black Widow – beating up Scarlett Johansson.
The pair joined forces with Rachel Weisz for the spy thriller and US superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character, which is out next month.
Florence, who starred in wrestling film Fighting With My Family as well as period drama Little Women, has revealed she refused to let bosses dictate to her about her weight, and how Avengers star Scarlett took her under her wing.
The British actress, 25, said: “I love the stunts I did, it was my favourite part.
"I fell in love with movement and action and stunts when I did Fighting With My Family. So I knew it wasn’t intimidating, I really enjoyed it.
“The stunt team really, really want you to do as much as possible. So within the first two weeks I was learning how to kickbox from one of the best kickboxers around.
“It’s amazing how they create fights you are capable of doing if you are up for it.
“That was so exciting because you get to be really shoving Scarlett Johansson against the kitchen counter, which was the first day I worked with her.
“We’d only met a week previous so it was like, ‘Hi! I’m going to beat you now’.
“But it was great and we fell in love during that fight because it was just so messy. It was cool.”
But Florence — whose other credits include 2014 boarding-school thriller The Falling, 2016 period romance Lady Macbeth, and 2019 Scandi chiller Midsommar, as well as TV dramas Marcella and The Little Drummer Girl — is equally unafraid to stand up for herself off screen.
After being asked by movie bosses to shed pounds, she has refused.
She admitted last year: “I did a job where it was made very apparent I needed to lose weight. When it was over I was very aware I didn’t want to do that kind of work.
“Because I was faced with that, I realised what I wanted to represent. Had that not happened, I may not have overcome my issues with my body at such an early age.
"I’m happy about that, but a lot of women aren’t that lucky.
"It’s very easy to be swayed and look the way they want you to look. Until you have the confidence to say no, it’s tricky.
“Every single person you will ever meet has an issue with their body. We are conditioned to believe everything is naturally perfect, and it just isn’t.
And she made that clear to the bosses of Black Widow. She said: “When I got the job I wanted to know what the regime was, whether it was them or me calling the shots.
"That was a big deal for me. I would rather not be part of something where I was constantly checked on.”
In the movie, the sequel to Captain America: Civil War, Florence plays fictional Russian spy Yelena Belova, a sister-figure to fellow special agent Natasha Romanoff, played by 36-year-old Scarlett.
The film, which hits cinemas on July 9, is Scarlett’s ninth and final performance in the Avengers series.
Florence, hotly tipped to take the starring role, says Scarlett was a huge support.
She said: “That’s something that I definitely had no idea what they were going to expect from me and actually Scarlett was super helpful with all of that and sitting there and listening to what she said about the last nine years of her career in this Marvel Universe.”
As a child, Florence suffered from tracheomalacia, where the airways collapse when breathing. Her parents Clinton, a restaurateur and Deborah, a dancer, moved from Oxford to southern Spain hoping the sun would improve her health.
They returned when she was six, and noticed her acting talent when she played Mary in a school nativity and spoke in a Yorkshire accent.
It was the first time Florence knew the power of being on stage and recalls thinking: “Oh God, they’re waiting for me, listening to everything I say and I have complete control.”
While still in school she made her film-acting debut in The Falling — and has been in demand ever since. She almost became a pro dancer like her mum but changed her mind after watching 2002 girls’ footie flick Bend It Like Beckham.
She said: “I remember being crap at football and pretending I was amazing because of that film.
“That’s all a girl needs, basically, a bit of fake confidence.”
But her talent for singing certainly isn’t fake.
Before she became a film star she was a teenage YouTuber under the name of Flossie Rose, performing covers and playing acoustic guitar.
More recently she did guest vocals on the latest song, Midnight, by her brother, singer and Game Of Thrones actor Tony Sebastian.
Florence reckons her noisy child-hood with Tony and sisters Rafaela and Arabella helped prepare her for showbusiness.
She said: “You had to shout to have your voice heard. I’m quite stubborn and headstrong. I like a fight.”
Florence also likes to cook like her dad. During lockdown she revealed her skills with Instagram series Cooking With Flo, making pizza, sourdough, Sunday roasts, ice cream and dips.
During lockdown she said: “My dad is a really good chef, my love of food comes from him.
"Not fussy cooking, flavour over finesse. I now have a love of making ice cream, so I’ll get nice and chubby.”
She lives in LA with boyfriend Zach Braff, 46, who was in Noughties US TV medical comedy-drama Scrubs, and rescue dog Billie.
She and Zach, also a producer and screenwriter, met when he directed her in 2019 short comedy film The Time It Takes To Get There, about a disenchanted social-media influencer reimagined in an 18th-century setting.
There has been criticism on social media about the 21-year age gap between her and Zach, which riles her.
Florence said: “It’s making a young woman feel s**t for no reason.
“There’s a reason I’m not with someone my age, it hasn’t worked. People want to have a say on who you go out with.
"I’ve always found that weird. I’m not a reality TV star, I don’t let people into my life like that. Since when has it been OK to shout at someone for their relationship? It’s crazy.”
But she loves the fact people do not instantly recognise her in the street.
She said: “I’ve had conversations about films with people who had no idea I was in them. I love that. To me, that’s acting — it worked.”
Fans’ inability to place her may also be down to her skill at voices.
The Black Widow trailer has won her praise for her Russian accent.
She also got plaudits for her US accent in Little Women and Midsommar.
She jokes that she has her own secret to it. Florence told us: “I don’t know how many accents I can do. I practise when I’ve had a G&T so it’s not too painful.”
Source: Read Full Article