Imogen Poots might be some sort of magical fairy creature. It isn't just her naturally glowing skin or lovely British purr; it's that, both on screen and off, there is always something going on just beneath the surface. She speaks as if she just thought of something, letting the listener feel as if they are being let in on a big secret. Talking to her is like talking to your best friend — if your best friend was one of the coolest up-and-coming actresses around.
Imogen's got a full slate ahead of her: She's starring in the adaptation of Nick Hornby's beloved A Long Way Down, which is also Aaron Paul's first big dramatic turn since Breaking Bad. Then, again with Paul, she'll be baring her action chops in Need For Speed. But it's her role as Zac Efron's messy, smart, witty love interest in the millennial rom-com That Awkward Moment that proves Poots' potential as a leading lady, one who can go toe-to-toe with the humor and "guy"-ness of Efrom, Miles Teller, and our boyfriend Michael B. Jordan.
Poots talks getting ready for the red carpet and dodging paparazzi...which is what happens when one fake dates Zac Efron, obviously. And she talks about dating as a young person in Hollywood, which apparently is a lot like dating as a young person outside of Hollywood. Surprise!
That Awkward Moment is out this Friday.
Photo: REX USA.
What was it like working with someone who has to deal with paparazzi on set?
“It’s more like a shot of Zac and I’m in the background, like, squinting or sneezing. It’s like, ‘Hey guys!’ It was cool, though. It really didn’t bother me that much because it’s something you, to some extent, expect. You know, we were shooting outside in New York City. I’ve also done a film in New York before about Jeff and Tim Buckley, and Penn Badgley had this massive following from Gossip Girl. I think I got used to it then. But, really, it’s just like being a part of the crew. But, also, I haven’t experienced the gravity of it. I’m not an actor with troops of paparazzi following me around.”
Would you take Jason (Efron's character) back? Do you think he learned his lesson?
“I think you know pretty quickly when you meet someone whether you like him or her or not. It’s fun to figure it out at the beginning, but I think that when something as serious as that happens, it's a pretty big deal. It’s a life changing deal. That person might go off on a Sunday; the whole thing goes down on a Monday, and by Tuesday they’re a different person. I think they were being a little dismissive of the weight of something like that (what happens to her character in the movie). But, in terms of taking somebody back, yeah! If they’re a great person and they’re clearly aware they messed up, then of course. In the moment, it’s a bit of a let down.”
That was painful to watch.
“It was good, though, in a way. Jason really had nothing, and that, in itself, is the reason why you take him back. The writers haven’t fabricated some myth for him. He messed up and that's something that resonates from a human perspective.”
Photo: BEImages/Gregory Pace.
What are some of your red carpet rules, tips, or things that have helped you hit your red carpet stride?
"I feel like people think I dress like a crazy person. I love being able to know that I’m walking out the door completely like me. I have definitely seen it happen (and never want it to happen) when someone has put me in — what could be a fantastic, piece-of-art dress — something that doesn’t fit my bones, something that’s not an extension of me. I’d much rather be wearing a sweater, jeans, and shoes rather than a dress because I’m meant to be in a dress. It’s not even about being comfortable. You want to take risks — that’s exciting! But, I think you just have to know what you want to do and how you want to do it. That way you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.”
You should be crazy! All of the people who are crazy when it comes to dressing look great. Look at Diane Kruger; she wears challenging things, but —
“She pulls it off because she knows it’s her...I’ve found that my friends wonder why no one dresses like Winona Ryder or Julia Roberts used to. There’s certainly nostalgia for early ‘90s actresses and how they used to wear whatever they wanted. There’s an element of that in some inversion today.”
Photo: BEImages/Henry Lamb/Photowire.
That’s a really great point. Obviously icons come out over time, but it’s interesting we don’t have very many new icons.
“It is. A lot of that comes down to somebody, again, knowing themselves and doing it. I definitely find a lot of dresses out there make you wonder whether the woman is wearing it because they want to or because they’re supposed to. Even old movie stars used to wear the gowns — that’s all magic! Why doesn’t everyone wear a gown when they get the chance?”
Is there anybody out there who’s really killing it for you?
“I always think that Kirsten Dunst looks great. She’s been an actress for a long time, and certainly in the public eye for a long time, but I always think she looks fantastic. It’s difficult, really. I’m thinking of a young Julie Christie. I don’t know. I’m not going to lie. I’d be honest if I thought someone looked amazing. Oh, I loved that yellow dress Michelle Williams wore, that Vera Wang dress; that was really cool.”
That was an amazing dress.
“I think so. The dress was very her. I think Marc Jacobs makes great dresses for anything. He somehow makes it magical and fun while remaining gorgeous. But, it’s hard to think of actresses today who have that look. Those two, Kirsten and Michelle certainly spring to mind. Marion Cotillard always looks amazing.”
It seems like that’s what happens when you have a nice Dior contract.
“I thought you were about to say that’s what happens when you’re French because French women are just amazing.”
Photo: REX USA/MediaPunch Inc.
Do you think that younger guys, especially in comedies (but also in society), view relationships as bummers? The idea of "settling down one day" is so close to the idea of "settling." Is that kind of a bummer?
“I think, also, why one day? I don’t think you get a choice with this kind of stuff. That’s what the movie points to. Maybe sometimes Jason is thinking he’ll get a girlfriend in his early thirties, but then he’s confronted with it off guard. That’s the big question! I think relationships can be seen as something that hinders the ‘experience’ and gets in the way. That could be because technology has given us so many ways to access somebody. There’s an overwhelming amount of choice. But, really, it’s a matter of realizing that you can experience life with that person. That sunset will be so much better with someone you’ll remember, rather than experiencing things alone or with friends. It’s different. You’re right, though; I think relationships can be seen as something "one day" because a lot of people are scared to miss out on something, but that’s a consequence of society. There’s a big rush.”
It's kind of like that when you find someone, you just find someone. Why would you be with someone you’re not having fun with?
“Yeah, yeah! Who are you doing it for? That speaks to the fact that you can actually lose something really amazing because you think there’s something better, different, or you shouldn’t be with this person because you should be with this other person. You have to do it your way. I think there comes a time when you can really mess up if you don’t do that.”
Photo: BEImages/Matt Baron.
Are you going to school? Do you have any plans to continue your education?
“I’d love to. Oh, I’d love to at some point. I’ve always admired people who have wanted to do that and done it. Not just because they went to school, but also because they followed through on a goal. The idea of being able to study in New York or RISD is amazing. I love American literature. I think the Rhode Island School of Design is cool. Right now, I’m really happy and excited to be acting.”
Do you work with a stylist?
“I’ve started to, and I find that to be really, really interesting. The concept of a stylist can be confusing because you think you know what you want to wear, but they’ll change it. It’s important to find someone who understands your taste. They bring you a collection of things to choose from or try. They’re someone who pushes you to give something a go.”
Photo: REX USA/MediaPunch Inc.
Are you binge watching or bing listening to anything right now?
“In terms of albums, I’ve always loved doo-wop. It’s amazing to see some of the bands that used to sing a cappella at 18, but are now so much older and their voices haven’t changed; it’s crazy. But, there’s not really anything I listen to on repeat. Although, my brother and I used to play that Solange Knowles song whenever I go back to London. We’ll put it on and dance around the kitchen. It’s called 'Losing You.' We listen to that probably eight times a week, nonstop.”
Do you have any tips for young women entering their adult phase of life? This whole topic has started to really circle — this notion of suddenly becoming an adult. Do you have any advice for women either entering or exiting their twenties?
“Well, I think the saddest thing is to live your life — especially your twenties and thirties — wishing you were a different age, or wishing something different. The truth is it’s not; it won’t be, and it’s now. You should try to be as strong in the present as you can be to enjoy your life. Also, the label of ‘adult’ is such a strange thing. I mean, some kids are adults by the time they’re 12-years-old because they’ve had to be. And, some people don’t grow up until they’re 40. Then there are people who never grow up. That’s all fine as long as you have your priorities in order and you know yourself. It’d be very, very odd if somebody wasn’t flawed — life would be very dull. I think figuring it out is key, and some people never do. That’s all right. I don’t think there really needs to be some examination by some bigger person on whether or not someone is capable of something. Just enjoy life. There’s something really lovely about someone who’s really (I don’t mean happy-go-lucky or super confident) just doing their thing.”