Like many young British actors on the ascent in Hollywood (Jack O’Connell, Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel and Get Out’s Oscar-nominated star Daniel Kaluuya), 25-year-old Kaya Scodelario scored her big break in Skins. As ice-cool Effy Stonem she was one of the mainstays of E4’s hit series, which did so much to diversify the talent pool in this country.
Since graduating from Skins, Scodelario has starred in the latest Pirates of The Caribbean movie and returns as complex heroine Teresa in the third and final film in smash-hit young adult dystopian thriller franchise, Maze Runner: The Death Cure. As her public profile increases, her voice is magnified.
TBI: After #TimesUp and #MeToo are you more optimistic about the film industry?
KS: I am in awe of the women who came out in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. It is incredible bravery to stand up to Hollywood because it is a very intimidating place. You are constantly told there are a hundred people behind you that would kill to have your position – so don’t do anything to fuck it up. But we need to keep having the conversations and keep the momentum going. We can’t let it become the norm again.
Hollywood is very intimidating. You are constantly told there are a hundred people that would kill to have your position
You shared your own #MeToo story [Scodelario was sexually assaulted aged 12]. How nerve-wracking is it to put your truth out there?
Definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was fortunate to have the support of my husband and friends. And also, being a mum, I knew I didn’t want that person to have power over me anymore. I wanted to be strong for my son, so he would grow up seeing that women could be powerful and that we won’t hide in the shadows. A lot of people ask me about playing strong female roles to inspire young girls and I say it is to inspire young boys, too. But it was definitely the scariest thing I have ever done. Apart from labour. Labour was worse.
Are more doors opening after the Maze Runner films and Pirates Of The Caribbean?
I hope the doors are opening on more creative things. I have a female writers group that I work with. We discuss different ideas for stories and go through each other’s scripts. I would like to produce stories about where I am from and about being working class. It is much more interesting when someone has had real experiences in the world rather than they just went to a fancy school. Doing Hollywood stuff, I hope, will eventually open more doors for that.