For Lashana Lynch, 2022 was all about showing off her range.at Sony queen, she plays Igozy, a member of the historical all-female warrior unit known as the Agoggie, led by General Naniska of Viola Davis. Although she required intense training (and had to do her own stunts), she fit right in with other roles in Lynch’s filmography. captain marvel and a secret agent no time to dieBut it was Netflix’s Matilda the Musical, based on Roald Dahl’s novels and subsequent musicals set in the West End and Broadway, was a major departure from Lynch’s string of bad characters. As Miss Honey, a kind and supportive teacher trying to protect her (played by Emma Thompson), Lynch had to come to terms with her softer, less confident side.the actress recently spoke THR About finding the through line between these back-to-back roles and what she’s learned from her powerful co-stars.
want to talk about Matilda First, because Miss Honey is very different from the characters you know. Was it part of the appeal?
I’m desperate [play] fragile, vulnerable, emotional, [wears their] heart on [their] I don’t know what to do with myself. I love being a responsible human being and playing a nice, confident character. But in all the confident human beings I’ve painted, I feel like I’ve always tried to weave in questions about self or self-doubt, self-blame, and insecurity. And now I have found a place. I worked with children and became sensitive. I had to learn more about myself and how I wanted to approach my character. In short, it was exactly what I needed.
you Matilda Fans before signing on as Miss Honey?
yes! I read and re-read books as a child.i loved [1996 film, starring Mara Wilson as Matilda]I looked at it many times [stage] Didn’t get a ticket for the show, but I’m actually really happy about it.It’s like Shakespeare — what’s your version? I had this great conversation [director Matthew Warchus] At the top of what Miss Honey was going to be, I was afraid I was going to screw it up. I’m straight from theater — I’m used to DramaThis is the other side of the coin, but that’s what made it so exciting.
What was your biggest challenge in this role?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Being from drama school and working in this industry for over 10 years, you are doing all the right things in your role, having the right conversations with the director and being right about it. would like to confirm first day of school. Here, you could literally play. So there are hundreds of children on set. I came in and said, ‘Well, my The inside story is…” (smile.) You have to fall into the fold and take it easy as much as possible. And then there are those really delicate little humans running around your feet every day. I resorted to conversations with Matthew. It helped me realize that Miss Honey and Matilda are kind of balanced.
What have you learned from working with so many child actors?
I believe that children should be spoken to as human beings. [likely] We are the ones who look stupid. They absorb much more than we expect. And these kids were smart. They spent five or six months in boot camp learning acting and choreography. I just wanted to make sure they felt they could trust me, they felt safe, and that I was just making fun of them. It allowed me to be free like an actor around these people who have the most elite level of freedom.
That’s exactly the spirit of Miss Honey. Treat children equally, as opposed to Miss Trunchbull calling them maggots.
I really love children and I am so fascinated by their brains. And the crew and I were their surrogate parents at one point.I wanted them to see me as Lashana, but I wanted them to be led by Miss Honey. [a few kids said]”I hope you will come and teach at our school!”
you sing Matilda — Have you done a lot of musicals?
I started singing for a long time. From really young to his first year of drama school, maybe he was 19 or he was 20 or so. We were recording an EP and went to the studio after school and it was great. You just couldn’t do both, right? I didn’t want to do a musical, so I wanted to do acting and singing separately. “At some point in life there will be a world where they can co-exist, but it’s my choice and I’ll be able to have the best character to sing.”
And Miss Honey isn’t your typical flashy musical theater role.
That’s what comforted me. I was like, ‘Do you really want me to be Miss Honey?smile.) I didn’t want her to get lost in the world. [Matilda’s parents, played by Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough] Miss Trunchbull has her fantastic moments, and Miss Honey is the center of Matilda’s storm. their Miss Honey, that’s incredible.
You said your young co-star is going to boot camp to prepare. Matilda — it was probably as hard as your preparation queen.
I thought I was ready until I realized I wasn’t. Yes, I used to exercise as a teenager. Yes, I danced at some point in my life. Yes I did some stunts. But the director and the stunt he coordinator and trainer saw your ability and your body and said you could do it. It’s wild! But I’m really competitive and I’m always up for a challenge. There was absolutely no way I could allow them to think so highly of me and not make it work.My body trembled every time [workout] Sessions — 1.5 hours of weight training followed by 3+ hours of stunts, martial arts and choreography daily.
Igozie is similar to Miss Honey in being a mentor to Thuso Mbedo’s Nawi. Was that on your mind when shooting these movies?
It was the first time I was prepping for a role a month or two before I finished another one. I was literally still playing Miss Honey the last few weeks while I changed my diet and worked out. queen, as you can imagine, this was a little nightmare.I didn’t have a throughline [among my film roles] have [made] This much sense. It spoke to me as the person I wanted to be for my community, my youth, and my future children. And in 2022, we want young black women in movies to bring influence and inspiration to the heads of young people. It’s nice to be able to see them become supporting characters that remind them that they’re capable, rather than hitting them against.
I mean, I got to work with amazing women like Emma Thompson and Viola Davis. what did you learn from them?
Working back-to-back with two women like Emma and Viola in the same year reminds us that we are all human beings who make choices, build experience and bring it to work. We come to work in the hope that we can create together. It’s all about making mistakes, forgetting lines, reminding your kids that you’re doing a take, dropping a machete and picking it up again. Feeling is empowering. Viola has all the hallmarks of someone you want to be with forever. She taught me how to be an authentic human being in her workplace. And you have reminded people that you are human. Emma is much the same. I’m just a human trying to make it work. ’ We show up every day and stay connected.And instead of expecting someone more experienced to lead, be a leader together. [in charge].
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
This story first appeared in the January 11th issue of The Hollywood Reporter.Click here to subscribe.