Imogen Poots -“You’re going to be judged whatever you do. So you might as well do things your way, right?”
Aged 24, Imogen Poots is already an industry veteran with credits alongside Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken, to name just a few. Yet she manages to keep it refreshingly real at the top of the acting pile
Quite so. Are family and friends welcome at all her films? Does she ever ask them to avert their eyes?
“Oh no,” says Poots. “I’m happy enough with anyone watching. If you want to get all pretentious about it, then art should be provocative and controversial. If you’re not comfortable with the results, don’t do it. That’s your choice.”
She, however, will avert her own eyes when it comes to a certain genre. Can it really be that the star of 28 Weeks Later and Fright Night can’t watch horror?
“Fright Night I can just about deal with. Because the original is such an 1980s extravaganza. Which is a good thing. Obviously. But something like The Others or anything psychological: I’m no good with that. I don’t like it when there’s space for me to use my imagination. Or with horror films generally – such as The Conjuring – I think, Naw, I’m good. And spiders. I’m no good with spiders. Even films such as Eight Legged Freaks that are supposed to be fun. No. Spiders are never fun for me.”
Born in Hammersmith, raised in Chiswick and educated in private schools, she speaks in pebble-smooth, spherically rounded vowels. She is, I suppose, kind of posh. But she’s also nomadic and half-Irish. Her father is the Belfast-born TV producer, Trevor Poots; her mum, Fiona Goodall, hails from Bolton.
“My dad moved to London in his early 20s and didn’t really go back,” says Poots. “So the irony is I’ve spent lots and lots of time in Ireland, but not with my dad. I’ve shot films in Belfast, where he’s from. And I’ve shot in Dún Laoghaire. Which is great. And I’ve shot in Dublin. In fact, we’ve just done the Jimi Hendrix film there. Because with the right art director, some parts of Dublin can double for New York really well. Which is really cool.”
The Jimi Hendrix film is All By My Side, a biopic detailing the guitarist’s crucial early London years and his relationship with Linda Keith (Poots, playing opposite André Benjamin), the woman who discovered him. It’s just one of many keenly anticipated Poots projects set to light up our screens through 2014. Guardians of the many internet shrines devoted to Pootology can also look forward to Beautiful Ruins, a big-screen adaptation of the million-selling novel by Jess Walter, and Need for Speed, inspired by the popular sequence of Electronic Arts games, and co-starring Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad.
“It’s been a series of happy ‘whoops’,” insists Poots. “I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and thought, Well, I must do this. It’s only afterwards you think, Oh, that’s completely different for me, or Oh, I was really witching it up there.”
Her eclectic CV is matched by an eclectic series of postal codes, mostly dictated by work.
“It’s pretty back and forth,” she says. “The business is so international now you’ll be working on an American film and you’ll start chatting to someone and it’s like: ‘Oh, you’re English too’. Last year, I shot a lot of stuff in the US. And the year before that, I shot a lot of stuff in the UK. You can never really predict where you’re going to be. But I’m happy with that. I’m in New York right now. I have lots of friends here. I lived in Los Angeles for a while. But there’s no pile of bricks or address that I think of as home.”