16th December 2022
Interview: Christopher Richmond
Emma O’Connor is definitely one to watch. After starring opposite Ethan Hawke and Even Hewson in Tesla, she can currently be seen opposite Carey Mulligan in She Said, the true journalistic tale of the uncovering of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The film has been released to rave reviews and is sure to be a major contender in the upcoming award season - we spoke to Emma about her role in the film, her acting inspirations, and what the future holds for her.
You are soon to be seen in She Said. What character do you play and what is she like? What was it that drew you to the role?
I play Rachel Crooks - who I was lucky enough to get to meet at the NYC premiere back in October. She’s so cool - really kind, intelligent, and poised - and we’re both 5ft10! It’s such an honor to get to play her in the film. Production kept the film pretty secret for most of the process, so I actually didn’t know what I was auditioning for when I got the sides, but I immediately was drawn to it - I could tell it was about outing sexual harassment in the workplace and I knew that was a story I would want to help tell.
Was it a long process being cast in the film? What was the process and how long did it take? How did you feel when you got the role?
It all happened pretty quickly actually - I booked the role from the first audition and then the next week I was on set getting bangs! I was elated when I found out I got it, I think I cried a bit too actually - cause once I booked it, I found out what the project was, and then who I was playing, and then who I was working with, and it was just like getting hit over and over with waves of great news.
She Said is an incredible story of resilience and justice. Why do you think it’s important that a story like this is put to screen? What were the challenges of working on a story based on reality, especially on such a major news event such as this?
It’s important because it reinforces these women’s voices and shows the power women have when we act together - it widens the audience, gives perspective and space for empathy, and most importantly I think, continues the conversation. The biggest challenge is portraying someone who is still living and representing their story, which is a traumatic one. I remember on set really hoping Rachel would be proud of my portrayal and the film.
What was it like working with an actor as esteemed as Carey Mulligan? What did you learn from her? Do you have any other acting inspirations?
I’ve been a huge fan of Carey’s since she was in Pride & Prejudice! I really look up to her so much and hope to have a career like hers one day. Working with her was a dream come true - her presence on set was just incredibly stoic. She’s also so humble and kind, and was very easy to talk to - it definitely quelled my nerves! I’m also very inspired by Greta Gerwig - I really love everything she does, her style and perspective are so interesting to me. I would love to work with her at some point.
What inspired you to become an actor? Have you always had an interest? Did you do any acting when you were younger?
I’m not sure why exactly, but from an early age, I felt I had to decide what I wanted to pursue - which was a pressure that totally came from myself! But I couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted to do, because I wanted to try everything. Then I realized acting was a career and it was the only thing that felt right because it didn’t seem limiting at all - I could potentially portray almost any job under the sun. So I guess it goes without saying, yes, I did act when I was younger! I didn’t start acting professionally until after college, but I found any way I could to do it all through my childhood - from school plays to home movies with my brother. I think the first role I had was in my 5th grade school play about the Egyptian Gods - I was the Bastet, the Cat Goddess.
What sort of roles would you like to take in the future? What’s your dream role?
I would love to do anything really - it’s hard to say what will speak to you, but you know it when it does. And if the writing is great, it’s always an easy yes. I would love to do another period piece - that was always my dream, to be in period films - I feel like it’s the closest I can get to time-traveling!
She Said is now showing in Cinemas.