Actress Emma Mackey has said starring in a film about Emily Bronte was a dream because she was “raised on period dramas”.
The Sex Education star, who was brought up in France, plays the Yorkshire-born author known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, widely considered a classic of English literature.
Emily is a fictionalised biopic written and directed by Frances O’Connor in her directorial debut and covers Bronte’s short life, which ended in December 1848 when she died aged 30 from tuberculosis.
Speaking about filming in Yorkshire, Mackey told Harper’s Bazaar UK: “I grew up in France but was raised on period dramas, so it was always my dream to run around the moors in a crinoline.
“I chose this film because it felt fresh, with a punchy script.”
Speaking about Bronte’s portrayal, she added: “I don’t want her to be seen as the kooky rebel, who goes off on this adventure of self-discovery to smoke pot, have sex and find herself.
“I don’t think she would have thought, ‘Oh, I’m being so feminist right now’. It’s more complicated and also more pure than that. She exists in her own right.
“Emily is sometimes very still, but often wrestling with the elements, with the landscape, and she feels and responds to things viscerally.
“I don’t think you have to intellectualise her feelings or reactions – she is always instinctive.”
Reflecting on her similarities to the writer, she said: “Clearly, Emily Bronte and I are very different people, but what we do have in common is being a bit singular, wanting to tell stories and to be in control of them.”
Mackey is best known for playing Maeve Wiley in Sex Education, the teenage Netflix drama also starring Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist and Asa Butterfield as her son who starts his own sex advice clinic at school.
Read the full interview in Harper’s Bazaar UK. Emily is released in cinemas nationwide on October 14.