Jessica Henwick on Her Career Milestone No One Knows About – Hollywood Reporter

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The actress reveals why she trended on Twitter in 2010 and talks about the advice her ‘Glass Onion’ co-star Daniel Craig gave her: “Actors are rubber bands.”
By Seija Rankin
Senior Editor
In Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Rian Johnson’s sequel that follows self-titled “disrupters” as they convene on the private island of their tech billionaire leader, internet drama is the name of the game (well, in addition to murder). Jessica Henwick’s character, Peg, is the long-suffering assistant to Kate Hudson’s Birdie Jay, a fashion-industry stalwart who can’t stop tweeting herself into cultural crosshairs. The franchise is tailor-made for memefication, and Henwick joined the ensemble after a steady run of roles in such other discourse-forward titles as Game of Thrones and Marvel’s Iron Fist. But her first time trending was actually before she’d ever booked a Hollywood role. “I’ve never told anybody this, but I trended on Twitter in 2010 as #asianzombie,” Henwick says over lunch at the Four Seasons outside Beverly Hills. “They had a premiere party for The Walking Dead at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and they hired a bunch of people to do flash mobs. I think I was the only Asian, and no one’s ever figured out it was me.”

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The British-born Henwick, 30, is in the middle of a career run that would have felt unimaginable during those zombie-for-hire days. She says she almost gave up the pursuit several times — after booking her first lead role in the 2010 U.K. series Spirit Warriors at age 16, she spent two years barely able to get an audition. “There were no roles for East Asian women, or really any ethnic minorities, in England at that time,” she says. After the Walking Dead premiere, her money ran out and she decamped to her parents’ home to continue auditioning. Now, she has worked for directors like Sofia Coppola (2020’s On the Rocks) and starred opposite Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans in The Gray Man. But she says nothing compares to the occasionally anxiety-inducing star power of Glass Onion. When the opportunity to audition came through, nearly all the leads had been cast. Henwick sent in an audition tape and then received a call from Johnson. “We have a long and murky history,” she says with a laugh before admitting that she sent the director a fan letter as a teenager. “It’s the only fan mail I’ve ever written in my life, and he never replied. But when he emailed me about this movie for the first time, he came up as a frequent contact!”

Now that the film is readying its Dec. 23 release on Netflix after a hit week’s run in theaters, Henwick is looking to the comedy’s possible viral moments (a bathing suit that Daniel Craig wears has Evans-sweater potential) and wondering if audiences will notice her first-ever on-set faux pas. A pivotal scene involves the disrupters having their destructive way with some valuable glass sculptures; one moment had to be done in a single take because the objects weren’t replaceable. “We were doing the rehearsal, and I heard Rian fake-count me in, and I just smashed it. Thank God the camera was rolling. In the movie you see my face, and it’s real fear as I’m looking at Rian to see if I ruined it. It makes me sweat just thinking about it.” Tweeters, take it away.
This story first appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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