“I learn from all my characters”
Rebecca Ferguson has a lot of characters roaring in her head.
In the EW Daring school video series, which celebrates Hollywood’s power actresses (in front of and behind the camera), Ferguson talks about the different life lessons she’s learned from all of her onscreen characters and how she still wears them with her.
“I learn from all of my characters,” she explains, before starting to play some of her more remarkable roles. “Quite recently I learned from Mae in Reminiscence, who had such strength because she had a belief and had something she was working towards. And then you have the physical strength of Ilsa Faust to Impossible mission. She’s tied with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, which is amazing, and it’s the writer and Tom who write it at that level. “
Emma McIntyre / Getty Images Rebecca Ferguson
“The strength of a mother in The girl on the train – there is a woman there who lives in a very violent relationship and the strength for her to be able to have fun and to speak the truth ”, she continues. Ferguson even compares his character in Dune, concubine Lady Jessica, in turn to star as Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen, noting the ways in which women exercise power through alliances and transactions behind doors. “She’s like the Bene Gesserit, really,” she notes, referring to the mystical feminine order she Dune the character is one of them. “To create chaos but also to create the best for the moment, the system, on a larger scale.”
Warner Bros. Legendary pictures and images Rebecca Ferguson in ‘Dune’
The Dune The star says her characters inform her life every day after production ends. “They all live in me,” she reflects. “I don’t let them go, I take them out every now and then.”
When Ferguson signed Dune, she was afraid of being categorized as stupid women. “My head went into, ‘Oh, for god’s sake I’m cataloged as strong female characters,'” she previously told EW. “And I was like, how the hell do I get out of this? It’s adorable, but I also find the vulnerability very strong. I find the fear very interesting.”
But she was able to find a myriad of layers in the character’s love for Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and their son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), juxtaposed with her greater ambitions. “It wasn’t about touching a moment of emotion or power, it was about finding the musicality between them all,” she says. “It’s genderless; it’s there for a reason and a purpose. When she loves, she loves. When she protects, she protects.”
Ferguson’s love for this complex blend of vulnerability and strength probably begins with her all-time favorite fictional character, Pippi Longstocking, or as she calls her, Pippi Långstrump – the character’s original name in Sweden’s native Sweden. Ferguson. “When I was young, I was introduced to [a] storybook by this wonderful author called Astrid Lindgren, “she explains.” She wrote a book called Pippi Långstrump – that’s her real name, guys, there’s no ‘Longstocking’ – and Pippi could do anything. She was strong, she was alone, she was lost, but no one would win her. And she had freckles. She was my heroine. “
For more on Ferguson’s heroes, the best and worst advice she’s ever heard, and more, watch the full video above.