BEL POWLEY IN NEW YORK, APRIL 2015. T-SHIRT: RAG & BONE. STYLING: KARL TEMPLER. COSMETICS: DIOR, INCLUDING DIORSKIN NUDE AIR HEALTHY GLOW ULTRA-FLUID SERUM FOUNDATION. HAIR: JAMES PECIS/D+V MANAGEMENT. MAKEUP: PETER PHILIPS FOR CHRISTIAN DIOR. MANICURE: YUKO TSUCHIHASHI FOR DIOR VERNIS/SUSAN PRICE NYC. SET DESIGN: STEFAN BECKMAN/EXPOSURE NY. PRODUCER: SARA ZION FOR PRODN/ ART+COMMERCE. PRODUCTION MANAGER: ASHLEY SCOTT FOR PRODN/ ART+COMMERCE. RETOUCHING: GLOSS STUDIO. DIGITAL TECHNICIAN: NICHOLAS ONG. PHOTO ASSISTANTS: SIMON ROBERTS, HUAN NGUYEN, MARU TEPPEI, AND DEAN PODMORE. STYLING ASSISTANTS: MELISSA LEVY AND ALEKSANDRA KOJ. HAIR ASSISTANT: ADLENA DIGNAM. MAKEUP ASSISTANTS: EMIKO AYABE AND TALY WAISBERG. SET DESIGN ASSISTANTS: MAX ZINSER AND YONATAN ZONSZEIN. PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS: KAIA BALCOS AND JOHN DANIEL POWERS. SPECIAL THANKS: SOHO LOFTS.
Of her first American film, a breakout hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Bel Powley says, “I treated it like a play. I learned the whole script before arriving on set.” Diary cast the 23-year-old alongside Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, and she will next appear onscreen opposite Kristen Stewart, Sarah Gadon, and Elle Fanning, respectively, in the forthcoming releases Equals, A Royal Night Out, and A Storm in the Stars. But still she says theater is her passion. “The dream goal would be to do movies with female leads who are well-rounded characters, but then also one play a year,” Powley says, her voice raspy from having just read a new play by Polly Stenham, who also wrote Powley’s stage debut, Tusk Tusk. “Theater is always going to be ingrained in my head. It’s where I learned to do what I love.”
Born and raised in West London by an actor father and a casting director mother, Powley wasn’t taught to glamorize the entertainment industry. She says she’d be as happy performing in a small theater in Brooklyn as she would be on Broadway or the West End, and continues to prefer realistic roles. “Character acting is difficult when you’re playing someone who’s kind of a caricature,” she says. “I never wear high heels. I never drink. I don’t consider myself to be an incredibly sexy lady, so it is challenging to put myself out there and do it confidently.” While Powley might open up and allow her characters to evolve once on set, beforehand, she’s meticulous and calculated. “I am a planner,” she says without hesitation. “I’m leaving my house for four days, and I’ve been planning it for a month.”
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