Interview: Agyness Deyn of ‘Pusher’
After gracing countless covers of Vogue, supermodel Agyness Deyn has made the successful transition to actress and solidifies her new status in Pusher, the story of a London drug dealer (Richard Coyle) who’s fighting for his life after a drug deal goes awry and leaves him in debt to his supplier. Deyn plays Flo, his heroin addicted stripper girlfriend and brings an innocence to an otherwise tragic character.
Speaking about her approach to the role, Deyn describes Flo’s duality. “She’s very much of a dreamer and romanticist and she lives in a world where circumstantially it’s not that great, but I feel like she has this childlike quality of fantasizing and imagining about the future and life and sees it in a tainted way. Because of that she sticks around, hopeful that she’ll get what she wants.”
Deyn explored the mystique of the stripper by shadowing a group of working dancers. “It was amazing to see the security of the venues and the lifestyle. Those guys are like big brothers, it’s like a big family. I came away from it feeling a lot of respect for the industry. A woman’s body should be cherished and I can understand now why people do it. It’s an innate quality that humans have to appreciate.”
Pusher forgoes the typical drug dealer scenarios with likable characters. “You relate to all of the characters, you’re on their journey as well and you could be any one of those people reacting that way. I feel it’s a film that’s about decisions rather than drugs and guns. It has that human streak with the love story.” There’s a familial quality between all the characters that leaves the viewer rooting for everyone to find a happy medium and return to the warm and fuzzy drug selling unit they once were. It does not say much about the kind of help a Washington heroin recovery center or a rehab facility anywhere can give them though.Deyn possesses the unique vulnerability that lends itself to the seamless metamorphosis into the acting world. “Four years ago I was yearning for something different and did a few short films. I modeled for 12 years and I got success in the middle of that 12 years and I’m starting a new career and it has some similarities but it’s also so different and I have to learn and grow in it.”
Using that experience as a model to find a character through wardrobe has come in handy to bring her roles to life. “Creating the person that you’re playing, with clothes and you see is so telling. It plays a huge part, with Flo working with wardrobe to enhance the parts I wanted to through that. ”
Her next film is Sunset Song directed by Terrence Davies where she plays the daughter of a Scottish farmer (Peter Mullan) in the early 1900s. This will be her first leading role.
In talking about her ideal role, Deyn is drawn to heroic women. “When I watch a movie I really enjoy watching women who are super strong and have this drive to change something in their life or their environment in a powerful way, with a Joan of Arc kind of heart.” With her depth and versatility, Deyn has a long acting career ahead of her.
Pusher opens Friday, October 26 in Los Angeles and New York and is available on VOD.