Freya Mavor is a “massive geek”. While it’s not unusual for actors to throw themselves into roles – Renée Zellweger gained 13 kilograms to play Bridget Jones and Rooney Mara got 12 piercings for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Mavor dives deep.
“I like to create a whole universe around the character I’m playing,” explains the Glasgow-born, London- based actress, who plays Margaret in the upcoming period drama The Keeper, based on the story of German soldier Bert Trautmann, who became a soccer goalkeeper in England after a transfer to a British POW camp.
For The Keeper, Mavor, 25, read poetry and literature from the 1940s era, acquired a thick Manchester accent and even assigned her character a spirit animal. “Margaret was a mix of a bird of paradise and a leopard. She holds her head up high and is always flipping about like a bird, and is also incredibly grounded and fierce like a leopard,” she says.
Her passion for acting ignited at the age of 10, after watching Jack Nicholson in the horror flick The Shining. “It traumatised me so much, and I remember thinking how amazing it is that a lm can have that effect on someone,” says Mavor, who made her acting debut on the cult British series Skins after auditioning at an open casting call at age 16. “I got a bus from Edinburgh to Bristol and queued for seven hours to do one audition,” she recalls.
Her “teenage dream” came true when she landed the role of Mini, the straight-talking high school Queen B in Skins, whose four favourite things are “Shopping. Footwear. Sushi. Sex (And yes, always in that order).” Almost a decade later, Mavor is still recognised on the street as Mini and credits Skins for teaching her the tricks of the trade. So what was Mini’s spirit animal? “A lioness, for sure.”
WATCH IT: The Keeper hits cinemas on July 25.
This article originally appeared in the August issue of marie claire.