“It is mad,” says Jessie Buckley with a nod. “Sometimes you have to take a step back!” The 29-year-old Irish redhead is in a reflective mood, days after being crowned Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards for the thriller Beast.
Her from-the-heart speech and after-party Converse boots sum up just why we love her. “I don’t really know how else to be,” she chuckles.
Her next 12-month whirlwind includes Judy Garland biopic Judy with “one of a kind” Renée Zellweger, and The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle with “complete inventor” Robert Downey Jr., not forgetting films with Benedict Cumberbatch (Ironbark) and Keira Knightley (Misbehaviour).
But it’s the fabulous Wild Rose that hits first, with Buckley as Rose-Lynn, a Glasgow ex-con who dreams of being a country singer.
“I felt excited by her realness, bravery and tenacity to go for something that she wanted,” notes Buckley, who calls performing country to Scottish crowds “like having an electric bolt stuck inside me”.
She even sung at Nashville’s famous Ryman Auditorium – where Johnny Cash played. “[It was] one of the most amazing moments I’ve ever had.”
Raised in Killarney, Buckley’s big breakthrough was 2008 reality TV show I’d Do Anything, competing to play Nancy in Oliver! She’s since dated Happy Valley star James Norton, but the glitz won’t change her.
Like any good country song, she just wants to be truthful. “People can like it or dislike it, but I’m going to stay being me.”
This article originally appeared in the July issue of marie claire magazine.