After playing out her teenage years as Arya Stark in the hit series Game of Thrones, you’d forgive Maisie Williams for wanting an early retirement. But Williams has made a glorious return to the screen: riding her bike through the suburban streets of England while completely topless.
No, this wasn’t a classic case of child actor rebellion, but a scene from her latest project, Pistol.
“I felt very comfortable and turned a lot of heads,” says Williams, who plays punk icon Jordan (aka Pamela Rooke) in Danny Boyle’s retelling of the pioneers behind the Sex Pistols.
“I could tell that other people didn’t know where to look, which made me smile. [I felt] very empowered.”
Transitioning from a role where she was forced to suppress her femininity (Williams had to bind her chest during the early seasons of Game of Thrones), the star has discovered a newfound liberation in her latest role.
“Jordan expressed a lot of her appearance through turning the male gaze back on itself,” says Williams.
“Being able to inhabit a character like that gives me the ability to portray someone who is as bold as I would like to be.” Williams admits her adolescence was more public than what others experience, but says, “I feel very fortunate and grateful to have gotten to play [Arya].”
So what has she learnt from growing up in the spotlight? Well, she no longer cares about making people feel comfortable.
“I’d love to play a creepy girl in a horror film where I’m barely recognisable and make everyone feel awkward,” she laughs. Bring it on.
Pistol is streaming on Disney+ from May 31. If you haven’t already, you can sign up to Disney+ to watch it here.