LOS ANGELES (AP) – By the end of 2019 on big screens across the globe, actress Florence Pugh will have body-slammed a famous wrestler in â€œFighting with My Family,â€ screamed her lungs out after getting caught up in a violent Swedish cult in â€œMidsommar,â€ and tromped around New England in a Victorian hoop skirt with the three other March sisters in â€œLittle Women.â€
Each performance has garnered more critical acclaim than the last, and cemented the 23-year-old Pugh as an actress on the rise.
â€œItâ€™s so weird,â€ Pugh recently told The Associated Press, which named her one of its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2019. â€œIt’s a weird feeling that everyone’s talking about everything, but it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Despite having three major films come out in a 10-month period in 2019, Pugh insists not that much is different in her life. She’s able to fly under the radar, something she credits, laughingly, to â€œso many hair colors.â€
â€œNo one knows who I am,” she said. “I don’t really get recognized at all. I’ve actually had conversations with people where they’ve been speaking about a film that I was in. And I’m like, â€˜Oh, really? You thought that? Great.â€™â€
She does catch herself doing double-takes when sheâ€™s working opposite top actors, like Meryl Streep in â€œLittle Women.â€
â€œMeryl was just as powerful as you can imagine she was … and sharing a carriage with her wearing the fanciest Amy March clothing was a definite pinch-me moment,â€ Pugh said.
Another pinch-me moment came when Pugh was playing a wrestler in â€œFighting with My Familyâ€ and was about to film a big fight scene in front of a crowd of 20,000 people at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
â€œAnd Dwayne Johnson came out to go through the warm-up with me,â€ she said. â€œAnd I remember being in the ring and him basically telling me that to throw a punch, you really need to reel back. And I remember just staring at him and then staring at all the seats around me, and I remember it going quiet and just kind of internally smiling and realizing that Dwayne â€˜The Rockâ€™ Johnson was teaching me how to throw a punch whilst I was waiting for 20,000 people to come in and watch me wrestle for the first time.
â€œYeah, that’s a good pinch,â€ she said.
A more sobering moment with one of her heroes came when she was filming 2018â€™s â€œKing Learâ€ alongside Emma Thompson and Emily Watson during the #MeToo movement.
â€œI remember one day I came into work and everybody was talking about it, and I remember (Thompson) gave me a book and she said, â€˜We’re going to talk about this,â€™â€ Pugh said. â€œAnd I basically had Emily Watson and Emma Thompson talking to me about why the industry works and why it doesn’t. And I just remember thinking that was a very special moment for someone who was 21 and was going to be continuing this conversation for the rest of my life.”
Pughâ€™s next big film will be Marvelâ€™s stand-alone â€œBlack Widow” movie with Scarlett Johansson, set for release in May. When the trailer dropped on Dec. 3, it was Pughâ€™s name trending on Twitter, with comments like, â€œLiterally who is doing it like Florence Pugh?â€ and â€œI donâ€™t know a better actress of this generation.â€
Up next on her bucket list of roles?
â€œI’ve always said I wanted to do a Western. Like, I really, really, really want to be a gritty, greasy toothed, kind of hairy woman with a wax linen skirt that crunches when she gets on the horse,â€ Pugh said. â€œAnd I would love to play a drug lord as well, yeah. So there you go everyone. A Western and a drug lord. Sort it out.”
For more on APâ€™s 2019 class of Breakthrough Entertainers, please visit: https://apnews.com/APBreakthroughEntertainers