EMILY BROWNING

From V89 Summer 2014’s Sundance Portfolio

IN JANUARY, V TRAVELED TO PARK CITY, UTAH, TO SEE WHAT THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL FORETOLD FOR 2014. IF THE TALENTS FEATURED IN V89 ARE ANY INDICATION, THE FUTURE OF CINEMA IS SHINING BRIGHT

PHOTOGRAPHY MARK ABRAHAMS
FASHION KEEGAN SINGH
TEXT PATRIK SANDBERG

“It’s kind of rare for me to love something so much.” Young Aussie actress Emily Browning is marveling at her response to seeing her new film, God Help the Girl, which premiered at Sundance to substantial buzz. The first directorial project from Belle and Sebastian front man Stuart Murdoch, Girl tells the story of a young woman named Eve who breaks out of a mental institution in Glasgow and forms a band with a group of local friends. The film unspools as a surprisingly cool musical, using songs from the 2009 Belle and Sebastian project and album of the same name.

“I’ve always been a really huge fan of Belle and Sebastian,” she says. “I heard Stuart was making a film with their music, and I was just like, Get me in there! I need to get this part! I have to do it! There wasn’t even a script available, but I didn’t really care.” Once she landed the lead role, Browning found herself in Scotland performing live rehearsals with the entire band, for real. “You know, when you’re in a professional environment, you have to put your fan-girlness aside,” she laughs. “I sort of thought he’d be a perfectionist about the music, so I asked if I could take singing lessons, and he said, ‘No, I like it when it doesn’t sound perfect.’” Emily was soon running around town with Murdoch and her castmates, Hannah Murray and Olly Alexander, shooting on the fly—a much different experience from the one she had filming the epic blockbuster Pompeii. “God Help the Girl didn’t feel like work, really,” she recalls. “We’d be running around and never get a break, but I prefer that style of filmmaking. Making a big film is a lot cushier…there’s lots of food and you get a fancy trailer, but I really like making these little independent films, because it’s sort of like a community. There’s more opportunity for collaboration, and it feels like everyone, the cast and crew, is as important as the next person. Being on the set of a big film, people kind of treat you like, ‘Oh, you’re very important because you’re an actor.’ But I’m like, No, not really.”

The feeling of pride Browning experienced in Park City might become a repeat experience. Next she’ll adopt a Southern accent for upcoming indie Shangri-La Suite. “It’s about two people who fall in love in 1974. Luke Grimes is playing Jack, who is my boyfriend in the film, and he is slightly unhinged and wants to assassinate Elvis Presley,” she says. “It’s a road trip sort of thing, but dark…we go on a killing spree trying to find Elvis. It’s very dreamy, lovers with guns. Very Americana-feeling. I love that shit.”

God Help the Girl is out on September 5th