ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

You should probably get to know… Florence Pugh

In our latest interview with the EE Rising Star nominees, the Lady Macbeth star talks fake wine and horse deaths

You should probably get to know… Florence Pugh
25 January 2018

In our next interview with the EE Rising Star nominees, the Lady Macbeth star talks fake wine and horse deaths

Age: 22

Where you know her from: As Katherine, the macabre leading lady in Shakespeare-ish revenge tale Lady Macbeth. 

Her character Katherine in her own words: “God, she’s complicated; she’s perfect and not-perfect, naive and incredibly dangerous.”

Why playing violent characters is so enjoyable: “It’s incredibly easy, for a start. Katherine is bottled up and effectively imprisoned, and she just gets prodded a few too many times. Put it this way: if two men tell you you’re not allowed to go outside, and one of them strips you naked and doesn’t do anything but masturbate over you every night, how long, really, before you decide to take matters into your own hands?”

On the film’s feminist agenda: “She’s a strong female who wants to have an active role in changing her circumstances, and correctly believes she deserves better.”

The moment she knew the film was huge: “I knew it would be wonderful, but I never imagined all this acclaim, to be completely honest.”

On the joys of shooting a horse: “My favourite scene! Not because I’m dark, but the horse was such a good actor. He knew exactly when to time his jump as I fired a shot – and he’d whinny on cue, fall over and start crying. It was so realistic, I suppose because he really was on the floor crying. All I had to do was react to a horse convincingly pretend to die.It was really quite impressive.”

Katherine’s most ‘Cersei Lannister’ moment: “Well she’s always drinking wine, which was fun. That line, ‘It is done,’ though, so simple and chilling. They’re so similar. I think she would get on well with Cersei.”

The dangers of drinking fake wine: “They use grape juice, and it’s thick and syrupy. There’s a scene we had to keep reshooting because my mouth was stained black from drinking so much of the stuff. Why not just give us the wine? They can’t, sadly.”

On being duplicitous: “I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s a line near the end…I played it straight and earnest, and thought it was an incredibly human moment. And later, at screenings people kept laughing, because it turns out it’s the greatest lie she tells in the whole film. I hadn’t even noticed. See if you can spot it.”

On what it means to be a rising star: “If people are noticing the hard work I’m doing, then that’s a wonderful thing.”

Her favourite performance of 2017: “Barry Keoghan in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. It was really deep and twisted, I loved what he did with it. Also Will Poulter in Detroit. I have a soft spot for special little weirdos. Theirs are the kind of roles I want in my career, too.”

See her next: As an actual Shakespearian lady in a film adaptation of King Lear. “I play Cordelia, Lear’s most cherished daughter. She’s headstrong, too, incredibly perceptive and, like Katherine, able to plot a future she knows she deserves.”

Get tickets to Lady MacBeth

Want to see Florence Pugh in action before you vote for the EE Rising Star Award? ShortList is hosting screenings of all five nominees’ films, with Lady Macbeth at Bafta, Piccadilly at 6.30pm on Wednesday 31 January. Tickets are free but limited, so head to and enter the code D9TJ6E to secure yours now.

Have your say at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards by voting for the EE Rising Star Award

 The EE Rising Star Award is the only accolade at the EE Baftas voted for by you. Now in its 13th year, the award is dedicated to recognising emerging acting talent that has captured the public’s imagination over the past year. This year’s nominees are Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country), Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) and Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) who will need your vote to become the 2018 EE Rising Star.

To have your say, visit and cast your vote before 14 February. The winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on 18 February.