Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (2024)

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Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin on her triumphant acting debut in what has now become cult classic and her new film, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Quietly exploding onto our screens in her cinematic debut as Joe in the 2013 Lars von Trier film, Nymphomaniac, Stacy Martin has continued to prove herself as every director’s secret weapon. Taking the taboos and unconventional roles in her stride, the 31-year-old actor has not shied away from taking more risks.

In the years since, she has accumulated an envious plethora of acting credits with Ridley Scott, Ben Wheatley and Brady Corbet, all of them keen to have her unleash her capabilities on the big screen. Her ability to transform into others makes her charming English accent an intriguing juxtaposition, proving that like many of the characters she plays there is more to her than what meets the eye.

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (1)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

“What I liked the most when I was a kid was talking. I was apparently very chatty,” smiles Martin reflecting on her childhood. Born in Paris the only child of an English mother and French father, then spending six years in Tokyo before returning to the French capital for her teenage years, the multifaceted nature of her upbringing enabled her to easily navigate change. “It’s helped me be very adaptable,” she says. “I have a curiosity for other people and the way other people live. I’m a big-time observer more than a talker now, which is kind of the opposite from when I was a kid.”

It is this that led her into taking up acting as a career after studying media and culture at the University of the Arts London. “I grew up and then kind of forgot about acting because I thought it wasn’t a proper job,” she reveals. But upon, discovering the Meisner technique, a naturalistic approach to acting created by Sanford Meisner and taught by Lee Strasberg, Martin decided to take it up.

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (2)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

“I really connected to that technique in the sense that it wasn’t about you. That’s something that I think a lot of people struggle with,” she begins to explain. “If you really look at what’s in front of you, all you have to do is react. And if you’re open to that, and if you’re open to your character’s psyche, something weirdly magical happens. You probably think the same with writing. What is it that is in front of you that you’re resonating with? That is what you’re going to share.”

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (3)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

After studying the craft at drama school, casting director Des Hamilton had her audition for her first film, but she didn’t exactly know that it was for a role in Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier’s new movie. “I was very confused as to why suddenly out of nowhere this crazy Scottish casting director would be casting a Lars film. It just didn’t make sense so I kind of just went along with it,” she recalls smiling. “Then it turns out to be true. I really didn’t think I would get it, so I was very relaxed.”

Further reminiscing about her time on set of this now-cult classic, the actor emphasises her appreciation for how the nudity and graphic scenes in the film were dealt with and how those in charge ensured that they were approached with the utmost care and respect – something she admits is not as common as it is made out to be in this industry.

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (4)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

“I think I’m surprised on other film sets where things aren’t so set and discussed and agreed upon. It sort of throws me because I just assumed that was how it was,” states the actor, who had a body double for the sex scenes. “I still get conversations with directors who tell me that being naked is easier for women than it is for a man and it’s, like, mind blowing. That is not an argument that anyone can say for anyone else, nor is it gender based. It’s a very personal thing and I’ve learned more to really question things.”

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (5)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

She enjoyed playing Lisa in the 2020 French romantic thriller Lovers. “I really loved her ‘no sh*ts given’ attitude,” she says. “I can be quite headstrong, and I really enjoyed exploring that through this very classic love triangle.”

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (6)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

The storyline involves Lisa and her husband, her ex-lover and murder that come together to constantly shift your opinion. “I loved this particular situation because it never felt like there was one ‘baddie’ and one ‘goody’,” answers Martin when I question her on what drew her to the script. “It broke my heart … I think the film is really interesting because it defies all of those expectations and conventions that you would assume people represent.”

It is this similar attraction to the unconventional that echoes in her new film, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. Based on the true story of the 19th century English illustrator, Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), the story follows the artist’s rise to fame, tainted romance with his sister’s governess, Emily Richardson (Claire Foy), and his rapid mental decline. Martin, who plays Felicie Wain, one of the painter’s five sisters, admits she was initially confused by the script. “But I knew that there was something about it that I needed to be a part of and figure out in some way.”

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (7)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

Describing it as “something that is very English and at the same time, completely not English at all”, Martin tells me how the film takes you on an emotional journey, providing both laughs and tears as it captures the untold tale of one of the most prolific artists of his generation. “I think the film is a really wonderful exploration of not only what it is to be an artist, but to be that artist and to remember his art,” she replies when I ask her what she hopes the audience take from watching it.

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (8)Stacy Martin. Photograph: Zoe McConnell

With her other projects still under wraps for next year, I ask her what her dream role would be. “I keep coming back to this Tennessee Williams play Suddenly Last Summer,” she smiles again. “There’s something about it that for me is really different from anything else he’s done and quite abstract. It’s really fascinating. I’d love to play a character called Catherine in it.”

With no end to Stacy Martin’s capabilities, what is next remains to be seen, but is surely something to look forward to.

by Imogen Clark

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is available now

Photographer ZOE McCONNELL
Fashion Director KATIE FELSTEAD
Make up KELLY CORNWELL at NYLON ARTISTS using HOURGLASS
Hair PAUL JONES at CAREN AGENCY using SAM McKNIGHT
Manicurist CHISATO YAMAMOTO at CAREN AGENCY using DIOR
Production CHEBABO & CO
Photography assistant NICK GRAHAM
Styling assistant LILY RIMMER
Talent STACY MARTIN
Shot on location at Madhu’s of Mayfair at The Dilly, London.

All fine jewellery by LOUIS VUITTON, clothing and accessories LOUIS VUITTON Cruise 2022 Collection

Glass speaks to the actor Stacy Martin about her triumphant acting debut and her new film - The Glass Magazine (2024)

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