Getting messy with Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy earned an Emmy nomination for "The Queen's Gambit."
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The AC is cranked, the plants appear to be melting, and I swear I’ll hand-deliver you the print edition of The Times for a week if you just make me this summer salad for dinner.

Also: Emmy voting ends Monday, just in time for the last person who hates “Ted Lasso” to write an angry screed and turn out the lights. I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter, which is being written this week to the steady beat of the late, great Charlie Watts.

Anya Taylor-Joy thrives on physical challenges

Anya Taylor-Joy posted a brief Instagram video a few weeks ago during a car ride, her hair damp, her face smeared with dirt and her smile radiant as she laughed and announced, with a hint of astonishment, “Wow ... today was a very good day.” There were no words in the post’s caption, just a volcano emoji bracketed by two ice cubes.

Asked about the video, Taylor-Joy says, “That is genuinely, potentially, my happiest place,” and by “happiest place,” she does not mean Iceland, where the video was shot coming home from a recent day working on Robert Eggers’ latest movie, the Viking epic “The Northman,” nor does she necessarily mean a film set, though she will proclaim repeatedly and without prompting during a recent video conversation that she feels more at home working than she does at home or anyplace else.


Specifically, precisely, what Taylor-Joy wants to communicate is that her happiest place on earth is a movie set where she’s covered in grime and, with any luck, some kind of prosthetic blood, and where someone is challenging her to do something that’s physically hard so she can ignite the competitive spirit within herself and see how much she can endure. And that particular day in Iceland checked all those boxes, with the bonus of getting to swim around in the freezing North Atlantic. A very good day, indeed.

Not long ago, I had a long conversation with Taylor-Joy, an Emmy nominee for her unforgettable turn in “The Queen’s Gambit,” about many things, including learning how to stunt drive for the next “Mad Max” movie, writing her own “pretty bizarre” music and her love for a beautifully crafted weapon. Plus, Nicole Kidman shared a fun story about Taylor-Joy from “The Northman” set. What more could you ask for? (Besides a home-delivered summer salad.)

A portrait of Anya Taylor-Joy tinted in red and purple lighting.
Anya Taylor-Joy loves to save keepsakes from each of her projects.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Emmy predictions for limited series

After spending the last few months bemoaning how overcrowded the limited series categories are and how the Television Academy needs to expand the number of nominees and how choosing among all these worthy shows and actors is pretty much impossible, could it be that one series might end up dominating the field?

Yes, it’s been a minute since “Mare” mania gripped us on Sunday nights, the weeks when we popped open a Rolling Rock or three and contemplated the best spots for hiding unsatisfactory duck liver pâté. But the show and Kate Winslet’s lead performance linger, and I’m wondering if that recency bias might have a steamroll effect when the Emmys are presented Sept. 19. I took a stab at predicting the limited series categories in a recent column, pretty much flipping a coin in a couple of the categories. I hope for a better outcome than those hors d’oeuvres they were serving at Richard’s book party.

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A new reason to watch cat videos on YouTube

I mean, like you need an excuse, right? But reading Margy Rochlin’s Q&A with “The Crown” standout Emma Corrin gave me a renewed appreciation for (a) wasting time on the internet and (b) Corrin’s indelible turn as Princess Diana.

Also, puppies ... as long I don’t have to take care of them.

After being cast, Corrin met with movement director Polly Bennett, who asked, “What kind of animal do you think Diana is?” Corrin didn’t even have to think about it: Diana was a deer caught in headlights. Bennett did not like that answer one bit and told Corrin to go away and think about it some more.

“I’d just got a new puppy,” Corrin says. “There was a cat next door who’d come sit on the wall of my little garden. One day while it watched my puppy, it did this [Corrin tilts her head quizzically]. I thought, “Oh, that’s quite Diana.” Then I googled lots of cat behavior videos on YouTube. Apparently, cats are very, very curious and have a mysterious power that draws people to them.”

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in "The Crown."
(Des Willie / Netflix)


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