Ella Purnell: Why I’m using my self-harm ordeal to help others

The actress talks mental health, ‘awkward as hell’ sex scenes and why she loves Keira Knightley

Actress Ella Purnell has opened up about her teenage battle with anxiety and depression — saying she wants to share her experience to help others.

The Londoner, 21, currently on screen in the BBC’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Ordeal By Innocence, juggled her education with films such as Never Let Me Go, Maleficent and Kick Ass 2.

In an interview with ES Magazine, she described how an incident at school affected her. “I have anxiety and have had depression in the past,” she said.

“When I was 15 or 16 I had a bad experience at school — some issues with other classmates and somebody I was seeing, we don’t need to go into it. I started self-harming and did that for a long time until my mum caught me and I started to learn about it [mental health].

“I thought depression was something you could only have if your parents died, or you were really ill and about to jump off the bridge. I certainly didn’t feel comfortable enough to talk about it then.”

She added: “Self-harm is not about attention — I hid [my scars] for six months, wore long T-shirts, covered them up with make-up. It’s about punishing yourself, for people who dislike themselves or suffer from insecurity or self-doubt.

“They want to hurt themselves because they think they deserve it: that’s where I was at. I had to work very hard to remove my trigger points and to create a safe space so I wouldn’t become tempted to get back into it again.

“I still have the scars and it’s something that I did that I will always regret: it hurt a lot of people around me and it’s on my body forever.”

Purnell, who now wants to work with a mental health charity to raise awareness, made her name playing younger versions of stars including Keira Knightley, in 2010 film Never Let Me Go.

She describes the actress, 33, as “ one of my mentors” and said she “will turn to her for industry advice or reassurance or validation at any time”.

Now a star in her own right, Purnell takes the lead role in TV series Sweetbitter, based on Stephanie Danler’s novel about a New York waitress.

She said: “It was the first time I had done nudity. I was terrified and it was awkward as hell, but the most important thing for me was that it was real, that it doesn’t look like a porno, there’s no shaved things and no weird uncomfortable sexual positions, and it’s sometimes awkward and gross.”

She said she had never experienced sexual harassment herself but it was “good to have these conversations” about the #MeToo movement.

On the power dynamics of the industry, she said: “It’s very hard to not give in, to sell your soul: to flatter a more experienced male person of power, a producer or director, in order to get what you want.

Source: Standard UK

Ella Purnell to Star in Starz’s ‘Sweetbitter’ Adaptation

‘Girls’ director Richard Shepard has also joined the Plan B drama series as an executive producer and director.
Starz has found the star of its upcoming drama series Sweetbitter.

Ella Purnell will play the lead role in the television adaptation of Stephanie Danler’s national best-selling novel. In addition, Emmy winning writer-director Richard Shepard has joined the six-episode series from Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment as an executive producer. Shepard, who directed a dozen episodes of Girls, will helm the series premiere.

The hot project landed at Starz in July after a multiple-network bidding war. Sweetbitter, described as Kitchen Confidential meets Bridget Jones, is a young woman’s coming-of-age story that takes place in the world of exclusive restaurants. It centers on 22-year-old Tess (Purnell), who shortly after arriving in New York City lands a job at a celebrated restaurant downtown. She’s quickly introduced to the world of drugs, alcohol, love, lust, dive bars and fine dining, and learns to navigate the chaotically alluring yet punishing life she’s stumbled into.

Danler wrote the script for the drama with Stu Zicherman (The Americans, The Affair) attached to develop the script with her. The pair will serve as executive producers alongside Shepard. Donna Bloom will serve as producer, with Laura Rosenthal leading the casting search.

“Ella’s portfolio of work and the array of her characters and performances in her young career are truly remarkable. We are excited for fans of the book and audiences to meet Tess,” said Starz president of programming Carmi Zlotnik. “We are also excited by Richard’s vision to bring the book’s richly written sensory experiences from the page to the screen.”

Purnell is best known for her role in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The 21 year-old British actress also appeared in Never Let Me Go, Kick-Ass 2 and Maleficent. Shepard directed the pilots for Criminal Minds, Ugly Betty and Rosewood, in addition to his extensive work on Girls. His feature credits include The Matador, starring Pierce Brosnan, and Dom Hemingway, starring Jude Law.

Purnell is repped by WME and Sloane Offer. Shepard is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment, Anonymous Content and Jakcoway Tyerman.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Cast announced for Agatha Christie thriller Ordeal By Innocence

Filming begins in Scotland this month on Ordeal By Innocence, a major adaptation by Sarah Phelps of Agatha Christie’s classic title.

This new three-part drama reunites the team behind last December’s The Witness for the Prosecution and And Then There Were None in December 2015, both of which were critical successes for BBC One.

Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Catherine Keener (Get Out, Capote) are joined by Matthew Goode (The Good Wife, Downton Abbey), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Loving Vincent), Anthony Boyle (Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams: The Commuter), Ed Westwick (White Gold, Gossip Girl), Luke Treadaway (Fortitude, A Street Cat Named Bob), Morven Christie (The A Word, The Replacement), Crystal Clarke (Assassin’s Creed, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens), Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Churchill) and Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness, Black Mirror).

Adapted from Christie’s 1958 novel of the same title, Ordeal By Innocence will be directed by Sandra Goldbacher (Victoria, The Hour, Me Without You) and produced by Roopesh Parekh, (Poldark, And Then There Were None, The Hollow Crown).

Christmas 1954. Wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate Sunny Point.Her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence.

Eighteen months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic. Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past.

Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor longstanding housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives. However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder. And if Jack was not the killer, then it must have been somebody else at Sunny Point.

Damien Timmer, executive producer, Mammoth Screen, says: “Sarah Phelps has excelled herself with this spellbinding adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most celebrated stories. A gloriously dark deconstruction of an apparently perfect family, we hope it delights and chills viewers when it airs!”

James Prichard, executive producer and executive chairman of Agatha Christie Limited, says: “Ordeal By Innocence was one of Christie’s personal favourites and I cannot wait to see how this outstanding cast will bring her story to life under the skillful direction of Sandra Goldbacher and the Mammoth Screen production team. To have Bill Nighy and Catherine Keener head up this all-star cast really is a testament to the depth and quality of my great grandmother’s writing.”

Gaynor Holmes, BBC executive producer, says: “We’re delighted to be continuing our special relationship with Agatha Christie on BBC One. Sarah Phelps’ stunningly crafted adaptation of this wonderful novel has attracted a brilliantly stellar cast and will thrill audiences.”

Ordeal By Innocence continues BBC One and Agatha Christie Limited’s unique production deal that will see ACL and Mammoth deliver seven Christie adaptations.

Ordeal By Innocence is a Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Limited drama for BBC One. The executive producers are Sarah Phelps, Karen Thrussell, Damien Timmer, and Helen Ziegler for Mammoth Screen, James Prichard and Basi Akpabio for Agatha Christie Limited, Gaynor Holmes for BBC.

IMG hold rest of world distribution rights.

Source: BBC UK

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Stars Interview #1

How Asa Butterfield Embraced Weirdness with Ella Purnell in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Asa Butterfield Stars in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Stepping onto the set of a Tim Burton-directed adaption of a bestselling book brings more than the usual first-day-of-work jitters. “Fear, exciting, anticipation,” says Ella Purnell of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” Adds Asa Butterfield: “At the start we all felt a bit of pressure. You’re always kind of nervous.”

“You want to get it right,” says Purnell.

“And you want to do it justice,” says Butterfield.

And that’s where Burton comes in. Speaking to Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar, the young actors say the director brought not only his famed quirky vision but an easy rapport with the cast.

“Tim’s so good at making you feel so relaxed and get all of that pressure and all of those feelings — which probably aren’t really healthy — to the film,” says Butterfield. “He just really brings the best out of you.”



Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell Recall Underwater Scene in Miss Peregrine’s
Even when the circumstances are, well, peculiar.

Butterfield, who plays the Florida boy named Jake who stumbles into the island home of strange children with strange powers caught in a 1943 time warp, recalls an underwater scene with Purnell, who plays a girl who has a tendency to literally float away.

Shot in Burton’s luxurious strangeness, Purnell admits the scene in real life “wasn’t that glam. More like drowning fish.”

“Drowning fish?” Butterfield pokes back.

“You know, like the opposite, when they’re like not on water,” says Purnell. “Anyway, it was very physically demanding, and we did two days of training before we actually got in the water. But it was really good fun, actually. That was the best week of filming.”

Asa Butterfield on Weirdness in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
As comfortable as Burton made them feel, the actors couldn’t help but get swept up into author Ransom Riggs’ world of children who are invisible and can make dolls come to life, all living under the watchful eye of Eva Green‘s Miss Peregrine, who can change into a bird.

“It’s quite complex,” says Butterfield. “These children who’ve all grown up with these weird, kind of quirky abilities, they all consider it normal. In their lives and their families’ this is the normality. That’s what’s great about it, because Jake comes into this home thinking he’s totally ordinary and doesn’t have anything to offer, and he realizes he’s just like everyone else, and everyone’s got this weirdness to them. That’s what they need to embrace.”

Source: Made in Hollywood