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BUSTLE — There’s having a banner year for your career, and then there’s Imogen Poots’ 2016. Over the course of the last 12 months, the actor has appeared in three acclaimed movies, each as different from each other as could be: the terrifying horror flick Green Room, out in April; the satire comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, from June; and the indie thriller Frank & Lola, in theaters and on demand now. Add in a 10-episode stint on the Showtime series Roadies, and it’d seem like Poots hasn’t had a moment to breathe this past year. Yet while her schedule might be crazy, the actor is the first one to say that, considering how few great roles there are for women in Hollywood, she wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“I think it’s a struggle all the time, but I do think there’s a minority of actresses who are in a position and can have this conversation, and I’m acutely aware of that and I’m very grateful for that,” Poots says, while at Bustle’s New York office. “And I think that you shouldn’t misuse that. You should try and be active and urgent about changing the way that women are represented in film — not to say that they should be strong, artificially pure perfect characters, but actually explore the idea of the anti-hero and a woman who is flawed and has made mistakes and is enduring the struggle of life.”

Poots’ latest character, the titular Lola of Frank & Lola, is right up that alley. A mysterious fashion designer whose past romances complicate her relationship with Frank (Michael Shannon), her serious, possessive boyfriend, Lola has a backstory and motivations impossible to pin down, making the film a constant surprise. For Poots, getting to play a character as complex and flawed as Lola was what drew her to the film.

“It’s interesting, because people have called [Frank & Lola] a noir, sometimes, and I see why — there are elements that are definitely faithful to that genre,” she explains. “But there was something more than just a linear depiction of what women is…. in its own way, it subverts the archetypes, because even if you could describe Lola as a femme fatale or siren, I really think that she’s just a human being who made a mistake and is at great unease to tell the truth.”

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INSTYLE — Imogen Poots has had her share of happily-ever-afters onscreen. So for her latest role, the 27-year-old English actress was seeking anything but the rom-com standard. In Frank & Lola (now in theaters) she portrays the titular Lola, a Las Vegas-based fashion designer who finds herself in a passionate love affair with Frank, a possessive chef portrayed by Michael Shannon. Both characters are flawed: Frank is jealous and suspicious, and Lola gives him reason to be. Their romance is dark and messy—and that’s precisely what drew Poots to the part.

“I was intrigued by the fact that the film is about a couple who, despite trying their best, were never going to work things out,” she said during a recent visit to InStyle’s New York City offices. “They were just human beings, and both sides messed up. There wasn’t anything they could correct, and nothing was redeemable.”

After an indiscretion on Lola’s part, things only spiral further out of control in the film. “Once you lose trust in someone, you also lose respect,” said Poots. “Everyone has that fallacy. So people might say that Lola is a siren or a femme fatale, and that Frank is an incompetent, imperfect man—but at its core, this is just a very human love story. It doesn’t put pressure on anyone. It just says, Look at what happens to this couple, and in a strange way, I think there’s something we all slightly enjoy in seeing the realness of that tragedy.”

While Poots and Shannon have an intense relationship on-camera, things were a lot more light-hearted off-screen. “It was the first time we’d worked together, and it was a great experience,” she said. “We shot most of the film in Las Vegas, over the course of just 21 days. It was a great experience—I couldn’t have asked for a greater tennis player, in a sense, than Mike. And I couldn’t have asked for a more emotionally f****d up tennis player for Lola than Frank.”

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VOGUE — In a mad rush to get out of town, Imogen Poots is cleaning. Domestic organization has become something of a ritual for the actress before leaving her loft in New York City. “It’s so clean and lovely,” she says. “I like it to be nice when I get back, but when I’m actually living in it . . .” she trails off. Any messiness that may exist inside her apartment should be excused, though—especially this year.

Poots, 27, has been entrenched in work in 2016. The London-born talent has made stray appearances in everything from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping(the crass, Andy Samberg–driven satire of petty, megalomaniacal celebrities) to The Promise (a true-crime documentary about a murderous love affair). Then there’s her recurring work in Roadies (Showtime’s newest music drama) and about a half-dozen performances in films (The Sleeping Shepherd, I Kill Giants) coming out next year. The A.V. Club called her a “combination starlet and workhorse.”

Poots also possesses that rare quality of being both humbled by her success while still being interested in interrogating it. “I’m an actor for hire, you know? I think the last couple of years I’ve felt extremely fulfilled with the opportunities that have come my way,” she says. “You wish to play roles that continue to offer a chance to really disappear and ask questions about the human condition.”

She certainly pulls that off in Frank & Lola, a clever neo-noir in which Poots plays a recent college graduate looking to jumpstart her career as a fashion designer. To help her do that is Frank (Michael Shannon), a supportive lover and skilled Las Vegas chef. Soon after they fall for one another, chaos comes knocking at their door. The proceedings are more sinister than romantic: a slickly crafted caper wrapped in obsession, jealousy, and revenge.

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Old-school rock ’n’ roll is having a TV moment. Earlier this year, HBO took us deep into the cocaine-fueled excess of a 1970s record label with its hit series Vinyl. And now Showtime is presenting its portrayal of the lives of a not-quite-in-the-spotlight rock band’s crew in this June’s Roadies. If the premise sounds vaguely Almost Famous–esque, that’s because the show’s creator is Cameron Crowe, the former music journalist whose experience as a fanboy covering the Allman Brothers forRolling Stone inspired that 2000 Oscar winner.

“Cameron is such an authentic man,” says 26-year-old British actress Imogen Poots, who plays Kelly Ann, an idealistic young electrician working for the successful fictional group the Staton-House Band. “He still lives those stories so intimately and can remember them so vividly. He just felt he had to record them somehow.”

In a way, Poots’s character is the embodiment of both Crowe’s deep-seated passion for music and his anxieties regarding the changes affecting today’s tenuous, fragmented music industry. In the first episode, she is in the midst of an existential crisis, questioning her own love for the band to which she’s devoted years of her life and considering giving it all up for a shot at film school.

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Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room is a lean and mean siege film. The writer and director behind the excellent 2013 dramatic thriller, Blue Ruin, tells a slightly more aggressive story this time around. Up until this point in Saulnier’s career, by his own admission, he’s been making “aggressive male movies,” but the director wanted to make a transition in that regard withGreen Room.

One of the female protagonists in this bloody “punk rockers vs. Neo-Nazis” tale is Amber, a silent and ferocious force in the film. She joins the band in their fight for survival, and she’s by far the most capable character in the film. Amber is played by actress Imogen Poots, who’s having quite a year, with Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, Green Room, and the upcoming Showtime series, Roadies.

Imogen Poots took the time to discuss Amber with us, in addition to working with Jeremy Saulnier, the importance of getting a character’s costume right, working with Cameron Crowe, and her massive Woody Allen phase.

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