Imogen Poots Online
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For Imogen Poots, 2015 marked a new beginning. Across the better part of a decade, she’d scored noteworthy roles in movies like “28 Weeks Later,” “Solitary Man” and “Jane Eyre” without ever quite transcending emerging-actress limbo. But as the 2010s inch forward, Poots has always been on the cusp of breaking through — with the vampire horror-comedy “Fight Night,” the rowdy bromance “That Awkward Moment” and the noisy Aaron Paul racing vehicle “Need for Speed.”

But it’s the movies that have struggled to secure much shelf life where Poots has found her true calling. She played Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener’s daughter in 2011’s “A Late Quartet” before starring as Linda Keith, one of Jimi Hendrix’s lovers, in the under-appreciated 2013 biopic “Jimi: All Is By My Side” and as an earnest call-girl-turned-Broadway-hopeful in Peter Bogdanovich’s 2015 screwball comedy “She’s Funny That Way.” This year alone, she’s appeared in the Sundance drama “Frank & Lola,” Terrence Malick’s existential pilgrimage “Knight of Cups” and the gnarly punk thriller “Green Room,” which is now in theaters. This summer, Poots will transition to television for Showtime’s behind-the-scenes rock series “Roadies,” created by “Almost Famous” director Cameron Crowe.

The Huffington Post recently chatted with the 26-year-old U.K. native about “Green Room” and how she’s found fulfillment in her still-burgeoning career. Here are a few highlights from our conversation.

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Imogen Poots is sitting on a bench in Tompkins Square Park in New York, but she’s meant to be in Los Angeles. “It’s a secret that I’m here,” she says. She’s snuck home to the East Village for four days in between shoot dates for Roadies, the long-anticipated first TV show by Cameron Crowe and executive produced by J.J. Abrams. “I really missed home, so I said, ‘I’m just going to pack my bags and leave.’ I got back to my apartment yesterday expecting to find cockroaches having a dinner party.”

Roadies, which premieres on Showtime on June 26, stars Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino at the head of an ensemble cast including Imogen as well as, intriguingly, the chart-topping Ohio-bred rapper Machine Gun Kelly. The ten episodes will follow the backstage and between-stop dramatics that play out during a stadium rock band’s tour across America. Poots plays Kelly Ann, an electrical technician, who, in the show’s only released trailer so far, coolly navigates arena back corridors by skateboard and dispatches arch life advice in tour bus cabins. Her hair throughout is swept back behind a black bandana, suggesting a kind of soulful, alternative but all-American, pluckiness.

“It’s such a new experience for me, I’m just still trying to figure out how I feel about it,” Imogen reflects; like it is for Crowe, Roadies is her first television project. “But I love Cameron so deeply. And it’s certainly different doing something with this kind of longevity attached to it.”

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First, a disclosure. Personally, I am massively fond of Ms. Imogen Poots. There is good reason for that. Without her help, and her courage, at a very specific and delicate time, the film I’ve been trying to make for the past decade called Frank & Lola would have fallen apart, almost certainly for good. So I know firsthand what this 26-year-old with an unnervingly old soul is capable of—as an actress, as a human, as an artist—and trust me, it’s rare, and worth your attention. Take Grace Kelly, mix in a little Annie Hall, add some pixie dust and a bit of British je ne sais quoi and Immie (as she is known to everyone who’s ever met her) materializes. Also, she’s a blonde. Hitchcock would have loved her.

Born and raised to a pair of journalist parents in London’s Chiswick district, Poots has lived under the industry spotlight ever since her first speaking role, at just 17, with a fearless, precocious performance opposite Robert Carlyle in 28 Weeks Later, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s impressive follow-up to Danny Boyle’s visionary digital-video horror epic 28 Days Later. Young, beautiful, talented actresses are a very rare commodity in Hollywood, and Immie, who scored a British Independent Film Award nomination for her work, checked all the boxes. She signed with a major agency while still in her teens and was soon booking at least three films a year. Along the way, the fashion world fell in love with her, which led to modeling work (she’s currently the face of Miu Miu) and regular appearances at shows and CFDA balls. At 22 years old she made the obligatory move to L.A. and more work followed, a balanced mix of studio gigs (2014’s Need for Speed) and prestigious indies (film god Terrence Malick’s upcoming Knight of Cups). But something still didn’t feel right. A change of location was in order.

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Given her affinity for 1970s cinema—or anything prior—British actor Imogen Poots is a natural lead for her new film She’s Funny That Way, a Peter Bogdanovich revival of the ’30s and ’40s screwball comedy. Set around the production of a Broadway show, the film stars Owen Wilson as a director who becomes enamored with Poots, a hooker, and casts her in his play opposite both his wife and ex-lover. A complicated farce of crossed love interests that also throws in the playwright (Will Forte) and his therapist (Jennifer Aniston), She’s Funny That Way is a contemporary homage to its genre, playing a strong feminine cast against bumbling masculinity.

It’s not hard to imagine a modern-day Poots holding her own among a crowd of Hollywood’s Golden Age, with all the energy and charm to tame both the director’s bullhorn and her on-screen love interests with a glance and offbeat quip. Many of Poots’ roles, though, are far from old fashioned. Her credits include 28 Weeks Later, the videogame-inspired Need For Speed and an upcoming Cameron Crowe pilot, Roadies. She’s now in league with some fine talent in She’s Funny That Way, produced by filmmakers Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach—both protégés of ’70s heavyweight Bogdanovich—with a cameo by Quentin Tarantino.

HGS: Did you enjoy the shoot?

IP: It was so much fun. It’s a rare thing, in a way, to really like the clothes that you’re wearing. The stylist was awesome and had some really cool ideas. It was very couture, but grunge—kind of like an expensive homeless person. It was really, really fun. We played music and boogied around.

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Imogen Poots is effortlessly herself. That may seem like the easiest thing in the world to accomplish, but it is a rarity for young female actors, most of whom have modeled themselves after the person they wish to become—the cool girl, the It girl, the goofball. Poots is somewhere on that spectrum, but she is wholly her own person: friendly, chatty, smart, and funny.

“I actually really love auditioning,” she says at the NoMad Hotel’s Library bar over coffee. “That doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. Most things I love don’t work out in terms of life. I really like sunsets, but they don’t happen more than once a day. If that.”

That’s the way a conversation with her swoops and dives, leaving one pleasantly destabilized. She’s discussing her new/old movie “She’s Funny That Way,” in which she stars as Izzy, a Brooklyn prostitute who is cast in a Broadway play despite her previous sexual relationship with the director (Owen Wilson), unbeknown to the play’s star, his wife (Kathryn Hahn). Coming to theaters Aug. 21 and originally filmed two years ago, the comedy is director Peter Bogdanovich’s first movie since 2001’s “The Cat’s Meow.”

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