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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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COLLIDER — From writer/director Matthew Ross, the psychosexual noir thriller Frank & Lolaexplores themes of love and sex, obsession and betrayal, and revenge and redemption. When up-and-coming chef Frank (Michael Shannon) meets aspiring fashion designer Lola (Imogen Poots), they fall hard and fast for one another, until Lola’s past becomes part of their present and jealousy pushes them to the edge of self-destruction.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Imogen Poots talked about what intrigued her about these characters, shooting in Las Vegas, how our past affects who we are, and the experience of working with Michael Shannon. She also talked about her time on the Showtime series Roadies and why she feels a sense of closure with the story they were telling, taking on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?as her first play, and why it was so important for her to be a part of I Kill Giants.

Collider: How did this film come your way?

IMOGEN POOTS: I was sent the script, and then I met with the director (Matt Ross), who by the way had been trying to get the film made for like 10 years, and I thought that was very admirable. So, we spoke about the film, and we spoke about the nature of love and obsession and whether sanity plays a role in that or not. I was really, really intrigued by these characters because, time and time again, you can take it back to the Greek tragedies. There’s a nobility and tragedy to people that try their best, but it doesn’t work out. I think that’s a very valuable thing to see explored through any art form.

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Labels: Frank & Lola, Interviews

NYLON — What happens when the person you love isn’t who you think they are? That’s the question at the heart of Frank & Lola, the debut feature film from Matthew Ross. Ross’ twisty script follows Frank (Michael Shannon), a Vegas-based chef, who begins to suspect that his flighty younger girlfriend Lola (Imogen Poots) is more than what she purports to be. An incisive portrait of male obsession, the film rides on two barnstorming performances from Shannon and Poots, whose undeniable chemistry heightens the tragedy of their doomed relationship. As Lola, Poots nails the unpredictability of a character viewers only experience from the perspective of her jealous lover; as he uncovers revelations about her past that may or may not be true, they must constantly reappraise her, unsure of the objective reality.

Ahead of the film’s release last Friday, we caught up with Poots to discuss how she inhabited such a complex and atypical character.

How did you first get involved with the film?
Well, I met the director and, first of all, he’d been trying to make this film for like 10 years, and he totally committed to it. I thought that was such an incredible thing in itself and I really love the story. What attracted me to it was really the humanity of the story, just the human condition. It was really, really tragic and that’s something a lot of us are drawn to. There’s something noble about watching people try their best, and it doesn’t work out. I just like the idea of love as an illness, love causing you to go insane and really become someone else. The idea behind it was exciting to me, that the characters could be quite rich with contradictions. That’s always enticing.

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Labels: Frank & Lola, Interviews
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