Elizabeth Debicki: Under Control

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Turning heads in any country she steps foot in, Elizabeth Debicki has been busy jet-setting and working on one movie after another. “I was flying on a plane to Los Angeles from Paris, I just came from Fashion Week,” says the striking six-foot-two actress. Elizabeth attended the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2016 collection and was rather the celebrity correspondent for Vogue Australia.

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Born in Paris but raised in Melbourne, both her parents were ballet dancers. Trained to dance at a young age, she eventually made the transition from one passion to a new one. When asked how she made the decision to shift from dancing to theater acting, she says, “It was a natural progression. I see the two art forms as quite similar to each other. I never really felt like I left one behind.” Receiving praises for the latter craft, specifically for her performance in Sydney Theater Company’s The Maids, she expounds on her love for theater saying, “I love stories and I love language. Acting is an art form that appeals to my sense of imagination and investigation. I love to know how other people live and what else is out there in life that I have never experienced. Acting lets you explore lives so different from your own. I think for me, that’s that appeal.”

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As Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby

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With Henry Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

From then on, she ventured on to the big screen with her first role in a comedy with fellow Aussie actresses Rebel Wilson and Olivia Newton-John called A Few Best Men. Through this film, she caught the eye of award-winning director Baz Luhrmann that got her a part in the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. After portraying the role of Jordan Baker, she went on to play Victoria, the key villain in Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. When asked how it was working with these directors, she says, “Every director I’ve been privileged to work with has a very different approach to making films. I think as an actor, you learn to be adaptable with the method of that particular director while staying true to your process.” Poised to play Lady Macduff alongside Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Elizabeth admits that she enjoys doing period films because it allows her to enter a world that’s so different from hers. “There’s a lot of research that has to be done on a period film, and I find that very satisfying. The costumes and sets are such a world apart from your own, so a layer of your work as an actor is done for you already,” explains Elizabeth. As for the strong-willed characters that she has portrayed, she acknowledges that there are certain similarities between particular aspects of the characters that she has played and herself. “That’s part of the job of the actor, to be able to empathize and identify with elements of the character’s personality. I think I’m a very independent person, certainly stubborn and strong-willed. I go after what I want in life,” she adds.

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Currently busy traveling around the world, the Australian actress has been to three different countries over the past week. “I’m currently preparing for a new film that will be shot in Louisiana, so my days revolve around preparation to play that role,” she adds, making her free time more precious by spending it with family and friends. With Elizabeth’s keen sense of giving importance to every role she portrays and establishing her name by brilliantly making these characters come alive, she’ll surely be an actress that we won’t get tired of seeing.

Photographed by Justin Ridler and Sally Flegg
Published in STATUS Magazine, November 2015

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