25 July 2020 10:30
The actress shares stories from her first on-camera job on 'The Force Awakens' and her recently launched Barefaced Productions. With her very first on-camera job, Maisie Richardson-Sellers landed on the biggest stage possible, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "What could have been a really intimidating experience" turned into something "pleasurable," she recalls, thanks to her scene-mate, the late Carrie Fisher. The British actress, who also plays punk-rock shapeshifter Charlie on DC's Legends of Tomorrow, is expanding her purview with the recently launched Barefaced Productions, a company that will focus on storytelling about people of color and the LGBTQAI+ community. As such, the banner's first project is the short film Sunday's Child, which centers on a young, isolated queer woman and her journey to self-acceptance (Richardson-Sellers co-wrote and directed).
In her latest acting gig, The Kissing Booth 2, the self-described "nerd" plays Chloe, a British co-ed who grows close to Noah (played by Jacob Elordi). Netflix begins streaming the film, a follow-up to 2018's breakout The Kissing Booth, on July 24. THR caught up with the Richardson-Sellers on Zoom as she showed off her recently planted vegetable garden at her L.A. home while discussing her Legends future, mastering pool on Kissing Booth and spending one-on-one time with Carrie Fisher in her trailer. What was your best moment on Kissing Booth 2? I have always wanted to play pool, be a cool, good, pool player. And Chloe happens to be amazing at pool. So I got training with this champion pool player three times a week. Then it came to filming this pool scene, and I managed to do the whole thing without needing a double, sank all the shots while still remembering my lines. Joey [King] and I both had food poisoning at the same time when we were filming. But I have left the show as a series regular, which was a really tough but positive decision that I made because I really want to pour more energy and time into Barefaced Productions and getting projects off the ground, and I just couldn't do that with the [Legends] shooting schedule. I learned so much from Legends. So, I don't think it's fully goodbye yet. What's been the best moment of your career? I directed a play, a production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf, which is this choreo-poem by Ntozake Shange. I did like six auditions for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was intense, and then obviously did not get the lead but still got another small part. J.J. Abrams was so sweet, so lovely to me and he gave me a part in the film. My first ever on-camera experience was a scene with Carrie Fisher. What do you remember about working with Carrie? I walked on set and she just beamed at me and she said, "We've got this." I was like, "This is my first time." And she was just so kind and generous and just ended up making it into such a pleasurable experience, what could have been a really intimidating experience. And then afterwards, I went to her trailer to say thank you and she was like, "Come in." I sat with her, and we had a chat. And she was just so open and just so willing to share. She didn't have to be like that with technically a day player. I've actually almost had many lives. I went to Oxford to study anthropology and archaeology, and I had this idea of working for the U.N. as researcher or as a documentary filmmaker. There's a lot of Oxford grads in film and TV. Do it, that's fine, but please just get a degree, just have something." I was like, "Fine. I love studying." I thought let me just do whatever I'm most passionate about and let me go to Oxford because I know that a lot of actors do still come out of Oxford for some reason. It's sort of off campus, their drama society. And lots of agents come and see the plays that come out of Oxford, and that's how my agent found me. It's a nice alternative to going to drama school. Great networking and a fantastic degree at the same time. As an actress, who would be your dream director? To me it was a perfect piece of art — from the cinematography to the acting to the script, the use of light as a character within the story and as a metaphor for the character's journey, the evolution of relationships. It's such a complete world that he creates in such a tender way and it's a way that I haven't seen the LGBTQAI+ experience represented before. As a director, who would you most like to direct? It would be a joy to work with her in any aspect — to direct her, to act with her, hold her coffee. In Guyana, "barefaced" is a phrase we use to describe someone who is challenging the norm, being a bit cheeky, being out there, being controversial. It's an affectionate slang word. It's amazing. It's the first time I've ever seen myself represented in a book. There is a queer, mixed-race, Guyanese actress in the book, which is really cool. I just felt like I made it, that independence and that pocket money and not having to lean on my parents was just really cool. I remember my first paycheck, I split it between the two of them and I was like, "Thank you. And thank you for everything you've done." And that was a really powerful moment. She has lived the life of seven people. The journey of coming through Guyana to England and raising three children by herself. What do you love most about the fan community? I love going to Comic-Cons, to conventions because it's so nice to finally be able to interact with the people who are enjoying what you're creating. I love the Legends fans because I'm a massive nerd and they are mostly nerds and we can just sort of geek out together. It's really heartwarming and humbling when people come up to you and tell you the impact that the character you played has had on their lives. What do you like least about the fan community? It's so sad sometimes when someone will say something that someone doesn't quite agree with. Sometimes I think fan communities can be a little bit too quick to tear people apart, which makes me sad. I've noticed quite a lot of communities, micro-communities, being built within my fan group, and that makes me feel inspired. I did have a strange dream where I was best friends with Rihanna. And I woke up and I was like, "I am best friends with Rihanna!" Every time I see her pop up now, I'm like, "Oh my girl." Is there an opportunity for Chloe to come back for a Kissing Booth 3? It definitely ends on a note where Chloe would be there.