What is a fear that you have willingly faced?
I am not sure I would call this a real fear, but when I was a teenager I always thought having very short hair would be awful. Then shooting my first film I was required to bleach it every week. My hair disintegrated and after filming I had to cut it all off to a very short pixie crop hairstyle. This is a look I had feared but then when I had it, I liked it. I would never have voluntarily cut it all off and because I had no choice, I realized I liked it. Years later, I chose to cut it all off again. Sometimes doing something like that can make you feel like you can begin again.
Would you rather know how long you have to live, or how long human kind will exist?
I would like to know neither. I always try to remind myself time is ticking and if I have something I really want to do and said I would do, then the time in now! I like to have a sense of urgency sometimes. One day, everything can change in an instant. This can be unexpected and or unwelcomed. So I want to appreciate what I have now and the surprises of the future are just that, surprises.
If you could select one item or incantation to exist in real life from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, what would you pick?
I would love my own version of Newt’s suitcase. If I could dive into my handbag at any given moment I think that could be a lot of fun!
What was a scary story or cautionary ‘fact’ that you were told as a youngster and took to heart far too gravely?
“Don’t talk to strangers.” I know that is sensible advice when you are a child. Living in a big city like London can make you untrustworthy of anyone you don’t know. You avoid looking people in the eye. Then all of a sudden someone will do a kind gesture unprovoked and wanting nothing in return. In the same breath someone can push you off the tube as they try to get on in rush hour. This happened to me and I landed flat on my face on the platform and someone stepped over me. Not a great moment! But I still like to believe in the kindness of strangers. It took me years to allow that in. Perhaps through confidence and travelling alone, I can now make room for a new conversation or interaction with someone I don’t know, especially in the neighborhood that I live in. I like the feeling of community but I think you have to act on that if you want it.
What’s something that’s fine to hear from a family member but would be terrible to hear from a romantic partner?
There are loads of things! “That colour doesn’t suit you” or “that perfume is really heady and not in a good way,” or “the salmon is a little chewy.” My family have said those things to me but if a romantic partner did, I would probably take it too personally!
Is there anyone you would ever ask (or secretly want) an autograph from?
I would be more inclined to ask for an autograph now as people always want photographs. An autograph is something special, less intrusive and more personal. It is a connection between the asker and the asked whereas a photograph can then be put on social media and then the moment is dispersed. If I had to pick someone it would be Jack Nicholson. I remember Rob Reiner on a podcast talking about working with him on A Few Good Men. In the court scene at the end of the movie, Reiner said he had to shoot everyone’s reactions first, before they would come to shoot Jack Nicholson’s close up at the end of the day. All day, Nicholson gave it everything each time and Reiner said to him would he not like to save his energy for when the camera came on him. Nicholson said, “I just love to act.” So his autograph would be a reminder of why I chose this profession and how lucky I am that I get to do what I love.
Describe one of your favourite films in the form of a clickbait article headline.
“I taped a schoolmate’s ass cheeks together in a fit of rage against my father. I feel some remorse but also happy surprise at gaining three new friends and a girlfriend!”
Andrew Clark tells his journey. The Breakfast Club.
What is a seemingly useless talent that you wish you possessed?
I would love to be able to run up a wall and back flip. I think that would liven up even the most tense situations.
If you could pick one other corner of the Potter universe to turn into a film – or simply delve further into – what would you pick?
The Hogwarts Kitchens! I love when J.K. Rowling writes about the food! It is so detailed and creative and wonderful. I’d like to look more into the lives of the elves and their adventures in the kitchens.
Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.
Jenn Murray can be seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in cinemas now globally.
As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Francesca Turner
Hair: Yusuke Morioka
Makeup: Nicola Moores-Brittin