2023 TIME Next Generation Leaders — Florence Pugh

Posted on May 23, 2023

TIME released the 2023 list of Next Generation Leaders, highlighting 10 trendsetters and trailblazers who are guiding the way to a brighter future. 

The new list features a cover profile of actor Florence Pugh, who tells TIME about her on-set experience with Timothée Chalamet, Don’t Worry Darling filming, entering the Marvel cinematic universe, and defining her public persona. 


TIME’s Eliana Dockterman on Florence Pugh: “She’s no one-trick pony: equally adept at comedy and action, she has appeared in superhero flicks and indies. She’s a magnetic and multifaceted onscreen presence, the kind that doesn’t come around very often…she’ll star in two highly-anticipated movies: Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two. Both are the sort of epics that Hollywood rarely makes anymore, especially in an era when franchises, not movie stars, sell tickets… studios and directors are fretting that the theatrical experience may die if a new crop of young stars can’t lure audiences…Villeneuve says he cast Dune: Part Two with the future of cinema in mind…Pugh has charisma to spare. Along with her famous frown, she deploys her infectious smile at opportune moments.”

On the rumors that swirled around the casting for Don’t Worry Darling, Pugh tells TIME: “A whole film set, it’s everybody making a huge effort because they want to be there. And If someone doesn’t want to be there or if someone isn’t pulling their weight, you can feel it. The film feels wrong.”

On portraying strong-willed women who fight against society’s expectations: “Even if they’re not defined on the page, I always find some way to make them quite confrontational…I never see the bad in them—even when they have killed children and burned boyfriends. I’ve always understood them as people that needed to do what they had to do to survive.”

On starring in various films and shows within the Marvel cinematic universe: “So many people in the indie film world were really pissed off at me. They were like, ‘Great, now she’s gone forever’…And I’m like, no, I’m working as hard as I used to work. I’ve always done back-to-back movies. It’s just people are watching them now. You just have to be a bit more organized with your schedule.”

On how when producers asked her to change her body she decided she would not return to Hollywood until she had a better grasp of what she wanted to represent, and she returned to star in a WWE film: “The person I came back to was a female wrestler with muscles and big thighs who made her own name as a champion…I quite liked that because the last time I’d been there I was told I needed to lose weight—it was just so not the person I wanted to be.”

On maintaining control of her image in the spotlight: “I would never show one side of me because that’s setting myself up to fail…I don’t want anyone to make money catching me out being me. I want to give them all of me.”


The June 12 /June 19 double issue of TIME goes on sale on Friday, June 9. 


[Photo Credit: Mark Peckmezian for TIME]

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