Bafta nominee Morfydd Clark has said doors are finally opening in the horror genre after historical “huge problems” with the genre in its treatment of women and minorities.
The Welsh actress, 32, was the star of the critically acclaimed 2020 horror film Saint Maud, playing a palliative care nurse and recent convert to high Catholicism who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care, and believes she must save her soul.
The film, written and directed by Rose Glass, is nominated for a number of Baftas, including outstanding British film, while Clark is nominated for the EE Rising Star prize, the only gong voted for by the public.
Clark said she was in “disbelief” when she learned of her nomination for the award, which counts Tom Holland, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright among previous winners, and was further gratified when the film was recognised by Bafta in other categories.
She told the PA news agency: “I’m just so happy about Rose being championed because she was wonderful to work with from every aspect of it, all the crew loved her, I loved working with her.
“You hear a lot of stuff about people who might not be bringing the most positive vibes and stuff to this career and she definitely is, and she just has a huge amount of respect for all the craft around her, whether it’s lighting, the actors, the people finding her these amazing locations, so I’m really chuffed that she’s going to go to do more.”
She added: “It felt so different to everything I had read, I just hadn’t seen a character like Maud and she spoke to me.
“I’ve been kind of obsessed with how much strangeness or eccentricity we allow women to have, but that aristocrats are allowed to have it or luckily actors like myself, but in general eccentricity is something that is not allowed and I was fascinated by that aspect of it.”
She continued: “In the last 10 years, obviously there has been amazing horror before that, but in terms of racism and sexism, there was huge problems about that in horror – the women or people of colour died first, often more horribly – and so I think there has been a lot of introspection within the horror community.
“Doors are starting to be opened and we are getting the voices and stories from people (we didn’t before) so I also just think it’s a really exciting genre to be opened up, in the way that the whole industry is luckily being opened up.”
Clark’s next project is the eagerly anticipated Lord Of The Rings TV series, which is currently being filmed in New Zealand, and she said being on set is “a constant state of sensory overload”.
She added: “I was 12 when the films came out so I was prime age for the magic of it.
“Also I was just like, ‘This is really violent and I’m allowed to go to the cinema to watch it’.
“New Zealand felt like a place that would be on the bucket list forever, so just to be here is amazing but also I was obsessed with the idea of Peter Jackson (who directed the films) and his crew and we are working with lots of them, which is just incredible.
“To lots of people, New Zealand has been not just Lord Of The Rings but kind of a film mecca. But also being in this country does make sense to me how Peter Jackson saw Lord Of The Rings, because the country is just magnificent and the ground is alive, it speaks to you, it bubbles, it does stuff, so it’s wonderful.”
Vote for the EE Rising Star at https://www.bafta.org/film/news/ee-rising-star-award-2021.