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"The advice that I'd give to my younger self is to just lean in and follow the fear," Zazie Beetz tells us. "I'm not saying I'm even good at this now, but exposure therapy is a thing. The higher the risk, in some ways, the more internal reward you get. It's empowering to do things that you're afraid of."
With a hugely successful career that includes hit series Atlanta (which landed her an Emmy nomination and she credits as being the job that changed her life), playing Marvel Comics character Domino from the movie Deadpool 2, and a role in the Netflix anthology series Easy, Beetz's advice is worth heeding.
The actress' latest project is The Harder They Fall, the violent revenge Western that opened the London Film Festival earlier this month. It's the feature-length debut from director Jeymes Samuel with an all-star cast – featuring Regina King, Idris Elba, Lakeith Stanfield, and co-produced by Jay-Z – that's been praised for its ground-breaking portrayal of Black cowboys, and exploring the long-overlooked history of African Americans in this genre.
"The Harder They Fall is, in Jeymes' words, 'hard'," she laughs. "Or 'haaaard'. That's what he always said when something was good."
In the film, Beetz plays Stagecoach Mary – loosely based on a real historical figure – a saloon-owner and love interest of protagonist and gang leader Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), who goes on a revenge mission when his enemy is released from prison.
"There's a love story between her and Nat," Beetz explains. "They have this sort of reuniting after not having seen each other for some time and he has this journey that he's going on, and I accompany him."
The German-American actress clearly has an eye for an impactful role - and the ability to land it - so what's her advice for anyone stepping into the audition room?
"I actually really enjoy auditioning, and I was always taught that when you walk into the room its your space," she says. "Everybody wants to hire you; they want to be done casting – so you have to walk in with that confidence of like, 'We're on the same team here'. So, with that said, I usually just try to go for it. Bring props, dress up. Just have fun."
Watch our full interview with Zazie Beetz above, in which she shares what makes her happiest, her dream role, and the best gift she's ever been given.
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