She made a name for herself in young-adult roles in such films as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Now, Olivia Cooke, 26, has seamlessly transitioned into the next phase of her career. In the past three years she has earned rave reviews for her mischievous and unvarnished approach to period drama as Becky Sharp in Thackery’s Vanity Fair and excelled as a murderous sociopath in the indie thriller Thoroughbreds.
For her latest project, Cooke stars alongside Riz Ahmed in Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal, a poignant film that is receiving award-season noise. In it, Cooke plays Lou, Ahmed’s on-screen girlfriend and punk-metal bandmate. Cooke even wrote some of the lyrics for songs in the film and learned “how to scream!,” she tells me. But the tone of the film quickly veers off into more somber territory as Ahmed’s character realizes he’s losing his hearing. It’s a raw and unsettling drama shot entirely on film; the actors “only got two or maybe three takes each.”