The best experience is life experience.
Lady Bird and Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein both werked and worked for her new role in the film How to Build a Girl. Like, she actually worked out of a storefront, specifically a Wolverhampton, England storefront.
Per orders from her director, Coky Giedroyc, Feldstein set up shop in the city, the locale for the ’90s-set film that screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I had to speak in an accent the whole time,” the actress confirmed during an interview at EW and People’s studio. “I was shaking like a kid on the first day of school,” she added. “I was like, ‘Please don’t make me go in!'” But it was worth it.
Based on Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical fiction novel, How to Build a Girl stars Feldstein as Johanna Morrigan, a geeky teen who becomes a fast-rising music critic after responding to a London magazine’s call for new writer submissions. Clearly, an English accent was necessary.
Feldstein admits the entire process was extremely “daunting.” The indie darling behind instantly adored characters like Julie “titular role” Steffans in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and “you failed the Seventh Grade twice” Molly of Booksmart never embodied a role quite like this.
“I never thought of myself as a brave person before,” she said. “I just didn’t associate with that. And then, after we wrapped, I thought, ‘Maybe I’m a little bit brave.'”
As for the accent, “lovely” was Feldstein’s key. “Once, I had that one word I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I can do this,'” she added.
How to Build a Girl also stars Game of Thrones vet Alfie Allen, Mary Poppins Returns‘ Chris O’Dowd, Late Night‘s Emma Thompson, and The Death of Stalin‘s Paddy Considine.
Feldstein recently joined the cast of Merrily We Roll Along, the Stephen Sondheim movie musical adaptation director Richard Linklater plans to film over the course of 20 years. She will also appear as Monica Lewinsky in FX’s American Crime Story.