Anya Taylor-Joy Thought This One Performance Ruined Her Career: 'I Just Cried'

Anya Taylor-Joy rose to critical acclaim for her role in Robert Eggers' The Witch, but fans might be shocked to learn she was "devastated" by her performance upon her first watch. The actress reveals on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast that she believed her career would be over –– obviously, the outcome was quite the opposite.

"[Director] Rob [Eggers] showed us the film maybe two hours before the audience screening, and I was devastated," she told the outlet. "I thought I'd never work again, I still get shivers thinking about it. It was just the worst feeling of, 'I have let down the people I love most in the world. I didn't do it right.' And I'm quite verbose, I like to talk, I like to communicate. I did not talk, I just cried. I couldn't handle seeing my face that large."

Taylor-Joy went on to complete a list of acclaimed high-performing box office films and successful TV shows, including Emma, M. Night Shyamalan's Split, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, before taking on Netflix's The Queen's Gambit. For the latter, she earned high praise for her turn as main character Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy who struggles with addiction. But it's this list of work that showed the actress that she needed to take a break, she says.

"What it was about is it took me a second to realize that the people around me weren't working the way that I was working. I thought everybody finished a job, got on a plane, and started the next job. And I am incredibly grateful that that's the way that I learned how to work," she continued on the podcast. "But these are pivotal years in my development as a person, and I had put all of my energy into fleshing out other people, and I suddenly got to a point where I had no idea who I was, trying to hold on to relationships, and trying to build a home without having any kind of root or tether, because I hadn't figured out that I had to be that for myself."


Though she's spacing out her projects, Taylor-Joy certainly remains booked and busy. She'll be reuniting with Eggers for the upcoming film The Northman. In addition, she's also scheduled to portray the titular role in the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel Furiosa. Her next movie, Last Night in Soho, will debut in theaters on Oct. 22, 2021.