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SYFY WIRE Black Widow

Midsommar's Florence Pugh says it’s ‘totally nuts’ jumping into the MCU for Black Widow movie

By Tara Bennett
Midsomar Florence Pugh

Actress Florence Pugh is having one hell of a run. This summer she wowed audiences in Ari Aster's Midsommar, a horrific meditation on gaslighting and grief. In December, she plays a March sister in the upcoming adaptation of Little Women and then in 2020, as Russian assassin Yelena Belova in Marvel Studios' Black Widow, toplined by Scarlett Johansson.

In fact her coming-out party for Yelena was in July in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, where she and her Black Widow cast were introduced to 7,000 fans. 

"Oh my god," she tells SYFY WIRE of that roar that washed over her as she was introduced. "It was totally nuts. I loved it. I couldn't see the back of the wall. It was crazy!"

But regardless of how well-planned her path seems, Pugh says her current buzz is all about happenstance. 

"It's so funny that everything's just coming out now. I've been going for the past four years, and wonderfully so, I've managed to go from job to job. So it's interesting the order, that people are watching the films. Because I know the year that I made them, and I know the year that they came out. It just so happens that it's worked out this way."

"Black Widow is one of the biggest films that I've made, but I think I've done things that were as difficult to climb as that film before," she adds. "So, I don't feel like it's all been leading to this one, big, grand moment because even the little one, Midsommar was just as big a climb as Black Widow was."

Midsommar certainly put her more on the radar of film audiences. And for TV audiences, her turn as Charlie in AMC's adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl in 2018 absolutely laid the groundwork for the gritty action she's doing as Yelena in Widow. But it's all about timing in the end.

"Being there at the right place at the right time and working with the people that you want to work with," Pugh says, is everything. "Even though it may seem like they've all just come out right now, these things have been in motion for years. So it's interesting how that can actually affect someone's career when they come out and how they come out."

With Midsommar now available on digitial and Blu-ray (the Labor Day limited release of the director's cut by Aster is an Apple TV exclusive), Pugh hopes more audiences will seek out the horror film that is a brutal exploration of a dying relationship (among other things). She says her harrowing turn as the emotionally traumitized Dani was a decent into madness that she relished.

"I loved doing those crazy days," the actress admits. "I loved doing the days where you would see parts of her brain let go and then quickly catch up again. As an actor, that's so exciting. How am I going to play this for two seconds, this girl goes mad and then she pings back again? I found those days the most thrilling."

She also hopes audiences look at Dani and Christian's (Jack Reynor) relationship with fresh eyes. "I didn't know the power that the relationship would have over people," she says of audience reaction to the pair. "I knew that it would frustrate people, but I think, ultimately, I don't want there to be sides with these two characters. I don't want him to be a baddie and for Dani to be a goodie. I know that he obviously did some horrific things. In that sense he is definitely a baddie. But I think in every relationship there are two players. In order for it to get to a certain point, one person has to have done something and the other person has to have done another. I know that there was a lot of gaslighting and I know that there was a lot of not caring in our relationship. But, ultimately, it had got to that point way before anything had happened with her family life and way before they had gone on holiday."

Midsommar is available now on digital and Blu-ray. Black Widow opens May 1, 2020.