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[VIDEO]: Bella Heathcote Loves Professor Marston Because Anything That “Makes [Sex] Less Taboo Is Good”

Our Professor Marston and the Wonder Women coverage continues today with a word from the fabulous Bella Heathcote, who plays the role of Olive Byrne, lover to both William and Elizabeth Marston.

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Heathcote’s revelatory performance in Professor Marston is one of the many things that make it a success. Olive ended up being the character I identified with the most in the film, so I was thrilled to be able to sit and have a chat with Heathcote at the Toronto International Film Festival about what makes this role, and this story, so special.

You can check out the video interview above, and if you have trouble watching video, there’s a transcript below!


TMS (Teresa Jusino): The movie’s great. I got to see it and it was amazing. And I really love the character of Olive. It’s weird calling her a character, because she actually exists in life. What drew you to her and to taking this part?

Bella Heathcote: Wow. I mean, I read the script. I loved it. I loved the story. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know any of this before. And I loved the fact that…it’s so rare that you see a female character, or a character in general, go through an entire arc that’s a genuine arc in a script. To actually see a woman grow up from this kind of naive girl who’s unsure of herself and really shelteredraised by nuns—to a woman who’s empowered, knows what she wants, is willing to sacrifice to get it. It’s a family. All the characters are completely three-dimensional. They’ve got their own identities. They’ve got their own sexuality. What’s not to like?

TMS: Was there anything about this story that surprised you, or challenged you, or confounded your expectations about things like relationships, sex, gender…?

Heathcote: The whole script itself surprised me. I don’t know that there was one specific thing. I just thought it was great that it was this story. You see these three people, who are clearly completely in love with each other, completely respect each other, and then as far as I’m concerned, if those are the circumstances, anything goes. And I think that anything that normalizes sex, or makes it less taboo, is good.

TMS: What do you hope people take away from the film once they’ve seen it?

Heathcote: The fact that Wonder Woman was created with love by a man who was a feminist before it was fashionable. Who was an amalgamation of these two women he loved, and he wanted to spread the idea of a woman fighting for peace and love in the world.

Check out my interview with Rebecca Hall, the film’s Elizabeth Marston HERE and my longer interview with director Angela Robinson HERE.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women OPENS TOMORROW in the U.S. 

(image: Annapurna Pictures)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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