Maisie Williams shares her hopes for season 2 of ‘Two Weeks to Live’
Sep 4, 2020
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“First of all, she’d have to be introduced to Elvis Presley…”

Maisie Williams has opened up about her hopes for a second season of Two Weeks To Live.

The Game of Thrones star, returning to TV for the first time since the HBO show ended, recently told NME what she would like to see for her character Kim if the series were to return.

“I think that her little mind would be completely blown by so many things,” Williams said. “I’d love to see her experiencing tribute acts. They’re so weird and we don’t think they are.

“First of all, she’d have to be introduced to Elvis Presley or whoever and then she’d have to understand that he’s dead and this person is just acting like him. It just makes no sense. Or I’d love to see her looking at doll’s houses.”

Williams continued: “The fact that we keep houses in our houses that are full of really tiny things?” she says. “People actually put in wiring and plumbing and shit like that, it’s just so extra. Kim really does call everything out, like, ‘Why do we do this? It’s so strange.’”

In a five-star review of Two Weeks To Live, NME said: “One of 2020’s best new shows, Two Weeks To Live leans into the witty humour of classic British comedies like Hot Fuzz and Brassic.

“There’s attitude and the story rolls along with a real swagger, but it never does the expected or takes itself too seriously. Season one’s final episode leaves the door wide open for a second series and lays to rest the ghost of Arya Stark.”

Maisie Williams on ‘The Owners’ and the Original Night King Ending on ‘Games of Thrones’
Sep 4, 2020
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2020-The New Mutants / 2020-The Owners / Interviews / News & Updates / Press
The actor talks going indie for her first post-‘Thrones’ role and the secret Kit Harington was told during season three of the HBO hit.
After devoting a decade of her life to HBO’s global phenomenon, Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams is going indie. In her first post-Thrones role, Williams plays Mary in Julius Berg’s The Owners, which explores a botched home burglary involving a group of friends and an older couple who practice medicine from the aforementioned manor. William’s character gets caught up in her boyfriend’s (Ian Kenny) muddled plan, and has to deal with the unexpected fallout.Coming off of the biggest television production of all time, Williams jumped at the chance to go back to basics via the horror-thriller, as her indie ambitions were inspired by a couple of familiar faces.

“I Feel Myself Coming Back To The Surface”: Maisie Williams On Her Cathartic Quarantine
Sep 4, 2020
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“I Feel Myself Coming Back To The Surface”: Maisie Williams On Her Cathartic Quarantine

Maisie Williams returns to our screen this week in revenge comedy Two Weeks To Live as Kim, who leaves her overbearing mother (Fleabag’s Sian Clifford) behind to avenge her dead father’s killer. Along the way, our heroine encounters obstacles that allow Williams to utilise her Game Of Thrones-era combat skills once again – albeit with Needle swapped out for rather more 2020 ammunition.

“The original storyline was that a virus broke out and the world was going to end,” Maisie told Miss Vogue, having dialled into a call from her current base in Paris. ”I had to do ADR [dubbing] from my bedroom, because there actually was a virus going on, so we changed it to a nuclear war. The storyline we had chosen became real — it was our reality and not just a story.”

Williams delights in the fact that Two Weeks To Live has a young female lead at its heart, but is still keen to see even more opportunities for women both in front of and behind the camera. “There are such wonderful characters written for women at the moment, and I’ve been lucky enough to play some of them, but there are still a lot of interesting stories to be told. We need to find great female teams to be able to tell them.”

Playing Kim gave the actor an opportunity to get her teeth into a comedy role for the first time. “I first read the script about four years ago when it was a film, and thought it had real potential. If something can make you laugh, then the chances are it will make other people laugh, too,” she explained. This isn’t to say that nailing comic timing was without its challenges. “Comedy is terrifying and intimidating to do,” said Maisie. “Even if I could do this show again I would do so many things differently, and I’ve learned so much for the next comedy role that I do. I always see things that I would want to do differently. I think watching yourself is painful!”

While seeing Maisie do full-blown funny will be a new experience for fans, other elements of her role in Two Weeks To Live are more familiar. Aside from being more than capable of holding their own in a fight, further comparisons can be drawn between Kim and Arya Stark. They’re both headstrong and tomboyish, and both offer a different version of the young female experience than those we’re used to seeing on screen.

Maisie appears to have no qualms about the dearth of damsels in distress on her CV. “I don’t usually get to read [for roles] like that, because aesthetics-wise, I don’t really look [like] the stereotype of a damsel in distress, which is also all made up and all in our own heads anyway. I just think that people don’t see me that way, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen myself that way either.” According to Maisie, her body of work reflects a feeling she’s had since she was a child. “I have always felt very different to the girls and women I grew up around, and a lot of that comes out in my art. I think that I do wear that with me everywhere I go. I do feel different, but that’s something that I embrace.”

It’s all part of an ongoing journey towards acceptance for Maisie, who says she has recently begun to rediscover the confidence she lost during her teenage years. “I got really lost and I didn’t know what to do, and would second guess everything about myself. I really feel myself coming back to the surface again, and I think this lockdown has helped that. I feel very different from the girl who went into quarantine, and I feel so much more confident.”

Her advice to other young women who have experienced similar struggles? “No one else is as cool as you are, and trying to be like anyone else is going to cause you a lot of pain. I think that people just need to let go of the expectations in their head – expectations of other people but also of themselves – and learn to exist in this world as they are, and learn to be better to themselves and other people.”

Maisie’s cathartic quarantine also coincided with her settling into a new city: she moved to Paris just before the lockdown was introduced. “I’ve been learning French which is something I’ve always wanted to do, so that’s been really enjoyable. I’ve also just been reading a lot and drinking tea. I didn’t have anything to complain about, and I know it hasn’t been that way for everyone,” she told us. “I’ve been trying to be happy with what is happening today – even if that is just being stuck in your house – and being grateful for everything that I have. I can definitely relate to that feeling of wanting tomorrow to come, and wanting things to be better or different or more – or whatever it might be. I can see why Kim escaped her mother’s clutches and went after a more exciting life.”

Two Weeks To Live will air tonight on Sky One and is available to stream in full.

Maisie Williams on Success and Being Part of an Empowered Generation
Sep 4, 2020
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Maisie Williams on Success and Being Part of an Empowered Generation. Famous for her portrayal of the young and tenacious Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, British actress Maisie Williams reflects on her success, the responsibility her generation holds, and the watch she feels is the perfect embodiment of achievement, confidence, and class. Here’s our exclusive interview with the up and coming star.

How would you describe yourself and where you are in your career?
I guess my career has been pretty extraordinary. Until this point, I’ve never really had a direction and I’ve allowed myself to be pulled through this industry. Me as a person? I would say I’m a control freak so from here on I see myself having a clear plan and goal.

What achievement are you most proud of so far?
To be recognized by the Academy [of Television Arts & Sciences] for my role on Game of Thrones is something that I’m really proud of.

What does it mean to be successful today?
Success is a positive mental attitude. You take from the world what you put in; I’m currently manifesting my happiness and success.

What’s the main thing you’ve learned from success?
Success is entirely personal – it’s never about the status which comes with the work that you’ve achieved. It’s always about the way you feel about the work you’ve achieved, and if you’re doing something which you find unfulfilling you’ll never see it as success.

What’s left for you to achieve? What other achievements are you striving for?
Too many to count. I want to direct and produce; I see art and creativity as fluid, so I’m interested in pushing the boundaries of what film and television can be.

At what point did you realise you wanted to use your celebrity status towards something bigger, grander and more personal?
When realised people had a preconceived idea of the sort of person I was before getting to know me.

Anyone has the power to change the world, especially those with influence. I believe we were put on this earth to do more than just exist, I want to leave the planet in a better state than the way I found it because I think that’s my purpose. I don’t want to only be a mother for my children, but I will also be a mother for the world.

How important is collaboration for you?
I rely on other people for energy. I find conversation to be an excellent way to understand the thoughts within your brain. I think we need other people to be a better version of ourselves and for that reason collaboration is the most important thing in creativity.

You used to one of the youngest actors of your generation. What’s it like to grow up in your industry?
Growing up in the industry is like being the youngest child in the family. You watch the people before you, you see their decisions and actions. You learn from their mistakes and you choose the way you want to be similar, and also different.

What distinguishes your generation from those of the past?
Generation Z has an experience unlike any generation that’s come before. We’re on the cusp of something so monumental, we can’t even see it or understand it yet. To be growing up in this era and creating art feels other-worldly. I know the emotions captured today will be around for hundreds of years, because this new age of technology will inhabit the veins of our society for the rest of eternity.

Describe your generation in three words.
Mischievous, compassionate, riotous.

Do you have a motto that you live by?
Get that head, get that bread, then leave – peace out.

How did you start your career?
My career came to fruition through persistence. I love to perform more than anything in the world. At every opportunity to be seen by a new audience or to meet new people who were linked to the industry, I made sure I was there even from the age of eight.

As a young woman in the film industry, what challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I faced as a young woman in the film industry would be my body image. There’s immense pressure on young women to look a particular way. We need to be striking but in a soft, appealing way. To be curvy but with a slim waist and skinny arms. At a certain level the decisions stop focusing around talent and they purely come down to aesthetics.

Maisie Williams is part of the Pasha de Cartier community, which also includes Rami Malek, Troye Sivan, Jackson Wang and Willow Smith
What does time mean to you?
I used to feel like I was running out of time, but that was because I used to fill my time with pointless things. Now I see time as being precious and I don’t want to waste it.

What’s more challenging, being an actress or an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is pretty stressful. Business brings out the worst in people and having to compete with personalities like that is draining.

What’s your message to young women like yourself?
Never let the people who don’t care for the real you distract you from loving who you are. Don’t waste time being anyone other than yourself.

Who’s your favourite actor from the ’80s?
Linda Hamilton or Sigourney Weaver.

What was your reaction when Cartier approached you?
I was extremely flattered. It’s such an honour to be approached by a brand as famous as Cartier.

Maisie Williams wears the new Pasha de Cartier watch
The Pasha watch was initially created in 1985. What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think about the ’80s?
Princess Diana and her athleisure.

We are surrounded by devices that tell time. Why do you choose to wear a watch? What does it represent to you?
My phone represents chaos – every five seconds it’s a notification or an email or a text. My watch literally gives me more time in my day, it’s magic.

How would you describe the watch you’re wearing?
It’s a subtle reminder of how far I’ve come without being flashy or insensitive.

The distinct design of the Pasha watch challenges the predominance of round shapes in watchmaking and amplifies its presence, originality and singularity. How do you relate with the watch and the spirit of Pasha de Cartier?
I see my style as being fluid in terms of gender and I think this watch is empowering to wear for women like me.

Prada 2020.

Maisie Williams says it was “pure joy” working on comedy after Game of Thrones
Aug 28, 2020
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Interviews / Maisie Williams / News & Updates / Press / Two Weeks To Live

Two Weeks to Live comes to Sky One next month.

Maisie Williams: “Following ‘Game Of Thrones’ is an impossible challenge”
Aug 28, 2020
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Game Of Thrones / Interviews / News & Updates / Press / Two Weeks To Live

Working by 12 and famous at 15, the former ‘Game Of Thrones’ star has been bossing Hollywood for a decade. But what do you do when the biggest TV show ever, the one that changed your life, finally comes to an end?

It felt like The Hunger Games,” Maisie Williams says down the line from Paris, where she’s been spending lockdown. “Everything was at stake.”

Weirdly, the tense experience she’s recalling isn’t from Game Of Thrones, the series that thrust her into the limelight as ruthless assassin Arya Stark. Instead, Williams is telling NME about a lighthearted backstage face-off between cast members on the set of Sky’s new comedy series Two Weeks To Live. The contest in question? Not a physical brawl but, erm, singing Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ at the top of their lungs.

“It felt like ‘The Hunger Games… everything was at stake”

“We had to stand up one at a time in the green room and belt it out,” the 23-year-old actor explains. “You couldn’t laugh – and it was just really uncomfortable. If someone actually tried and did a good job, it was even more uncomfortable. If someone actually tried and did a good job, it was even more uncomfortable. Endless fun! But we had to stop in the end because I could tell the crew were like, ‘Shut up, this is so annoying’.”

The jokey atmosphere behind-the-scenes reflects what we see on screen – the show has an infectious and addictively funny tone that makes it a prime candidate for your next feel-good binge-watch. In her first TV role since Thrones, Williams stars as Kim, daughter to paranoid and overprotective – but also quite badass – mum Tina (Fleabag’s Sian Clifford). She’s kept Kim, now in her early 20s, in almost total isolation for most of her life, in a hut in rural Scotland. Her daily chores are a little unusual – doing the dishes doesn’t quite compare to having to disembowel dinner – and instead of vitamins, she takes “pollution pills” from a translucent green box. Normal, everyday things like music, movies and going down the pub barely feature. Until halfway through the series, Kim genuinely thinks Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ is a poem her mum penned for her 21st birthday.

‘Two Weeks To Live’ arrives on Sky on September 2. Credit: Sky

Like Kim, Williams had quite an unusual childhood. She auditioned for Game Of Thrones at 12, was a recognizable star by 15, and then had to deal with the fallout. She ended up being homeschooled for her last couple of years of high school because of the bullying she received from classmates. The joke’s on them, though, because since then Williams has gone from promising child actor to one of Britain’s best bright young things. She’s beloved by the fashion world, is trying to help other young people without industry connections get a leg up through her app Daisie, and post-Thrones has already made some exciting moves in her on-screen career.

Perhaps her experiences with fame – particularly at such a young age – make running off to a hut in the middle of nowhere more attractive. Williams reckons she’d manage with Kim and Tina’s off-the-grid lifestyle, which isn’t too dissimilar from the quarantine living many of us have been doing recently. “I think I would cope OK,” she says. “I’d need to be really warm and so would Sian – she has this thing where if her hands get too cold, she passes out. So we’d need a big, roaring fire cos it would be freezing and then we’d be OK.” She wouldn’t miss anything else? Not Netflix, Spotify or Instagram? “I guess I’d probably miss Deliveroo,” she concedes. “I hate cooking.”

One day, Kim decides it’s time to go and see what the outside world has to offer and sneaks off while her mum’s hunting down their next meal. The first place she heads to is the pub where her parents had their first date, accompanied by a box with her dad’s ashes in, and it’s there that she meets brothers Jay (Taheen Modak) and Nicky (Mawaan Rizwan). Over a pint of cider, she fills them in on her unusual background, telling them that when the end of the world does come, “the more off-grid you are, the better chance you’ll have”.

The boys invite her back to their house for more drinks and end up in a hypothetical conversation about what they would do if they knew they had only two weeks left to live – have lots of sex and eat tons of doughnuts is the consensus. Jay, in a bid to set up Kim and the recently dumped Nicky, decides to prank the naive newcomer with some cleverly edited video footage that shows a massive nuclear explosion that has set Earth’s remaining lifespan to just one more fortnight. Where most people would instantly see through the stunt, Kim – raised to believe the end times are imminent – jumps into her beaten up Jeep and heads off to kill Jimmy (Sean Pertwee) – the man who murdered her dad in front of her when she was a child.

“[During filming], I got a bottle on the head a couple of times, which was really painful”

Williams is no stranger to nailing stunts and Two Weeks To Live lets her pick up her fighting skills from where she left off in Westeros, but this time there are fewer swords involved and more household furniture. As she brawls with Jimmy through his flashy pad, tables, walls, chairs and pillows become tools of revenge. Not every stunt in the high-octane sequences went according to plan though. “I got a bottle on the head a couple of times, which was really painful,” she laughs. “I also kicked Sean in the mouth and made his mouth bleed so I think we were even after that.”

Aside from the badass blow-ups and edge-of-your-seat drama, the show is also genuinely funny, often in a very meta way. Dialogue between characters regularly breaks down for them to deconstruct their exchanges. For example, when Kim first makes her way into Jimmy’s house and confronts him, they swap puns around the idea of the Grim Reaper, pausing their fraught battle to congratulate themselves on how “organic” the back-and-forth was.

 

Where’s the first place you’d go in a strange place? Well, the pub of course.

Comedy isn’t something Williams is entirely new to – she appeared in short film The Olympic Ticket Scalper in 2012 and homegrown dramedy Gold in 2014 – but she’s never been so immersed in the genre as she is here. “It was completely out of my comfort zone, I was really nervous,” she says. “I’ve known that I wanted to do comedy, but actually doing it…

“The longer it went on without me doing comedy, the more terrifying it was. [Working on Two Weeks To Live] was quite intimidating, especially because Taheen and Mawaan are so unbelievably funny, but I think we pulled it off.”

“The longer it went on without me doing comedy, the more terrifying it was”

For the young star, stepping out of her comfort zone has become increasingly important. “That’s basically all I want to do from now onwards,” she says. “I think that so much great work comes from being super uncomfortable – as an actor, obviously, not for everyone. But when you’re pushed to some sort of emotional extreme in real life then, when you’re on camera, it just creates some crazy magic that you can’t fake. It’s just real.”

Surprisingly, given the nature of her career, Williams says she finds it “very hard to pretend” so being put in elevated states of emotion is key for her building believable characters on screen. “I always tend to draw on very real things that have happened in my life,” she says of her technique, but notes that it’s also a flawed approach. “It’s a very painful thing to do but, ultimately, is the way that it works for me. Being able to tap into things like that is difficult unless your senses are already heightened.”

Arya, in HBO’s fantasy epic ‘Game Of Thrones’, was Maisie Williams’ breakout role. Credit: HBODespite being far funnier and more down-to-earth than Game Of Thrones, it’s inevitable that viewers will compare the two. “Yeah,” Williams says with a groan that suggests all those miles away in Paris she’s rolling her eyes. “I think it’s just an impossible challenge… I don’t feel that there’s pressure but that’s only because there are so many other things I want to do. I also measure success in so many other ways.” Since leaving the HBO show, she’s set realistic expectations for the rest of her career. “I don’t think I’m ever gonna be a part of anything that’s gonna be seen by that many people or streamed in that many countries or costs that much to make again,” she adds. “But I get to have Sian Clifford as my mum – that’s the real win! There’s plenty of other things to be excited for.”

“I don’t think I’m gonna be part of anything that’s seen by that many people again”

As with most people, the pandemic has left Williams’ next steps undetermined. She’s already completed work on action thriller movie The Owners and long-delayed X-Men spin-off The New Mutants hits cinemas next Friday (September 4). Two Weeks To Live hasn’t yet been announced for a second season but, if it is, the actor has plenty of ideas for what Kim could get up to next.

“I think that her little mind would be completely blown by so many things,” she laughs. “I’d love to see her experiencing tribute acts. They’re so weird and we don’t think they are. First of all, she’d have to be introduced to Elvis Presley or whoever and then she’d have to understand that he’s dead and this person is just acting like him. It just makes no sense. Or I’d love to see her looking at doll’s houses.”

‘Two Weeks to Live’ is Williams’ first role since ‘Game Of Thrones’ finished. Credit: HBO

They are, according to the actor, also “really bizarre”. “The fact that we keep houses in our houses that are full of really tiny things?” she says. “People actually put in wiring and plumbing and shit like that, it’s just so extra. Kim really does call everything out, like, ‘Why do we do this? It’s so strange.’”

She has a point but there’s a deeper message behind her character that feels very relevant to the time we’re living through now. “I want people to take from it that this world that we live in and this society that we’ve built is so incredibly flawed,” she says, becoming serious again. “It’s OK to think that – and life doesn’t have to be taken so seriously because it’s all completely bonkers anyway.” As her Celine Dion sing-offs show, Williams is already living up to that sentiment.

‘Two Weeks to Live’ debuts at 10pm on September 2 on Sky One and NOW TV