‘SING STREET’ star Lucy Boynton shines in her exclusive Fault shoot

At only 22 years old, it seems like Lucy Boynton has been in everything—music videos, horror movies, BBC mini-series, World War II period pieces, you name it.

Her extensive filmography has culminated in her performance starring in Sing Street, which comes out today, as the mysterious Raphina. Her next endeavor will be Rebel in the Rye, a biopic of iconic author J.D. Salinger, in which Boynton will play Claire Douglas, Salinger’ second wife.

Lucy and I spoke about character development, Irish accents, performing across genres, and what it means to be an actor.

Dress: Claudie Pierlot
Dress: Claudie Pierlot

FAULT: How did you first get into acting?

Lucy: I very much had an interest in it from the age of 10, when we had this fantastic drama teacher who introduced the idea of acting as more of an investigation into how people work—how people function, and why they function that way. And how to emulate that rather than just, you know, playing pretend. Then at the age of 12, I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time; a casting director watched over a drama at my school, and she chose me to audition to play a young Beatrix Potter in this film called Miss Potter. I got the role, and the casting director, Priscilla John, then introduced me to my U.K. agent, Olivia Homan, who I’m still with.

FAULT: In Sing Street, Raphina is such an interesting character. Can you explain the process that brought her to life?

Lucy: Sing Street was actually really unique because the director, John Carney, wrote the script based loosely on his own experiences and people he knew growing up. I approached it wanting to honor that, and wanting to honor Raphina exactly how he had written her. But John was very keen for all of us to contribute so much more to our characters. On the first day of rehearsal, he kind of said, “What do you want to do with her. Where do you want to take her?” It was slightly unnerving at first, but as soon as I worked with John, we kind of decided on her story and her background. We decided the way that I was going to play her and the way we wanted the audience to receive her.

Dress: Claudie Pierlot
Dress: Claudie Pierlot

FAULT: How was doing an Irish accent?

Lucy: It was extremely intimidating. I had never had to do an Irish accent for a project before. So in preparation for the audition, I watched lots of Irish films and interviews with Irish accents to try and get that rhythm that is so unique to the accent. I didn’t actually work with a dialect coach while we were filming, which was rather daunting. But for the reason that John didn’t want the accent to be identifiable to a certain region. The whole point of Raphina is you can’t pinpoint her. You don’t really know her story or where she’s from. So that was definitely a daunting part of the process, but I think it worked out well.

FAULT: What does Raphina need in life, and what is she willing to go through to get it?

Lucy: Because of the life Raphina has had, she has learned to exist in a very specific way, which is to keep everyone at a safe proximity. She hides behind this façade of confidence and presents herself in a way that she is happy to be viewed. So at the beginning of the film, I think she just wants to be wanted. She wants to be close to someone, but she is also very much afraid of that. Connor is the first person who really pushes through her barriers and stays with her. So I think her motivation changes throughout the film; you see her go from a very lonely and hurt person, to wanting to let him in. You see that throughout the film, how she challenges him and throws him pieces of information about herself in very plain language. So things like jumping in the water and revealing shocking pieces of information about herself do challenge him to see if he can handle that.


Top & Shorts: Markus Lupfer

FAULT: You’ve also done a lot of horror movies. How is acting in a horror flick different from acting in a drama?

Lucy: I think in a horror film, you still want to maintain the naturalism that you do in a drama film, and you want to make the situations as true as possible. But you’re much more conscious of the audience’s response while you’re filming a horror film. Whereas with something like Sing Street, you’re just trying to make the character and the situation as pure and real as possible. With a horror film, you’re still trying to do that, but with a motive to inject fear into the audience.

Pierre Cardin, Vintage 1969 @ William Vintage

FAULT: In Rebel in the Rye, you’ll be playing a real, living person. How does your approach to playing an actual human being compare to your approach to playing a fictional character?

Lucy: I guess you’re more liberated when you have a fictional character in your hands. You have a lot more territory to roam, and you have a lot more freedom with where you want to take her. Whereas when I play someone who was real, or is still alive, there’s definitely a greater pressure to honor the person and do justice to their experience, or whatever you’re doing with the character. When I played Angelica Bell in Life in Squares, I was extremely lucky in that she had written a book called Deceived with Kindness which documented everything we were covering in the episodes. So I very much stayed true to that and didn’t try to add my own experiences or personal interpretations. I just want to stay true to their experience as well as I can.

FAULT: Is there anything else we can look forward to seeing you in?

Lucy: I’ve got The Black Coat’s Daughter coming out late this summer, which is written and directed by Ozgood Perkins. That’s a very exciting horror film with Kiernan Shipka and Emma Roberts. And I’ve just finished filming, in Canada, another film with Ozgood Perkins called I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. And that’s a ghost story with Ruth Wilson. Also, earlier this year, I filmed a movie in Vienna and London called Let Me Go. That’s based on the book by Helga Schneider. It’s a true account of her mother abandoning her when she was a child to go work as a Nazi soldier in Russia. It’s a beautiful film directed by Polly Steele.

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Pierre Cardin, Vintage 1969 @ William Vintage


FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Lucy: I’m very British in the sense that I apologize for myself probably more than I should. You know, when I go to L.A. and I bump into someone in the street, I’m always saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.”


SING STREET is in cinemas from today.

You can find Lucy on Facebook and Instagram.


Words Cody Fitzpatrick

Photography Jack Alexander

Styling Holly Ounstead

Make-Up Justine Jenkins using Green People

Hair Fabio Nogueira @ Frank Agency using Bumble & Bumble

Make-Up Assistant Kat Sunnucks