English actress Eliza Bennett delivers a powerful modern-day Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde — if he were a cute sorority girl — on MTV’s newest show, “Sweet/Vicious.”
Photography by Benjo Arwas
Photographer Assistant Brandon Wholihan
Styling by Sandy Phan
Makeup by Desirae Cherman for Exclusive Artists Management Using Nars Cosmetics
Hair by Joseph Chase for Exclusive Artists Management Using GHD Tools
Story by Esther Lee
Video by Jonathan Navales
Don’t let Eliza Bennett’s amiable demeanor and proper British accent fool you. As Jules, the wholesome sorority girl with an ass-kicking dark side on the new MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” the English-born actress will have you hoping you’ll never have to face her in a fight. Thankfully, in person, she’s more gracious than vicious.
Composure Magazine: Congratulations on the premiere of MTV’s “Sweet/Vicious.” How do you feel?
Eliza Bennett: Well, so far it has been an amazing experience. Since the acting work is complete, I have been experiencing the promotional aspect of the show. It’s funny to be on the other side of the business.
CM: So tell us a little bit about the show and your character, Jules.
EB: Jules experiences a life-changing moment where her whole world is turned upside down. She becomes a nighttime vigilante to cope with the trauma. She also meets Ophelia [played by Taylor Dearden] on the way, and they become close friends.
I think the [show’s] title mirrors Jules’ dual nature. During the day, she is very sweet and wholesome. By night, Jules is not. In fact, Jules is almost vicious.
CM: The show addresses the heavy topic of sexual assault. How does your character tackle it?
EB: Yes, the message of the show is very sobering. I have never worked on a project that gave such a powerful message to young men and women. I think MTV is the perfect outlet to reach young viewers. It is incredibly rewarding, but I definitely feel the responsibility and weight of the message.
CM: Jules and Ophelia, a pot-smoking computer hacker, become an odd-couple crime-fighting duo on campus. How is the chemistry between you and co-star Taylor Dearden?
EB: I think the success of our show is driven by our chemistry. We have become very close friends, and I am thankful to have a friend like her here in Los Angeles.
CM: Let’s backtrack to your previous big screen appearances. I have to mention “Nanny McPhee.” What was it like working with acclaimed stars like Colin Firth and Emma Thompson?
EB: First of all, I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have worked with such big stars. When I was on set for “Nanny McPhee,” Emma wanted to make sure all the children were having a good time. We had an ice cream truck and even an Xbox station on set. I also got to do improv with Emma. Looking back, I realize it was a priceless experience to be able to do a one-to-one improv session with Emma Thompson.
CM: Wow, that definitely sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Another great moment for you was being chosen for the lead in the 2009 fantasy film “Inkheart” with Brendan Fraser. Tell us about the experience.
EB: I actually didn’t hear back from them for several months after my audition. Six months and two weeks later, I finally heard back from them that I got the role. I was only 14 years old at that time, but the experience is forever in my mind. We filmed in Italy, and it was a dream.
CM: Filming in Italy does sound like a dream. From “Inkheart” to “Sweet/Vicious,” you seem to be constantly on the move. What’s next for you?
EB: I grew up singing, acting, and dancing, so I would love to attempt a Broadway musical. I don’t have too many concrete plans yet, but I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family back in Europe.
“Sweet/Vicious” airs Tuesdays at 10 pm on MTV.