Evanna Lynch first shot to fame at the tender age of 14 after landing the role of wacky Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series back in 2006.
The young actress quickly won over fans and gained over one million social media followers in the years to come, often inspiring her following with her candid approach to talking about social issues, such as mental health and her own eating disorder battle.
Earlier this year, Evanna confessed that although working on the Harry Potter films had been a “blessing”, she hoped to challenge herself more artistically in the months to come, writing in a poignant Instagram post: “I need to push myself as an artist more.
“It’s a blessing to have a safety net and while it’s possible to maintain safety and chaos together I believe I need insecurity to light a fire under my scared little artist’s ass”, and it sounds as though somebody out there was listening as just weeks later she got cast in the stage adaptation of Enda Walsh’s play Disco Pigs.
The intense and sometimes dark story focuses on just two characters, Pig and Runt, and Evanna is set to take to the stage at Trafalgar Studios as Runt next month, with just one fellow actor, Colin Campbell as Pig, joining her on stage.
In short, this role certainly couldn’t be any more different to her “artistic safety net”, and when I caught up with Evanna I was eager to hear more about what we should expect from her exciting new role.
Speaking exclusively, Evanna said of Disco Pigs: “It’s very romantic, not in the classic sense… It’s not like they have a romantic relationship but it’s about this beautiful time of being children and growing up together and always having a best friend, they are each other’s whole world.
“As a child and a teenager I never really had that and I always craved it; Pig and Runt have just turned 17 in the play and they have literally spent every single day together for 17 years, what happens when they start to change?
“Runt starts to question what’s beyond their life whereas Pig gets more immersed in their fantasy world, it’s just about risk spectacularly exploding, it’s really interesting. I’ve never had a chance to do anything like this before.”
And that is not through lack of trying, with Evanna going on to tell us that she had hoped to play characters like Runt in Disco Pigs for years but she struggled to tear herself away from her most famous role – Luna Lovegood.
Discussing the fact that she managed to land the new stage role just weeks after her heartfelt Instagram post, Evanna shared: “I’ve been searching for roles like this for the last number of years, but when I put my intention out to the universe I feel like I almost attracted more roles.
“That’s why I wanted to assert [my intentions], it was more for myself, so that I could invite those opportunities in.
“I’ll always feel close to Luna and I don’t want to divorce myself from that character but I wanted to be able to expand my palette because I feel like I have many other characters inside me that I want to express.
“It’s too limiting always being seen as one character – and that’s more for me. I needed to stop seeing myself as that character and give myself license to embrace other parts of me that I am nervous about expressing.”
And although Runt is completely different from Luna, 25-year-old Evanna confessed that she still relates to the character on a personal level – in spite of Runt’s “ambivalent” relationship to violence.
Evanna explained: “She doesn’t seem to have much of a moral compass, but we are similar in that I don’t really mind what people think of me, I have never been interested in being popular or well-liked among people and with Runt and Pig it’s the same thing, they don’t give a damn.
“I definitely relate to that aspect of Runt and the two of them are very original freethinkers and I’ve always admired people who don’t feel ashamed of their opinions. They both have a childlike view of their lives and their future and I’m similar in that way; I don’t accept limits on what I should dream about.”
Something that Evanna’s fans will be all-too-familiar with, as the young star regularly takes the time to encourage her young followers to be true to themselves and embrace the things that might make them “weird” to other people.
In fact, Evanna told us that she feels being in a position where she can help people is a “privilege”, adding that she feels as though it’s her “duty” to spread positive messages to her followers.
Offering advice to teens or young people who might be struggling, Evanna poignantly shared: “It does get easier, as time goes on you get more comfortable with yourself naturally and you won’t always feel like you don’t fit in.
“Sensitivity or feeling odd and relating to the awkward people or misfits is your power, you are lucky to have that.
“Maybe you will never fit in but you come to accept your awkwardness; you need to be around people who encourage you.”
A sentiment that I couldn’t agree more with.
Watch Evanna in Disco Pigs at Trafalgar Studios from 12 July – 19 August, click here for more information.