Debicki says she was initially “terrified” before she started working. “You never really know when people make a certain kind of film that has that emotional crush and can cross such transgressive territory…so someone who goes to those places, you never really know what they’re into. I think you still think they’re going to be these untouchable, terrifying people in some way.
Or carry that kind of weight, which he does, but he’s also one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. He is so kind and perpetually curious. When I have a conversation with Steve, I’m always amazed at how investigative he is – he’s so curious about everything and he really reminds me of what an artist should be all the time. He’s just really, really interested in other people… he gave us all this power of self-confidence. And his set is, to this day, I think, the most cohesive, kindest, most peaceful set I’ve ever played on. I guess if you had to sum it up, what he does: he really sees people. When people have the capacity to do that for others, it’s amazing what you allow yourself to do, because you feel very safe.
As she enters her thirties, Debicki believes she now seeks out settings more where she feels a similar sense of harmony. She says it’s something she hasn’t felt properly in a decade, not since her work on gatsby with Luhrmann. “I left this set [Gatsby] to feel something that I probably haven’t recovered for ten years of my career, a sense of, ‘I’m pretty good at my job: I think I can do it.’ That feeling of being supported by someone’s trust in you, which is obviously the greatest gift you can receive as an artist, we all need those mentors.
On other projects in her twenties, Debicki says it was too much sometimes, because of how “super full throttle” it was, to the point that it made her rethink the way she approached her work and her career. The job felt like a “slippery rope” that she was “trying to grab onto all the time.” She explains: “Whether it’s because of what other people tell you – about the scarcity of opportunities – but also what you tell yourself about what you’re worth…I feel like we’re struggling so much
with that in your twenties. Even when I wasn’t working, I was suspended above my own life. How much I just sacrificed to maintain that floating position of “I can be available for that”…how healthy that was, I don’t know. The pandemic made me quit,” she says, acknowledging the advantage of the circumstances: to pause, reflect and reset.
There was certainly a lot to do, including her taking on her biggest career role yet as Princess Diana in the upcoming series of The crown. She’s not allowed to talk about it today, but filming has now wrapped, according to reports. Another huge role awaits you in one of the biggest franchises on the planet, the aforementioned Marvel’s. guardians of the galaxy, where she returns for the final episode once again to play Ayesha, the sovereign’s grand golden priestess. The script – the one she rehearsed – is nearby, the pages are marked and highlighted. “It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever done,” she beams. “It’s so fun. I love James Gunn as a person and that’s the hallmark of all great directors – he’s just very curious and loves actors who [he] throw. You feel very safe. This constant search for external affirmation is the death of art and [here] you don’t have to consciously or unconsciously feel that need with him – you just feel very happy to be there and a lot of things that act as barriers come down. In fact, I’m going to tour with him next week. I haven’t seen it in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to it. Guardians for me, it’s like a playground.