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The Witch's Anya Taylor-Joy Rejected An Exciting Offer From Disney In Order To Star In The Film

Released in early 2016, "The Witch," sometimes stylized as "The VVitch," was a cultural sensation that put its star, Anya Taylor-Joy, on the map. The horror film, directed by Robert Eggers, tells the folktale of a Puritan family that finds the presence of evil in the woods near their home. Taylor-Joy plays Thomasin, the family member most directly affected by the evil force. She is enticed to "live deliciously" by Black Phillip, an embodiment of the evil that has taken form in one of the family's goats.

Taylor-Joy went on to become a bonafide star after the release of the film, appearing in high-profile projects such as Marvel's "The New Mutants" and M. Night Shyamalan's horror hit "Split." She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the film "Emma," and she won a Golden Globe for best actress in a miniseries or television film for "The Queen's Gambit," both in 2020. She recently wrapped her work on the "Mad Max" spinoff "Furiosa."

Anya Taylor-Joy had only appeared in an uncredited role in the "Vampire Academy" film adaptation and in an episode of the British series "Endeavour" before her big breakout came with "The Witch" (via IMDb). However, her career trajectory could have been very different if she accepted the Disney Channel role she was first offered right before "The Witch."

Anya Taylor-Joy was ecstatic about getting offered a Disney role, which she ultimately turned down

In 2015, Anya Taylor-Joy got an offer to star in a Disney Channel pilot on the very same day she got the offer to star in "The Witch." In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Taylor-Joy said after she got the Disney offer, "It was so exciting to be offered anything at all that I ran around the house like a loon." However, she ultimately chose to star in "The Witch" instead. She continued, "I just had this really good feeling about 'The Witch' that made me willing to forego the Disney experience for the thing that felt unknown to me, the thing that felt sacred."

She continued saying that working on that film taught her a lot of lessons she still applies to her acting today. She said that hard work needs to be applied to the making of the film, not just as an actor, but as a creative in general, noting that she will always pay attention to things like blocking as well as her performance since that is her responsibility on set, too.

"The Witch" proved to be an excellent decision for Taylor-Joy as she received glowing reviews for her performance in the film. For instance, The New Yorker wrote at the time of the film's release, "Taylor-Joy is remarkable in the role, her wide-eyed innocence [is] entwined with a thread of cunning." In 2017, she even received a Fangoria Chainsaw Award, a high honor in the genre community, for best actress for her performance in the film.

Anya Taylor-Joy was heartbroken after filming ended and she didn't like her performance in the film

Anya Taylor-Joy cited that her experience with "The Witch" was her first experience with heartbreak in her life. Her first heartbreak wasn't from a breakup or anything like that. She was just very sad that filming on the project was ending. She told Variety that finishing that film was like experiencing a loss. "The loss of there was a world that existed with a group of people that became my everything for a period of time, and now it's over," she said. "I had no concept as to how to deal with that."

On top of that heartbreak, before the film was released, Taylor-Joy had doubts about her performance in the film. Just hours prior to the premiere screening of "The Witch" at Sundance, director Robert Eggers showed the cast a cut of the film, and Taylor-Joy was "devastated" to see her performance. She told The Hollywood Reporter, "I thought I'd never work again, I still get shivers thinking about it. It was just the worst feeling of, 'I have let down the people I love most in the world. I didn't do it right.'"

She was proven wrong immediately after the movie screened and her life changed forever. Now, she can take solace in the fact that she chose "The Witch" over the Disney Channel as this was the movie that made her a star.