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The Surprising Anya Taylor-Joy Stunt That Didn't Need SFX In Emma

Usually when you hear behind-the-scenes stories about difficult film sequences that were completed in-camera without visual effects, they end up sounding like something of a nightmare.

This doesn't just apply to Jackie Chan's entire career and all his broken bones. Even when no one's safety is threatened, making movies can quickly prove far more difficult than anyone could have imagined. In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, it took Michael Cera more than 30 tries to throw a package over his shoulder and into a trash can. It took Tobey Maguire more than 150 takes to catch Kirsten Dunst's falling lunch on a tray in Spider-Man.

Anya Taylor-Joy laughs at their troubles. When her moment to shine came during the production of 2020's Jane Austen adaptation Emma, she nailed it, no VFX or make-up required. Of course, that doesn't mean the moment in question wasn't a bit nightmarish.

The scene is the long-awaited proposal between George Knightley (Johnny Flynn) and Emma (Taylor-Joy). Emma's unforgettable reaction isn't a swoon or some grand romantic gesture, but rather a nosebleed, one Emma brings upon herself out of stress, since she knows her friend Harriet (Mia Goth) is in love with Knightley. As Taylor-Joy explained it to Entertainment Weekly, when the moment came, she was able to summon one on command.

"The plan was to pause filming and add the blood and then continue," Taylor-Joy said in her interview. "I provided the blood, so there was no need."

What happened when Anya Taylor-Joy provided her own blood in Emma

Of course, for director Autumn de Wilde, seeing the star of your movie start bleeding suddenly mid-take is the sort of thing that you might want to have checked out, even if it is in the script. But Taylor-Joy says she insisted they keep going. "She was like, 'Should we stop?'" Taylor-Joy said of de Wilde "And I was like, 'No! Are you kidding? This is amazing.'"

Taylor-Joy said that nosebleeds were a recurring problem for her throughout her youth, so she appreciated the impact the moment would have even while reading the script — the way it punctured the air of grand romance you might expect from the moment. "It's like, 'No, let's have some blood in there and let them scream at each other.' It's far more realistic," she said.

And if the goal is realism, then it's tough to hit it any closer to the mark than to bleed on camera. "When you have something like that altering your performance, it just makes it that much more visceral and real to you as a performer," Taylor-Joy said. "The only fear I had afterwards was, 'Please tell me I didn't get it on the dress!'"

Considering Taylor-Joy is signed on to play the title character in George Miller's upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road prequel Furiosachances are she's going to get plenty more opportunities to do her own stunts. Here's hoping they don't involve quite as much of her own blood.