Sophie Turner hopes her portrayal of Jean Grey in new X-Men movie Dark Phoenix encourages people to talk more about their mental health.
The actress takes on the lead role of the troubled mutant in the upcoming superhero film, which focuses on Jean’s battle to control her telepathic and telekinetic powers.
Describing her approach to the character, she told Harper’s Bazaar magazine: “She’s spiralling out of control and she can’t understand what’s happening to her. She has auditory and visual hallucinations, so (myself and Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg) started to liken her mental state to schizophrenia. It was a way to ground the character and make her more relatable.”
Playing Jean is especially important to Sophie as she has struggled with mental health issues and also seen friends suffer from similar problems. She feels that the effect of depression and anxiety on personal relationships is not discussed enough and hopes Dark Phoenix inspires people to talk about this more.
“The biggest thing I took away from this movie is what mental health problems can do to a family and friends, and how people can walk away from you because it’s too painful to see,” the 23-year-old added. “I have had a lot of people close to me who have struggled with their mental health, including myself, so it’s something I’m really passionate about.”
The Game of Thrones star also expressed anger at the lack of mental health provision in her native Britain and claimed that she has flown pals out to the U.S. to get them treatment.
“I have had people in my life who have been the lowest of the low, the bottom of this pit, and I’ve had to fly them out to America because they just can’t get the right help in the U.K.,” Sophie explained.
“In the U.S., they are more willing to talk about their emotions. Or at least, more willing to talk about mental health. In the U.K., we have this mentality of, ‘Chin up, get on with it, you’ll be fine.'”
Dark Phoenix, which also stars X-Men regulars Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender, hits cinemas in early June (19).