ACTOR: Jessica Barden has the sort of innate talent that stacks up against the biggest names in the business and threatens to march off with their scenes.

jessica barden

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From the films Tamara Drewe, in which she played a gum-snapping teenager, to Hanna, to this year’s Far From The Madding Crowd and Cannes title The Lobster, Barden’s roles are beginning to mount up.

At 23, the Yorkshire native is a grizzled veteran, including an 18-month stint on ITV’s Coronation Street when she was 13 (her most recent TV role was opposite George MacKay in The Outcast and she shot a small part in Mindhorn before going on to the next season of Penny Dreadful for HBO until February 2016).

Barden says that as a child she benefited from living close to Leeds where so many TV shows were shot. “Every week I’d go to Leeds, sometimes I’d be an extra, sometimes I’d get a speaking part,” she recalls.

Perennially fresh-faced, Barden has fought successfully for older roles, winning a major adult part in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, pairing her with Colin Farrell in a film that won the Jury Prize at Cannes.

Barden, who calls Lanthimos a “flat-out genius”, realises this is a big year for her. “I’ve always worked but this time it feels different,” she says. “In a good way, because as much as you want to act, you also want people to see you.”

Things are going to plan, then — except Barden says she’s never had one: “My only goal is that I want to be doing this for the rest of my life, and that’s honestly it. I want to be doing my best work when I’m 50 and 60.”

Contact Mary Fitzgerald, Curtis Brown; Lucy Johnson, Curtis Brown