Model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne says no to pretty-face roles

Only strong female roles or interesting characters will do for Cara Delevingne.
Only strong female roles or interesting characters will do for Cara Delevingne.PHOTO: REUTERS

No pretty-face or hot-body roles for Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne is the latest model to transition to acting, and she is intent on making her acting career count.

That means she will not settle for any role that requires just a pretty face or a hot body - the kind of roles that the recent crop of model-turned-actresses such as Emily Ratajkowski and Kate Upton have taken on in their respective films Gone Girl (2014) and The Other Woman (2014).

Speaking to Life recently, the British supermodel with the famous bushy eyebrows says seriously: "All the roles that I've done so far - I chose them because they are all strong female roles, or because they're interesting characters. I'd like to be like Meryl Streep, who manages to do so many different characters and do them all so well."

The 22-year-old British star was fielding media queries to promote her new movie Paper Towns, in which she takes on her first lead role as mysterious high school student Margo.

When Margo disappears from town one day, her neighbour Quentin (Nat Wolff), who happens to have a huge crush on her, goes on a mission to find her.

I hate watching myself, because you just spot things that you wish you did better. When I watched Paper Towns for the first time, it was horrifying.

CARA DELEVINGNE

The film is adapted from the popular 2008 young adult novel of the same name by John Green, who was also behind the best-selling novel The Fault In Our Stars (2012).

Before Paper Towns, Delevingne had done a handful of supporting but crucial roles, such as that of Princess Sorokina in Anna Karenina (2012) and as murdered student Meredith Kercher in The Face Of An Angel (2014), which is based on the real-life story of Amanda Knox, who was convicted of the murder of Kercher.

"Acting was something I've wanted to do since I was four, but my parents didn't allow me to go to auditions until I was 16 or 17," says Delevingne, who is the youngest of three daughters of property developer Charles Hamar Delevingne. "I then started modelling, which I love, but acting is my passion."

It certainly seems like she has put her modelling career on hold at the moment, having signed on to multiple film projects all at once.

She has six more movies coming up in the next year, including the highly anticipated comic book movie Suicide Squad, in which she plays supervillain Enchantress, and the fantasy flick Pan, where she will play a mermaid in the Peter Pan story alongside Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried.

Even though Delevingne has had an immensely successful modelling career - gracing multiple fashion magazine covers and walking every major runway during fashion weeks - she says she was never concerned about having to start at the bottom of the acting rung.

The star, who was named Model Of The Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2012 and last year, says: "I never felt like I was at the top of the modelling game, but the thing is, even if I were, that wouldn't stop me. Acting is something I've wanted to do my whole life, so there was no question that I'd just do it."

It seems she has little to worry about, as praises for her performance in Paper Towns have been pouring in.

Variety wrote in a review for the film that "the real find here is Delevingne, an English actress who, with her subtly smoky voice and piercing gaze, makes the girl of Quentin's fantasies a singularly charismatic presence".

Popular entertainment news site The Wrap commented: "Fashion model Delevingne has relatively little screen time but makes an undeniable impression as a high school heartbreaker, with the smoky eyes and smokier voice destined to send young men into a frenzy."

However, like many other actors, she finds it difficult to look at herself onscreen.

"I hate watching myself, because you just spot things that you wish you did better. When I watched Paper Towns for the first time, it was horrifying. But I really loved my experience in the film and I would love to do more. I've been very busy with acting and I don't really have any days off, but I enjoy every single bit of it."

• Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

•Paper Towns opens in cinemas tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline 'Supermodel goes to Hollywood'. Print Edition | Subscribe