Ever since she appeared on The Goodfellas as Ryan Gosling’s on-screen daughter, Anguri Rice has been destined for great success.
A master of meaningful lines as well as emotional moments, Rice’s career has seen her work with several big names in front of and behind the camera.
The 21-year-old Melbourne actress has already secured her place among Kate Winslet and Jean Smart. Mare from Easttownnext to Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola in Deceived and together with Miley Cyrus in Black mirror. She also excelled in an ensemble cast, playing Betty Brant in Spider-Man: Far From Home and as Ingenue Lisa in ladies in black.
honor society this is her first major role, exactly the challenge that Rice was looking for. In the teen romantic comedy, she plays Honor, a successful student who decides to beat her academic rivals in hopes of getting into her dream school, Harvard.
One of these opponents plays very strange thingsGaten Matarazzo.
On paper, Honor is unsympathetic given her intrigues, but in Rice’s hands, she’s charming and sympathetic, and her conspiratorial fourth-wall breaks allow viewers to immerse themselves in her journey.
Rice spoke to news.com.au about the challenges of her first lead role, how to stay on set and how she feels about Honor’s instincts to protect herself.
Is it surreal to keep going back to high school? How long do you think you’ll be satisfied with continuing to play teenagers?
I finished [from high school] just over three years ago, so I feel very fresh in my mind. Also, since I didn’t go to university, [these high school characters] sound like the last experience in education I had.
But there are definitely some really exciting scenarios about young people that aren’t set in high school or college, and I’m sure there will be more.
Are you happy to keep extending this trip a little longer?
To be honest, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that no matter how hard I try, I can’t control anything in the film industry. Whatever comes my way, we’ll see.
This heroine has so many fourth wall breaks – she always speaks to the audience. Was it intimidating to play someone who is so deliberately trying to connect with the audience?
I was nervous because I had so much dialogue and that I was so turned on in those scenes.
Honor engages viewers by talking to them, making them part of her plan. She winds them up. Then the camera and the audience become its conscience. She feels they are judging her because she is making questionable choices.
She reminded me a little ElectionsTracey Flick is that she is a bit pushy, but not as pushy or as obnoxious, even though her plan is a pretty serious sabotage of her peers’ future. What were the filmmakers talking about to keep the public on Honor’s side?
This was important to me. I thought she should be charming and the audience should want to be part of her plan. Honor should speak to the audience like this: “Let me tell you a little secret, and we will be a team against everyone else.” What is interesting about her is that she is charming, funny and has a sense of humor.
And she is able to learn and apologize, admit it when she is wrong.
Each role you choose has its own aspect. What was new or difficult about the Honor Society?
Definitely speaking on camera was a new and exciting challenge for me. Play a leading role – I really wanted to do it. And fully display the character arc. She is in the first scene, in scene 100 and in all scenes in between.
We see her, we see her whole arch, and I really wanted to do it. I wanted to show how this character changes, grows and learns.
What was it like to play the lead role? As the first person on the call list, you are sort of responsible for setting the tone, energy and work ethic of everyone below you on the call list.
It was nerve-wracking and very scary. I felt pressure. But in fact, it became possible due to the fact that my sister was with me all the time.
She came to the set three or four times a week and it was great to have her there as emotional support.
It really helped to have someone when you’re so at peace [a character] and fixated on something to have someone from home remind you to drink water and stop talking about yourself, go home and just watch movies.
In the name of honor book The Handmaid’s Tale like her bible. I know that you have public librarya podcast about books, so what is that bible you carry around with you?
it Pride and Prejudice. I usually travel with a copy just in case. It’s like comfort food for me. I know this story so well, I have read it so many times. Every time I dive back, it’s like coming home. Every time I read it I find new things to laugh at or new things to learn.
How many times do you think you have read it?
Maybe seven or eight times. I am re-reading this again right now.
Have you ever imagined yourself as Lizzy Bennett?
Absolutely! I feel the same as every Jane Austen fan. Whenever you read Pride and Prejudiceno one says, “I want to be Mary.”
There is a line in the Honor Society that really struck me. It’s at the beginning, and it’s obviously part of where the character starts before she goes through her arc. She says: “In order to survive, I hide inside myself.” Is that something you’ve ever done as someone with a fairly well-known job and public persona?
Definitely. It’s something that I feel very close to the character because she puts up that facade to protect herself from people who know who she really is, because what if they don’t like her?
I really feel for this.
Yes, as a person with a public profile, but also as anyone in high school, anyone with social media, anyone living the life of a teenager.
That’s what it’s like to be a teenager: hiding who you really are because you’re so worried that people won’t like you and you change to please certain people. It was one of the highlights of the film that really struck me when I first read it.
Honor Society is streaming on Paramount+.