You know that saying about how anything Fred Astaire did, Ginger Rogers did backward and in high heels? It comes to mind as Jodie Turner-Smith recounts filming the action movie Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse while in her second trimester of pregnancy—something her costars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell were quite assuredly not dealing with. “The men think they’re hard-core,” the actress says, cracking up, “but they could never do what they do while also making a baby. They just couldn’t.”
Bomber Jacket, $2500, dress, $4200, necklace $2800, slingback pumps, $790, The North Face x Gucci. Vintage earrings, belt, and leggings.
For Turner-Smith, the fight scenes took a back seat to the humanity of the story. “True strength is not found in force and brutality, but in vulnerability,” she says. “I would love to do more action, and action where I’m allowed to be a woman,” she adds, citing Sigourney Weaver’s classic turn in Alien. “I know we don’t maybe class that as specifically an action film, but I mean, what she’s doing in that? Fucking brilliant.” On the opposite end of the spectrum—except in the sense that she’s also what a streaming-service menu might consider a Strong Female Lead—is Anne Boleyn, whom Turner-Smith has signed on to play in an as-yet-unnamed series. The English queen’s tragic story has been told countless times via film (The Other Boleyn Girl), musical theater (Six), and literary fiction (Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies), but Turner-Smith has a theory about why we’re still, nearly a half-millennium after her beheading, so enthralled by her. “We can only infer who she was, because she left no paper trail that would hint at her imagination. She’s endlessly fascinating for that reason,” she says. With her portrayal, Turner-Smith wanted to “tell the story of the woman who sits at the center of the myth, and make that story an accessible one—one that’s not entirely about class, but about humanity. Because whether a woman is a queen or a housekeeper, she is not exempt from any of the challenges and trials that women face in navigating their bodies, love, or the patriarchy,” she says. “There’s an opportunity to tell a really human story and for it to feel that much more accessible because a Black woman is playing her.”