Fans who went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this weekend may know Chris Pratt, Kurt Russell, and Zoe Saldana, but who is the actress that played the golden high priestess Ayesha?
The role of Ayesha was played by actress Elizabeth Debicki. Ayesha, the high priestess of a race of golden aliens called the Sovereign, sets her sights on the Guardians of the Galaxy after Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) steals important batteries from their planet. Ayesha pops up throughout the film to try and find the Guardians, with help from her golden army.
While Ayesha and the Sovereign have prompted a mixed response among critics and moviegoers, some have praised Debicki and her performance. Here are five facts to know about the young actress.
1. Elizabeth Debicki hails from Australia
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten great use out of Australian actors, including Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Hugo Weaving (Red Skull), and more. Debicki is a 26-year-old Australian actress, having moved there from Paris when she was 5.
2. She broke out with The Great Gatsby
Before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Debicki was most known for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Debicki played Jordan Baker, the woman Daisy (Carey Mulligan) tries to set Nick (Tobey Maguire) up with. For her performance, the actress earned the AACTA Award (Australia’s equivalent to the Oscars) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
3. She is very tall
Guardians fans may have noticed Debicki’s towering height as she rose out of her chair as Ayesha, but there was no cinematic trickery there. Debicki is 6’2″ and has spoken about her height publicly with the Independent.
“I am very tall and when you’re a teenager, you want to be like everyone else,” she said. “I used to slump a lot, it’s very human at that stage to want to be part of the crowd, and not want any part of you that is sticking out.”
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of her first film roles
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is only Debicki’s sixth feature film role. In addition to The Great Gatsby, she had roles in A Few Best Men, Macbeth, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Everest. She has co-starred in a few TV series, including The Night Manager and The Kettering Incident. None of her projects have been on the grand scale of Guardians, though.
5. She gave up dance for acting
Debicki’s parents were both classically trained dancers, and she tried to follow this passion through her youth. She ultimately gave it up after realizing she loved the storytelling aspect of dance rather than the activity itself.
“It occurred to me that what I liked more than dancing the steps was acting the story of whatever particular performance I was taking part in,” she told SBS in 2012.
It remains to be seen if Debicki’s high priestess will be back in future installments of Guardians of the Galaxy or the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large, but the actress told Den of Geek recently that her “lips are sealed.”
The actress also admitted that her entire look as Ayesha the high priestess was created with practical makeup.
“It’s all there. It’s all painted, yeah, and the contacts, and the hair, and everything. They went old school,” she said of her all-gold appearance in the film. Debicki said that realizing she would be painted all gold was a “surreal” process.
“I mean, what I love about Ayesha is I’ve never really seen anything like her in the Marvel Universe, and I’ve never seen a creation like her, you know, on screen before. I think that she’s really unique and there’s a power to that.”
You can catch Debicki as Ayesha the high priestess in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in theaters now.
[Featured Image by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images]