Curious? That’s the question Fifty Shades of Grey is asking on billboards across America, and, yes, like so many others, we are curious. Yet, as we’ve become increasingly familiar with the film’s two stars, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, it’s Johnson’s onscreen best friend and roommate who has us asking, “Who’s that girl?” That girl is Eloise Mumford. Previously appearing on ABC’s sci-fi series The River and FOX’s Lone Star, the 28-year-old is making it big playing Kate Kavanagh, Anastasia Steele’s tell-it-like-it-is sidekick. We chatted with the actress during the film’s press tour to talk what fans can expect from the movie, red carpet fashion, and what’s next. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.
Had you read Fifty Shades of Grey prior to auditioning for the role of Kate?
I read the first book prior to auditioning and then the other two after I was cast. I thought it was really fun. I heard so much about the book before reading it, because it was such a global phenomenon. You read something so differently when you know it’s such a cultural hotspot. It’s cool, because so many people are connecting with it on a really visceral level, and knowing that as you’re reading it, I don’t know, I was very entertained by it, and then also reading it knowing I’d like to play Kate adds another level.
What initially drew you to the character?
Well the thing I love about Kate is that she is incredibly pragmatic, inquisitive, and a very true friend, and I think that in particular drew me to her, that she is so protective of Anna [Anastasia]. She’s that good girlfriend that you tell everything to, but who kind of also feels like your mum at moments, because she would tell you if your outfit looks ugly or if you have food in your teeth. She is the sort of friend that I hope I am to my girlfriends, so that part was really attractive to me.
What can fans of the book expect from the film adaptation?
I think that if people love the book, they are going to love the movie. It holds the heart of the story very true. Obviously adapting a book, which is in a much larger format, to a film is hard, choosing what to keep and let go, but I think the writers and director did a really great job of capturing the spirit of the book. I just saw it last week, and I think fans of the book will be really happy.
Kate and Anastasia are best friends and roommates in the book. What was your relationship with Dakota Johnson like while filming?
Dakota is hilarious. She is really funny and a great person. While we were filming, she was working very hard. She’s in every frame of the film, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time. At the end of each day, she was exhausted. She really does a beautiful job in the film, and she was pouring her heart into it—it really shows onscreen. But we got along really great. I just saw her last week in New York and we had a lot of fun together. It’s always good when you feel like you don’t have to fake that chemistry.
Is there one particular scene in the film that had you blushing?
Yes, and I can’t say what it is, but yes. And I’m sure when people go see it, it will make them blush too. I went to the fan screening for the first time in New York and the audible gasp in the room was pretty amazing at this particular moment.
The soundtrack is getting a lot of buzz. Do you have a favourite track?
The film opens with a great song and I really like the Ellie Goulding song [“Love Me Like You Do”]. I think it fits in really well with the moment, and it gets stuck in my head a lot. I find myself humming it frequently. I am obviously the biggest fan of Beyoncé—she can do no wrong in my mind. And so I love the version of “Haunted” she did for the film.
Who’s your Hollywood equivalent of Christian Grey?
Ryan Gosling is very much my celebrity crush. I know he has a partner and a child, but this is fantasyland.
Let’s talk fashion. How do you go about picking a look for the red carpet?
I really like a classic silhouette. For red-carpet stuff in particular, I like going for sort of a Marilyn Monroe vibe, when women had real bodies and curves, and showing that in a classy way. That’s been my approach lately. I work with a great team of stylists who help me with that.
What about your day-to-day style?
I love vintage finds. I spend a lot of time at flea markets, so my favourite pieces are really beautiful vintage things that I’ve found at the Rose Bowl or various other flea markets. There are some European designers, too. Christian Wijnants is this incredible, not-very-well-known designer that I love. I used to live in New York for a long time, so I still carry a great love for big jackets and boots and that sort of New York street vibe. I have this jacket I got a couple of years ago when I was still living in New York and I love it. I will wear it constantly. It’s a long, three-quarter length black and white jacket.
What’s next for you in 2015?
Oh my gosh, so many things. We just bought a new house, and I’m really looking forward to making that into a home, planting gardens, and, you know, cooking in the new kitchen. I’m also looking forward to working on some incredible projects and delving into some new characters. There is so much incredible film and TV being made right now, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming up in that realm. And also travelling. I would like to go to Patagonia, Japan, and India.
What’s your TV guilty pleasure? The Bachelor. There are so many reasons why it’s not a good show to watch, but it is just really good drama.
What song is currently playing on repeat? I have been listening to a lot of like Joni Mitchell-era, singer-songwriter stuff. And this is a completely different world, but this band Blue Scholars—they are from Washington. I have been listening to them a lot, too.
What are you reading? The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, which is really fascinating. I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’m usually reading a lot of scripts, so I always try to make time for books and I’ve been doing a great job of that lately.
Are you going to check out Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend? Tell us below!