Lucy Boynton on Netflix’s The Politician and why her unintentional beauty influencing is set to continue

Home / Lucy Boynton on Netflix’s The Politician and why her unintentional beauty influencing is set to continue


24th Sep 2019

Lucy Boynton is having quite the year. Although the 25-year-old American-born, London-raised actress had an illustrious start to her acting career, starring alongside Renée Zellweger in 2006’s Miss Potter (Boynton played Young Beatrix to Zellweger’s adult Beatrix), since playing Mary Austin in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody and with a star turn in Netflix’s highly-anticipated TV show, The Politician, the actress has well and truly arrived.

“It’s been a fun one,” the actress said of the past year to Vogue over the telephone just prior to The Politician’s Netflix debut on September 27. And it sounds like the fun is just getting started. 

The show, from the award-winning creator behind Glee, American Horror Story and Pose, Ryan Murphy, is a sharp noir comedy about a privileged, over-achieving high schooler, Payton Hobart, played by Pitch Perfect’s Ben Platt, who has Oval Office-sized political ambitions, starting with his campaign for student president at his Santa Barbara high school.

The show’s supporting cast is as stellar as its lead, as is the set and the elevated fashion; think Gossip Girl with a weather-appropriate Californian twist. Payton’s mother is played by Gwyneth Paltrow (whose husband, Brad Falchuk, is a co-creator on the show), two-time Oscar-winner Jessica Lange is also on the cast, along with a slew of up-and-comers such as Zoey Deutch, Benjamin Barrett and Rahne Jones. Hollywood legends Bette Midler and Judith Light also make pivotal appearances.

Boynton plays Payton’s icy blonde rival, Astrid, in the show and the references to Reese Witherspoon’s Tracy Flick in 1999’s cult movie, Election, are unmissable. But, Boynton says it was the pull of working with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk that initially sparked her interest in the project, followed by the character of Astrid herself. “I think that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s stamp on the script is the first thing that gets your attention. And obviously the writing is of a certain level and quality that I really respect… so that was pretty thrilling. And then, with Astrid, I’ve never played a character like her before, and it was really liberating.”

Lucy Boynton in a scene from Netflix's The Politician. Image credit: courtesy of Netflix

“You think you know her,” Boynton continued. Adding: “You kind of underestimate her early on because you think she’s similar to these stereotypes that I think are seen in a lot of movies and TV shows. [But] in as early as episode one… [they kind] of take the floor right from beneath her and take the context from this character she’s built herself, and so we go on this journey; a mixture of this character she’s created of Astrid and then authentic Astrid trying to work out her place in everything.”

The show has the heightened theatricality Murphy is renowned for, which not only makes for a highly entertaining watch but also an incredibly colourful feast for the eyes, thanks in large part to the costume design. Much like Gossip Girl or Sex and the City, the fashion in the show really takes centre stage, Boynton’s Astrid wears looks Blair Waldorf would approve of and Boynton said she would wear pieces from her Politician wardrobe if she could locate them. “I’m still trying to track down my costume and buy it all for myself,” Boynton said.

On the topic of costumes, when asked about one particular costume element on 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody — the prosthetic teeth Boynton’s boyfriend, Rami Malek, wore to play Freddie Mercury — Boynton quipped that kissing him with the teeth “took some getting used to” and that they were “another character unto themselves”. Malek and Boynton met on the set of the Oscar-winning film and confirmed they were a couple in January this year.

Actress Lucy Boynton. Image credit: courtesy of Netflix

Since then, the couple have made a number of red carpet appearances together, notably on the Oscars red carpet and more recently at the Venice Film Festival, but Boynton, who is fairly active on social media, has so far kept her Instagram Malek-free. When asked about social media, the actress said this year — her breakthrough year — she has really had to consider how she “engages” on Instagram.

“I think this year, especially, has been a real turning point in how I engage with it. It used to be much safer engaging with it because it would just be my friend Ellie commenting on all my stuff and now a lot more people are a lot more opinionated. I think… it’s kind of… not really conducive to our job. An actor’s job is to encourage you to suspend your disbelief that we are this or that, and so then to present so heavily on social media doesn’t really make sense to me. So I try and use it in a measured way.”

Given Boynton’s more considered strategy to social media, it’s ironic that Boynton has unintentionally also found fame in the Instagram world of beauty influencing. Working with make-up artist Jo Baker, Boynton’s boundary-pushing red carpet beauty looks are so ‘Gram-worthy it’s almost as though they were created specifically for the social media platform. From glitter teardrops to extreme eyeliner, nothing is off-limits.

“I think Jo Baker can pretty much convince you to do anything,” Boynton revealed. Adding: “When we [Baker and Boynton] were in Venice together recently for the Venice Film Festival we were walking down the street, we were like, ‘That’s an inspiration, that’s an inspiration’. We always send each other pictures and stuff. It’s always very free and easy and no pressure. And it’s exciting when she’s drawing on my face. Whatever Jo Baker is doing, count me in.”

And it seems whatever Boynton is doing, count audiences and her growing legion of loyal fans in.

The Politician will premiere on Netflix on September 27, 2019.

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