Hollywood isn’t always the easiest space to navigate. However, for The Laundromat actress Jessica Allain, grasping on to each project with fervor and gusto has been the key to success. Though the London native is a star on the rise in the entertainment industry–she’s been working as a model since she was just 16 years old. Her love for the camera seamlessly transitioned into her actor’s training. With credits like Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation and Blumhouse’s Thriller under her belt–Allain’s latest project might be her most ambitious yet.
Starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas–Netflix’s The Laundromat follows the Panama Papers scandal. Streep plays Ellen Martin, a woman who falls down a rabbit hole of insurance fraud and scams when the vacation of her dreams takes a tragic turn. What she finds is a shady Panama City law firm run by Jürgen Mossack (Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Banderas) who run offshore tax schemes. For her part, Allain plays Simone–a Southern California college student whose affluent world shatters due to her father’s indiscretions.
Ahead of The Laundromat’s debut on Netflix–STYLECASTER sat down to chat with Allain about the film, why this role was so intriguing to her and why we’ve got to start talking about money.
“When I got the movie, I didn’t know much about the Panama Papers,” Allain explained. I had to ask myself, ‘Why don’t I know about this?’ I watch the news religiously, every day. And it’s still something that I don’t know about. As a millennial and a woman in her twenties, you see these news stories that are about money and taxes, and we just feel like it’s not our problem. When I got this job it was really exciting for me to research the Panama Papers and find out more information on a subject that I knew nothing about.”
Simone is such a compelling character. A recent college grad, she finds herself bargaining with her father when a family secret is uncovered. “She’s really exciting,” Allain expressed. “She gets manipulated by her father. But at the same time, which made it interesting for me is that she’s definitely her father’s daughter. When the mention of money comes about, she’s game for it. That was really fun to play.”
Still, with such massive talent on the set with her–it was a bit intimidating to star in The Laundromat. “I was a little bit nervous to do my scenes with Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman,” Allain stated. “I think I was definitely waiting for that scene more than any other I think because obviously I was working with Meryl Streep, and it was very exciting, it was very nerve-wracking for me. It’s a scene where I have to keep my power, so I knew that I had to do that going into it. I think it works as well.”
Though The Laundromat appears to cover a topic that seems far removed for many millennials and certainly Gen-Z–for Allain it provides an entry into a subject that we don’t often talk about until it’s too late. “This is a global issue that affects everybody, and we should all be aware of this,” she said. “They’re not teaching us this at school. So we need to educate ourselves at this point. I think the level of transparency in the financial industry is really important. If I’m choosing to buy, I should know about where that money’s going and where my money’s going. If I’m buying something from a company and they’re laundering their money, I should have the right to know that and then I should or have the right to maybe take my business somewhere else. I’ve had an education during this movie, and I shouldn’t have. I should’ve known about this subject because it affects me –it affects everyone.”
With a firm grasp in the film and television industry–Allain is thrilled to continue making a name for herself. “For me, it’s really important to be well rounded,” she revealed. “I don’t want to be an actress that’s one-note, playing the same role. I want to be different. I want to push myself. I haven’t done so much yet, but the things I have done have all been different and I love that and it makes it exciting for me and it’s exciting to play. I just want to carry on doing things that are different and I hope I’m hoping got an action role next.”
The Laundromat is currently in theaters and will debut on Netflix Oct. 18, 2019.