In the new movie Josie, Sophie Turner plays a mysterious young woman with an arm covered in tattoos, a Southern accent, and completely unknown family history. It's a far cry from Turner's role as Sansa Stark, except for one big thing. In both Josie and Game of Thrones, Sophie Turner plays women seeking revenge against men, and although the 22-year-old says she doesn't know exactly why she gravitates towards these roles, she does admit she has a love for the genre.
"You would kind of expect me to have had something happen to me in a younger life that makes me want to get revenge against men, but really nothing has," says Turner with a laugh, speaking to Bustle over the phone. "I don’t know why I choose these roles. Maybe I have a deep down hatred for men, but I’m pretty certain I don’t."
In Josie, out March 16, Turner plays a young girl who shows up alone in a Southern town and quickly befriends her isolated middle aged neighbor, Hank (Dylan McDermott). But what seems like a chance meeting is revealed to be something deeper, and the movie is filled with shocking, vengeance-motivated twists. Yet for Turner, it's not revenge itself that appeals to her in these movies, but the justice that often results from it.
"I think maybe it’s just like a subconscious thing that I choose [to play characters who take revenge]... because it’s mirroring society in a way," Turner says. "Now we’re standing up to the people who kind of oppressed us."
With both Game of Thrones and the X-Men films, in which she stars as Jean Grey, Turner has made a career out of playing characters who work to reclaim their power, often in a male-dominated landscapes. "When [Sansa] was younger and was very innocent and vulnerable, she was scheming behind the scenes despite complying and being a play thing for Joffrey and for Ramsey," Turner says of her Thrones character. "I think there’s something that really throws people when they see such an innocent young girl. You immediately think, 'no danger, no harm'... a teenage girl for some reason is such an underdog."
But teen girls, as Turner and her fans know well, are often far more confident than they might appear, and are not to be underestimated. "I admire characters like Josie, who's supposed to be 17, 18, and knowing what she wants and knowing what she needs to do in order to be happy," the actor says. And despite her success with Thrones, Turner explains that for years, she didn't know what she wanted or needed out of life.
"When I started out on Game of Thrones, I became very, very independent, and I think I thought... that I was fine by myself and that life was just like, hanging out and going to parties," Turner reflects. "I was fine with that, but now, really in the past few years, I’ve realized that what really makes me happy is being in one place. I think I have a stronger sense of self now than I did before, because it was just such an exploration."
When Turner started filming Game of Thrones, she was just 14; the show's success shot her into the spotlight. Yet for all its detriments, that experience allows the actor to connect deeply with characters like Josie who also become independent early in life. "Many of the roles I choose are always forced to grow up faster than they should’ve done or needed to," Turner says. "That’s a running thing, like with Jean Grey and Sansa Stark. It’s always a thing that I seem to be really attracted to and maybe it is because, in a way, I was kind of forced to grow up quicker than I probably would had I not been in the situation that I’m in."
In addition to their sense of independence, Turner and Josie also share a strong desire to fight against injustices. Right now, the actor is focused on "standing up to the system," aka the "corrupt" U.S. government. "I think standing up to that and not being afraid of it is one of the big issues of today," she says.
Clearly, Turner knows what she believes in. And while her real life might not have the kind of twists and turns that Sansa or Josie experience, it's filled with as much power and self-confidence.
Editor's Note: This article's headline was changed from the original.