Zawe Ashton nearly quit acting before she was cast in 'Velvet Buzzsaw'

Zawe Ashton

Zawe Ashton

The 34-year-old actress is best known for her roles as Vod in Channel 4's 'Fresh Meat', Katherine in 'Not Safe for Work' and most recently teacher Claire Pascal in polyamory TV drama 'Wanderlust' but she has admitted that before she was cast in the recently released Netflix horror film she thought about swapping careers.

In an interview with Variety, she said: "I wanted to quit acting and as soon as I decided that, the call for 'Velvet Buzzsaw' came through."

The satirical horror, directed by Dan Gilroy, also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Toni Collette - whom Zawe appeared with in Wanderlust - and centres on paintings by an unknown artist which after being discovered cause a supernatural force to enact revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.

Zawe - who plays Josephina in the film - explained that she wanted the role so much that she sent in her audition tape the morning after she had accidentally "chopped the top of her finger off".

She explained: "The night before the self-tape, I chopped the top of my finger off. The next day, I was tired, mad, had a huge bandage on my finger while doing a scene with a cell phone I was having trouble holding. I watched it back and thought, 'You look mad. Not pretending to be insane, you look like an actual insane person. And I think there's something about that that's going to work.' "

Director Gilroy, 59, praised the actress and insisted that of all the tapes they'd seen, Zawe's was the only one which captured the "satirical element" to the script.

He added: "Of all the auditions we saw, Zawe's was the only one that made us laugh. It's not indicated in the script or the dialogue, but Zawe intuitively understood there was a satirical element to what was happening that imbued everything. She's a tremendous actress who can write and direct and I can't wait to see what she explores in the future."

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