Now Millie Bobby Brown returns with more spy skills in Enola Holmes 2 — and says she treasures the fact that her character has become a role model for girls.
Two years ago, Enola Holmes burst onto the scene in a Netflix movie that proved both hugely popular with audiences and was a genuine hit with the critics.
Adapted from the young adult fiction series of the same name by Nancy Springer, the film introduced us to the onscreen Enola, the teenage sister of the already famous Sherlock Holmes. She travelled to London to find her missing mother but ended up cracking a thrilling mystery in the process.
It’s a historical drama with a very modern outlook — so it’s little wonder that Millie was proud of how it was received.
“It’s something I really believe in — I want to encourage young people to watch it,” she says. “I think they should watch it. I love how much it means to people, young girls especially.
“I only wish I had an Enola Holmes when I was growing up. I mean, I did have American actors and characters who I found empowering when I was growing up, but no one like Enola.
“Emma Watson in Harry Potterdefinitely inspired me. She was probably the closest my generation had to Enola but she wasn’t the lead in her own adventure.”
Through Enola Holmes and her work on the smash-hit series Stranger Things, the British 18-year-old has become one of the screen’s most influential young stars. Her success is all the more remarkable when you consider that she has severe hearing loss in one ear — and it’s no surprise she takes her work as a role model seriously.
While Emma Watson inspired her as a girl, some of her movie peers have her in awe now — including Miss Flo herself, Florence Pugh.
She’s a big fan of the star, who recently drew a huge number of fans when she attended the premiere of Irish period drama, The Wonder,in Dublin. “Florence Pugh is empowering me right now. I love her. She’s amazing,” gushes the Netflix star.
As Enola Holmes 2lands on Netflix, Millie is thrilled at the prospect of returning to the character in what looks likely to be an ongoing movie series.
“I’m very excited. I loved doing the first one but I just felt like there was so much more story to tell,” she says. “Ending the first Enola Holmeswas actually incredibly sad for me because I knew there was so much more of her to discover and find out about.
“She’s a character who is capable of so much more than we have seen so far. The first film was about finding out who Enola is but in this one we get to indulge much more in her cases. I would say this one is less about physicality and more about using her brain, which is what women are capable of.”
Following the success of series like Bridgerton, there is a huge trend for period dramas with a modern take, on the big and small screen. Like some of those, Enola Holmes breaks the traditional ‘fourth wall’ by having its lead character engaging with and speaking directly to audiences.
“It’s so much fun,” she says of the quirky storytelling style. “I love it any time Enola gets to talk straight to the audience. It’s like vlogging all day long. It feels like I am narrating the film.
“I actually had a dream while filming this that I was back on the set of Stranger Thingsand I couldn’t stop looking at the camera. So now I have the deep-rooted fear that I’ll never stop looking at the camera. I’m obsessed with it!”
As well as being savvy and smart, Enola is quite the badass, using her physical strength and martial arts skills when she finds herself in peril.
In this movie, she ditches the corset for some very impressive jiu-jitsu fight scenes — a move that Millie thoroughly appreciated.
“For this one, I didn’t have to train quite as much,” she says. “I did about three months training for the first Enola Holmeswe did, so that made it a lot easier for this one.
“The one thing we did this time was to lose the corset. Our brilliant costume designer did a whole whale-bone support thing in the costume which made it a lot easier for me to move.
“I love the fighting but I hated the dancing. Just to be able to fight all day was so much fun. We all loved it. And I have to say, Helena (Bonham Carter, who plays her mother in the film) is the most entertaining fighter ever because when she fights, she sounds like a coffee machine,” she laughs.
“I am a huge Helena Bonham Carter fan, so to work with her on this — and to have her play my mother — was a dream come true. She’s such an incredible actor.”
When she’s not working, Millie is an animal lover who has a huge amount of cats in her home. In fact, she even jokes that she behaves a little like a cat herself between takes on set.
“I have this thing about confined spaces, I love them,” she explains. “So I used to take my little blanket and cuddle up in the safe we had as part of the set to read my book. I’m like a cat. I love to find the smallest little places to curl up in.
“I am obsessed with cats. I have 12-13 kittens and a big one. I just love them to the point that I think I might be turning into a cat,” she laughs. “I love dogs too, and all animals actually.”
With the final series of hit series Stranger Things also on the way, fans will no doubt be keen to see what the grand finale brings for her character, Eleven, in the sci-fi drama.
While she can’t reveal what the show’s writers have in mind, she says that she gets emotional even at the thought of saying goodbye to the series.
“I can’t tell you anything except for I know it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be emotional for all of us. It’s been eight years of my life so it going to be very odd when it finally ends.”
Not that Millie needs to worry about the work drying up any time soon. The young star has several other movies and series on the way, including period drama Damsel, where she’ll face off against a dragon, and The Girls I’ve Been, in which she plays a savvy con artist who uses her skills to get her loved ones out of trouble.
And she is heartened at the prospect of returning to play Enola Holmes for a third time. “I would love to do a third one but we have no plans yet. We’ll see.”
Why does she feel the character has such a broad appeal?
“I think (it comes) from her hunger and her willingness to learn and to know more. I think that’s a wonderful inspiration to young girls. It’s about education and learning. That is where power comes from and that’s how we will change the world for the better.”