The actor never thought she would make it in a lead role – until Terrence Malick had a word. Now she is stepping into the spotlight as Roxanne in Joe Wright’s Cyrano

It’s quite an entrance. Haley Bennett walks into the Soho hotel room flanked by publicists, then breaks theatrically into song, filling the air with lyrics from her new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. The film is directed by her partner, Joe Wright; she plays Roxanne opposite Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage as Cyrano. It’s a fresh, modern and giddily romantic movie, and will probably do for Edmond Rostand’s classic play what Wright’s Pride & Prejudice did for Austen.

Bennett sits down and places a framed photograph on the coffee table between us, of a sunny little girl with pigtails. Having become slightly obsessed with Bennett’s Instagram account (more later), I assume this is her three-year-old, Virginia. But no, the photo is of Bennett herself, aged four. “I was just visiting my family in Ohio,” she says brightly. “I think it’s important that we nurture the four-year-old in all of us, so I brought her with me.”

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