When she first appeared on "Game of Thrones," Sophie Turner, aka Sansa Stark, was barely a teenager, with little acting experience beyond her high school theater group. Five years later, the British-born beauty is exploring new terrain though her role as Jean Grey in "X-Men: Apocalypse."
The 20-year-old, who has a handful of other new films coming down the pike in the next year or so, recently sat down with Self to talk about her "X-Men" character, the tough training regimen she endured for the movie and how she navigates career choices these days.
In the new "X-Men" flick, Sophie plays a younger version of the telepathic, telekinetic-empowered Jean Grey.
"I found a lot of parallels between Jean and myself psychologically. Her journey is trying to figure out who she is, surviving the hormones and the boys, which are loaded on top of the fact that she's a super-powerful mutant," Sophie says when asked how she identifies with Jean.
"I haven't had that last bit to deal with! But I've had the challenge of growing up and having horrible skin and all the things that make you feel uncomfortable as a teenager, and knowing that everyone can see it -- because 50 percent of them point it out to you."
Training for the action-packed film, which also stars Sophie's newly minted besties Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy, involved using hill sprints, kettleballs, resistance bands and other equipment during workout sessions that were crammed into 13-hour workdays.
"It was all outside, around London, which was more fun than being cooped up in a gym. I need to do fun stuff that takes my mind off the fact that I'm working out," Sophie says, adding that the benefits aren't just physical for her.
"Exercise has made me feel more positive about my body, less self-conscious," she explains. "I don't know if I look any different, but I feel stronger, and I can do more, which is such a good feeling. It's so liberating."
The "Game of Thrones" star is also set to appear in a new indie feature from Matthew Coppola, "Alone," which stars Sophie as the unlikely new friend of a war vet suffering PTSD. Other forthcoming projects include "Berlin, I Love You," with Jared Leto and a starring role as Mary Shelley in "Mary Shelley's Monster."
"If I find something that I'm very passionate about, I drive it forward," says Sophie. "Obviously, with the advice of others! But I make my own decisions."
The June issue of Self hits newsstands May 24.
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