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INTERVIEW: Fifty Shades‘ Eloise Mumford on playing Anastasia’s friend Kate

When Eloise Mumford calls Fifty Shades of Grey “a huge cultural phenomenon,” she isn’t exaggerating. Not since Harry Potter has a franchise so fascinated the world. The admittedly-excited actress, who landed the coveted part of Ana’s best friend, Kate Kavanagh, gives us the skinny on her role and what the story’s really about.

Eloise MumfordPhoto credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN

You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting someone who is a fan of E L James’ erotic novel-turned-film-franchise, Fifty Shades of Grey. The S&M-tinged tale of Christian Grey and his impressionable young ward of love, Anastasia Steele, has spawned a particularly intense breed of fanfare.

Some call it “mommy porn.” Some call it upscale erotica. But it seems like everyone is waiting with bated breath to see how the film adaptation plays out when it hits the big screen early next year.

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Eloise Mumford, best known for her roles in the TV series, Lone Star and The River, feels confident that the long wait won’t have been in vain.

“I was incredibly honored to be part of the phenomenon,” she says of nabbing the role of Ana’s roommate, Kate Kavanagh. “There are tens of millions of fans of Fifty Shades who are expecting us to get the film right, and I really think that we did. We expect that now, too.”

As for the prominent erotic subject matter, Mumford feels proud to be part of a cultural conversation that is decidedly adult. “The books are for grown-ups, the film is for grown-ups and I think it’s exciting to be in a film that really treats the audience like grown-ups.”

But for those worried the film will come across as a thinly-veiled skin flick, the actress stresses that director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation artfully captures the emotion at the story’s core.

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“Ultimately, it’s a story about a relationship, and everyone has had a relationship that made them feel and experience things that they haven’t felt before. So that’s the heart of it,” she explained, adding, “I think everyone’s had relationships — maybe not S&M relationships — that in some way mirror Christian and Ana’s relationship.”

She also iterates that the film isn’t strictly about romantic relationships, either, saying, “It is a lot about friendship. Playing Ana’s best friend, Kate, I really get to see it from that lens, you know, that it’s about women supporting each other and being friends and, ultimately, being excited for each other when they’re falling in love.”

Still, starring in the film was “a ballsy move,” she laughs. But Mumford’s not one to shy away from controversial roles. In the real-time military thriller, Drones, which hits theaters tonight, the actress plays a drone pilot tasked with deciding the fate of a group of alleged terrorists with the touch of a button.

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Fortunately, she has her family to back her plays. “My parents are incredibly supportive, thankfully, so whether it’s playing a drone pilot or playing Kate in Fifty Shades, they’re always incredible supporters,” she shared. “I’m very lucky.”

And although Mumford is staying pretty, well, mum on any other details of the movie, she reaffirms that she is “thrilled and honored” to be a part of Fifty Shades of Grey.

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