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Mia McKenna Bruce did have 'the best time' filming How to Have Sex amid Prince William criticism

The actress won the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award on Sunday

Mia McKenna-Bruce, Prince William split image
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Prince William has been making headlines after his conversation with actress Mia McKenna-Bruce backstage at the BAFTA Film Awards at London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday. 

After walking the red carpet solo, the Prince of Wales met with the Rising Star nominees and has been criticised for his remarks to Mia, who won the award for her role in the indie coming-of-age film, How To Have Sex, which follows three 16-year-old girls on their rites-of-passage party holiday in Malia.

William confessed that he hadn't seen the film, which explores darker themes including the blurred lines between consent and sexual assault. "I haven't yet watched your film," he said, adding: "I think it looked like you had a lot of fun all the way through."

Prince William, Prince of Wales meets Phoebe Dynevor, Ayo Edebiri, Sophie Wilde and Mia Mckenna-Bruce, winner of the EE Rising Star Award, backstage during the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 at The Royal Festival Hall © Scott Garfitt
Prince William has been criticised for his comments to Mia Mckenna-Bruce at the BAFTAs

The interaction went viral on social media and has since been branded as an "awkward gaffe".

But while the film does tackle difficult subjects and feature hard-to-watch scenes, Mia had "so many" fond memories filming the drama and said she and her fellow co-stars were "hyper and excited the whole time". 

During an exclusive interview with HELLO!, Mia spoke about her experience shooting the film on location in Malia. "I don't know if it was the music or the setting, but it literally felt like we were 17 again and we were just hyper and excited the whole time," she said. "I think that's how we went about acting drunk because it was like this excited hyperness."

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Mia Mckenna-Bruce attends the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 18, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)© Gareth Cattermole/BAFTA
Mia won the Rising Star Award for her performance

Recalling a stand-out memory, Mia explained that on one occasion, due to the rain, director Molly Manning Walker had to rewrite an outdoor scene and change the setting to an indoor club. 

"The six of us were standing on this podium and I think we were dancing to 'One Kiss' by Dua Lipa," she explained. "Molly was actually DJing at the time. Everyone was having the best time, it was like an actual party."

For those unfamiliar with the film, it follows Mia's character Tara and her two friends Em (Enva Lewis) and Skye (Lara Peake), as they celebrate the end of their GCSEs in Malia. But when they cross paths with another group of teens, including slightly older lads Paddy (Samuel Bottomley) and Badger (Shaun Thomas), the story takes a dark turn. 

Mia McKenna-Bruce in How to Have Sex© MUBI
Mia stars alongside Shaun Thomas in How to Have Sex

Chatting about the film, which received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival last year, Mia revealed that since its release she's been inundated with messages from viewers applauding the drama's handling of themes such as consent and peer pressure. 

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"A lot of people have been thanking us because the film has given them space to have these conversations when they wouldn't have known how to broach the subject before," she said. "I thought it would be a lot of younger people but it's generations above ours as well."

Mia with her fellow nominees Sophie Wilde and Phoebe Dynevor © Dave Benett
Mia with her fellow nominees Sophie Wilde and Phoebe Dynevor

Mia has received widespread critical acclaim for her performance in the film and picked up the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award on Sunday. 

Taking to the stage to accept the gong, Mia said the win was a "complete surprise" and that she wanted to "hug every single person" who voted for her. 


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