This month, Brown is teaming with Netflix to bring audiences Enola Holmes, a project that sees her both in front of the camera in the titular role and behind the scenes serving as one of the film’s producers, a career first for the star. “I wanted to be a part of the casting process, I wanted to be a part of the writing process, and I definitely wanted to be a part of the layout of the whole production,” she says of some of the new responsibilities she took on. You could say Enola Holmes is Brown’s baby, in a way. She was struck by the character, the precocious younger sister of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, when reading the Nancy Springer book series at the age of 13. “When I was younger and lived in London, I felt as though I could never connect with a lead British female. When I read this book, I genuinely felt like I had found someone just like me. My sister and I both fell in love with Enola and everything about her. We thought, ‘This needs to be seen.’” So Brown, with a strong vision and understanding of what young audiences want, went to Legendary Entertainment and made it happen. The project would later find its perfect home with Netflix.
With all the makings of an entertaining mystery film—adventure, suspense, misdirection—and the welcome addition of female empowerment, Enola Holmes is a fantastic watch. Brown shines as Holmes and is almost unrecognizable with her long, wavy hair and fitted-bodice dresses, a far cry from Eleven’s ’80s tomboy look. When I ask how she and Holmes might be similar, she laughs and tells me they both are quite nosy—a product, she goes on to say, of always wanting to be in the know and wearing her heart on her sleeve. She also says they are both unapologetically authentic. “We are only ourselves for the rest of our lives, so I just accept the fact that I am who I am and don’t need anyone to rely on.”