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Emerald Fennell got more than she bargained for when she attended a screening for her film Promising Young Woman.
During Thursday's episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers, the British filmmaker and actress, who received three Academy Award nominations for the film, opened up about witnessing a fight break out during a test screening for the thriller.
"I was in the theater. It was my first test screening, it was my only test screening I've ever attended," said Fennell, who's also known for playing Camilla Parker Bowles on the most recent season of The Crown and for serving as showrunner on Killing Eve season 2.
"I sort of said to the producers and the distributors who were all there, 'I'll go and sit in the back. I just want to really hear everyone. I want to really experience everything,' " she recalled. "And then of course I sat down and the guy next to me went, 'What is this?' and the woman sitting next to me said, 'I don't know.' "
Late Night with Seth Meyers/Youtube Emerald Fennel
As if that wasn't enough, at one point in the film, heated words were exchanged by audience members with very different opinions about what they just watched.
"I was very far away but what happened was there's a scene in the film that's very disturbing and somebody in the audience liked it and the other person did not," Fennell, 35, recalled. "There was a lot of shouting and my immediate thought was, 'Oh great, this movie is never going to be released.' "
Fennell both directed and wrote Promising Young Woman, which finds Carey Mulligan's Cassie committing herself to a revenge mission after her college friend was sexually assaulted.
The movie, which also stars Alison Brie, Bo Burnham, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge and Laverne Cox, scored five Oscar nominations, including a nod for Best Picture.
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Mike Marsland/WireImage Emerald Fennell
As for the success of the film, Fennell called it the "most incredible thing ever."
"Nobody expects this, especially when you make an independent film," she told Meyers, adding that she was at home in England when the Oscar nominations were announced.
"I was on a Zoom call when I got a text from Josh O'Connor," she said of her The Crown costar. "Then my husband came in and he had the live feed [of the nomination ceremony]. I think I blacked out. There was a lot of screaming — a lot of screaming."
The 93rd Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, April 25 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.