Anna Baryshnikov on 'Manchester by the Sea'

Anna Baryshnikov on 'Manchester by the Sea'

After her role in the Oscar-nominated film, the daughter of the legendary dancer is leaps and bounds ahead.

After her role in the Oscar-nominated film, the daughter of the legendary dancer is leaps and bounds ahead.

Photography: Philippe Jarrigeon

Styling: Clare Byrne

Text: Whitney Mallett

“I would go to the mall and listen to groups of girls talking. There’s a really specific way that they say, ‘Oh my God,’” notes actress Anna Baryshnikov, explaining how she researched the coastal Massachusetts accent her character speaks with in Kenneth Lonergan’s acclaimed film Manchester by the Sea. “It sounds creepy when I say it out loud: I stalked young girls at the mall,” she jokes.

Not counting a tiny part in Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog, Manchester by the Sea is the 24-year-old’s first film role. It was a dream come true in a lot of ways. Baryshnikov was a theater major at Northwestern, and a big Lonergan fan. “Kenny’s such a staple of the theater community,” she notes, adding that she performed Jessica’s monologue from his play This Is Our Youth in every acting class growing up. Baryshnikov was raised just north of New York City in a family of artists. Her father Mikhail Baryshnikov is a legendary dancer, choreographer, and actor and her mother Lisa Rinehart is a former ballerina.

Recently, Baryshnikov’s been revisiting some old home videos, provoking her to realize how integral 
performing was to her childhood. “In my house, performing was always part of the experience,” she remembers. It’s no surprise, then, that all her siblings have ended up in the arts. Her first opportunity to take the stage came at six years old when a neighbor put together an all-children production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “There was this lovely, beautiful scene where all the younger girls were fairies. It was supposed to be ethereal and light,” she recalls. “Before the show, my babysitter was like, ‘Just remember to project your voice.’ So in the performance, it comes time to do my line and I’m just screaming.” The gaffe turned into a career inspiration. “The audience laughed and I remember thinking, Oh that’s fun. I love making people laugh.”

Baryshnikov’s next role, on the upcoming CBS show Superior Donuts, will employ that early passion for humor. The comedy, adapted from the Tracy Letts play of the same name, tackles the subject of gentrification in Chicago through a cast of characters that work at or frequent the same donut shop. Since Letts is an icon of the Chicago theater scene, Baryshnikov is thrilled to be part of the project. What she’ll miss most when shooting in L.A., though, are playwrights like 
Annie Baker, Sarah DeLappe, and Jenny Rachel Weiner, adding, “There’s a really cool community of young, female playwrights in New York right now.”

DRESS SPORTMAX 
EARRING (WORN AS BROOCH) TULESTE . ON EYES M.A.C. PIGMENT
NUTCRACKER SWEET IN ROSE. ON NAILS: M.A.C. M.A.C. STUDIO/HELMUT NEWTON NAIL LACQUER 
IN MONTE CARLO.

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