Stars of Sundance: Lucas Hedges

Stars of Sundance: Lucas Hedges

Back In January, V Caught Up With All Of The Stars Of This Year's Sundance Film Festival For Our Fashion & Film Issue. Here, Lucas Hedges Talks About His Upcoming Film, Manchester By The Sea

Back In January, V Caught Up With All Of The Stars Of This Year's Sundance Film Festival For Our Fashion & Film Issue. Here, Lucas Hedges Talks About His Upcoming Film, Manchester By The Sea

Photography: Charlie Engman

Styling: Emma Wyman

Text: Patrik Sandberg

Back in Winston-Salem, where Lucas Hedges studies theater, he is still shell-shocked from Sundance. “Seeing that many celebrities in a two-day span warps your perception of reality,” he says. “Celebrities don’t live in the same universe as me. It was very disturbing.”

It’s a funny response from someone who is technically film industry royalty. “I actually went to Sundance when I was five with my dad’s movie, Pieces of April, but I don’t remember it,” Hedges explains. Lucas is the son of Peter Hedges, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, author, and director best known for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. But, despite growing up around film sets and theaters (his mother is a stage actress), Hedges’s childhood was as normal as could be. “I always thought Gilbert Grape was just an indie film that no one really knew about,” he says. It wasn’t until his teen years that the magnitude sank in, along with an obsessive love of movies. After performing in a seventh-grade play, a casting director spotted him and asked him to audition for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, a part he landed. “From that point on, I’ve wanted to be an actor for the rest of my life,” he says. Nearly every role that’s followed has fortuitously been with a celebrated director: Jason Reitman (Labor Day), Terry Gilliam (The Zero Theorem), Anderson part deux (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and now Kenneth Lonergan in the drama Manchester by the Sea.

“I knew something was fucked up when I read the script,” Hedges recalls, “and I mean it in the best possible way, because it was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read in my life. I talked to my dad and he said, ‘Oh, Kenneth is a good friend; we were in the same playwriting circle in New York in the ’90s.’ Then I watched You Can Count on Me and was like, This guy is unlike any other American filmmaker today.”

In Manchester, Hedges plays a 16-year-old who is taken into the custody of his wayward uncle (Casey Affleck) when his father (Kyle Chandler) suddenly dies. Praised for its performances, the film is already earning award buzz. “This character has gone through more than I’ve experienced,” Hedges says. “His life is a million times harder. One day I was having trouble and Kenny said, ‘Well, forget about the words. What matters to you?’ He is so specific in his writing but at the same time he’s willing to let go of it and everything that makes it special in order to find the truth.”

Next, Hedges is spending his summer break shooting Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson. Still, Hedges finds it difficult to adjust to the reality of being in the movie biz.

“I never really thought it would be possible to keep making films,” he says. “I thought I’d get to a point where it would just stop happening, and I still sort of feel that way. I don’t know if any actor feels like they are going to have a career forever, unless they’re a movie star.” Kid, join the club.

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