Stars Of Sundance: Thomasin McKenzie

Stars Of Sundance: Thomasin McKenzie

A breakout at this past Sundance, the young actress delivers a star-worthy performance in 'Leave No Trace.'

A breakout at this past Sundance, the young actress delivers a star-worthy performance in 'Leave No Trace.'

Photography: Sharif Hamza

Styling: Andrew Mukamal

Text: AJ Longabaugh

This interview appears in the pages of V113, The Music Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

Seventeen-year-old actress Thomasin McKenzie has quickly made a name for herself with her star-worthy performance in director Debra Granik’s (of Winter’s Bone) new film, Leave No Trace. The movie follows a father whose struggle with PTSD is so severe, he takes himself and his daughter off the grid to live in a state park outside Portland, Oregon. “[My character] Tom is extremely innocent and pure, and she has never been exposed to social media,” McKenzie says. “So, it was kind of tricky for me to basically learn what life is like without those things.”

But, having grown up in “the bush” of New Zealand, McKenzie does find a natural connection between the two almost completely untouched environments. “[Tom] is obsessed with collecting mushrooms and my last trail walk before leaving to film in America, I found this massive mushroom, and it was the first time I’d seen a wild mushroom in New Zealand. I took that as the best possible sign heading into a project that I didn’t realize would be this successful,” she says.

Granik is often credited with launching Jennifer Lawrence’s insanely successful career, and plenty of press regarding McKenzie’s performance has alluded to Lawrence. “I was actually worried that the main question everyone at the festival would be asking was, ‘How does it feel being called the next Jennifer Lawrence?’ But I didn’t get that at all.” Humble and mature, the actress continues, “I would love to be like Jennifer; she’s incredible and I think she’s an amazing actress. But we are also two very different people who have different acting styles.” What McKenzie admires most in Leave No Trace is that “it’s about the goodness in people, rather than a clear antagonist and protagonist. There honestly isn’t a wrong-intentioned character.”

THOMASIN WEARS DRESS ALEXANDER WANG

Credits: MAKEUP CIARA O’SHEA (LGA) HAIR RUBI JONES (JULIAN WATSON) PRODUCER ASHLEY HERSON LOCAL PRODUCER KATE HOLLAND DIGITAL TECHNICIAN CASEY RICHARDSON PHOTO ASSISTANTS TIM HOFFMAN, SHEN WILLIAMS-COHEN STYLIST ASSISTANT JERMAINE DALEY HAIR ASSISTANT MEGAN GORLEY PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS TOM O’MEARA, RIQUE CARROLL RETOUCHING HEMPSTEAD MAY LOCATION PARK CITY PEAKS HOTEL

UP NEXT

Selena Gomez's "Back To You" Video Has Arrived