Seeming even younger than her 18 years, Julia Garner, the lead in Rebecca Thomas‘ debut feature “Electrick Children” (reviewed here) delivers one of those performances that marks a new star in the ascendant. Juggling upcoming roles and sweetly new to the world of press junkets and promotion, we spoke briefly with Garner at the Berlin Film Festival where the film played to a very warm reception on the opening night of the Generation Section.
The movie will continue to earn buzz as it rolls into SXSW next month in Austin. The offbeat story follows a teenage girl who believes she has become pregnant via an immaculate conception, and journeys with her brother to Las Vegas where believes she will find the person responsible for making it happen. Watch the trailer for the film below (via Quiet Earth).
What attracted you to the project?
Well the thing is is that I audition — I audition a lot. I really liked the script and it was a really interesting story and I was just curious how I would act it. So I did a self-taping on a Monday during the summer and I got the job by Wednesday, and then Sunday I flew out to LA and by Tuesday we’d already started shooting.
So not a long prep time.
No, and I did as much prepping as I could, as much research as I could. I was focusing more on the emotional experience that she was going through rather than, you know, the Mormons and stuff. The movie is not really about that, it’s about a girl who has a belief and it’s about people trying to find something, searching for something, I think.
One of your other feature appearances was in “Martha, Marcy, May Marlene.” Obviously your role here is a lot bigger, but how did your experiences on those two films compare?
I think what’s really similar is that everyone that was involved in those two projects is very young, and the director’s young, so everyone’s just kind of fresh… But this was my first lead. Yeah, and I’m not lying, I loved everyone in this cast, crew, everyone. I would love to work with everyone again.
You have a bunch of completed and in-production movies on your plate. Which of those is freshest in your mind?
You know what’s so funny? A lot of times actors don’t know what’s coming up next. I have a couple of movies that are in post-production and they’re editing now. I have a tiny part in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and I’m in a movie called “Unicorns” as well, and this movie called “HairBrained.” And “Twylight Zones.”
I think that’s the one that might come out soonest.
Yeah that’s coming out the soonest. I have a really small role in that too. I’m in the dream sequence so it’s tiny.
So tell me a little bit more about your role in “HairBrained”?
I play the lead’s girlfriend in the movie. He’s a boy who’s in college and very young. He’s like 15, 14, so he’s very young and he’s in school and he doesn’t really know what’s going on. I play younger than I am.
And how about “Unicorns”?
It’s about a girl who ends up being in a relationship with this guy and they run away, they take a road trip and I play her best friend who is a closeted lesbian and she’s in love with her best friend.
Was it the role in ‘Martha Marcy’ that people noticed, that got you offers and auditions?
Yeah. That was my first feature. I’ve been only acting for two years now and I started when I was 16, now I’m 18. When I shot Martha I was 16. So the casting director who cast me in Martha found me at an open casting call for a different thing. So it slowly stepped into me landing the role.
Now that things are heating up for you, is there anyone whose career you particularly admire?
Um, hm. Like any actor that I admire? Yeah, I think Phillip Seymour Hoffman has had a really cool career. And he’s a great actor too. Also he has a very long career, he ages nicely. He plays different people. It’s not like he’s typecast, it’s different every time. And he nails it.
So what’s next for you, what are you shooting?
I have three projects that are in the running. And then I have another project that I’m doing but I can’t say for now. So things are cooking.
With all that activity, things are probably going to change for you soon. Where you would ideally see yourself in a few years time?
I don’t think so much about the future or the past, I’m one of those girls that just thinks about now, the moment. But, just doing the same thing, I hope, because It’s a very happy time in my life and I love it and hopefully I’ll be making movies still.