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On the Rise: Alison Pill of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Spout August 11, 2010 at 8:07AM

Up and coming actress Alison Pill shares two things in common with Lindsay Lohan. Both starred alongside one another in the teen dud "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," and both ladies sport fiery red locks. But fortunately for Pill, that's where the similarities end. For starters Pill loathes Los Angeles, where Lohan resides. "I get honked at when I try to walk down the street!” Pill told the New York Observer. And unlike Lohan, Pill's career is on the rise, as evidenced by her hilarious supporting turn in Edgar Wright's hyped "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."
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Up and coming actress Alison Pill shares two things in common with Lindsay Lohan. Both starred alongside one another in the teen dud "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," and both ladies sport fiery red locks. But fortunately for Pill, that's where the similarities end. For starters Pill loathes Los Angeles, where Lohan resides. "I get honked at when I try to walk down the street!” Pill told the New York Observer. And unlike Lohan, Pill's career is on the rise, as evidenced by her hilarious supporting turn in Edgar Wright's hyped "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

Born in Toronto, it's fitting that Pill, 24, stars in the Toronto-set "Pilgrim" opposite fellow Torontonian Michael Cera. Pill made the move from Toronto to New York back in 2004 at the tender age of 17. She had been performing since since she was child and attended Canada's National Ballet School, but like most Canadian-bred actors (Cera included), a move to the U.S. was the only way to truly kick-start her burgeoning career. The gamble paid off.

Straight after landing south of the border, Pill landed an Off Broadway role in "None of the Above," while still enrolled in school. That gig was Pill's first taste of New York's thriving theater scene. Since then, she has kept coming back for more. Just two years after receiving accolades for her turn Off Broadway, Pill landed a Tony nomination for her role in "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" on The Great White Way.

"“There’s a waiflike thing to her, but she’s really fucking tough,” said playwright Warren Leight, in an interview with New York Magazine. “At a cold reading, she would go places another actor wouldn’t get to in six weeks of rehearsal. You watch her saying your words and think, ‘Wow, I must be Albee.’ She’s one of those once-in-a-decade talents."

Casting directors in Hollywood soon began to take notice. The same year that Pill appeared in "Drama Queen," she was cast as Katie Holmes' prissy sister in the indie hit "Pieces of April." Asked by New York Observer what it was like working with Lohan and Holmes she wryly said "You know, I’m just going to give you the ‘They’re both great.’ And, uh … both very sweet."

Pill continued her upward trajectory, appearing as Steve Carell's daughter in "Dan in Real Life," and in the Lars von Trier-scripted "Dear Wendy." In 2008 Pill starred in arguably her highest profile role to date, as Harvey Milk's campaign manager, Anne Kronenberg, in Gus Van Sant's Oscar-winning "Milk." She followed that up with a recurring role on the second season of HBO's "In Treatment," as a college student diagnosed with cancer.

Of all the dramatic turns she's taken on stage and screen at such a young age, Pill offered this: “I grew up a happy kid in Toronto. I’ve never suffered. I’ve never even had a real job! But I understand sadness and striving, and those two things tie into all the roles that I’ve played."

"Pilgrim" clearly marks a departure for Pill. Her role sets her loose as Scott Pilgrim's bitter ex, who wields the drum sticks in Pilgrim's band. “I was like, ‘I’m tired of doing big hard things, and I would like to do a big easy thing,’ ” she told New York Magazine. "Plus, I got to learn to play the drums."

Despite Pill's affinity for being stage bound, her film career shows no signs of slowing down. Next up for Pill is a supporting role in Woody Allen's next ensemble comedy, "Midnight in Paris," opposite Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams and Adrien Brody, and the comedy "Thicker," in which she'll appear alongside Guy Pearce and John Goodman. That's more than can be said for Lohan.

This article is related to: On the Rise