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2011’s Breakthrough Performances: Indiewire’s Interviews with the Gotham Nominees

2011's Breakthrough Performances: Indiewire's Interviews with the Gotham Nominees

Every year, the Gotham Awards nominate five up-and-coming actors for their breakthrough performances from the year’s indie films.  Here are Indiewire’s interviews with all five nominees, each of which were previously published as part of our FUTURES column for hot new talent.

Stay with Indiewire to see who wins the award on November 28.

Felicity Jones, “Like Crazy

On making a film that went on to win the Jury Award at this year’s Sundance:  “It’s been very surreal. Especially making something like “Like Crazy” which was a very small independent film made for very little money. It’s been absolutely incredible this journey that this film that had. It’s obviously very exciting.”

Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

On juggling school with acting:  “You know, when you go to NYU and you’re a theater student, you have conservatory and you have academics. So already you’re a balancing an intense and crazy schedule with academic classes. So you kind of already figure out how to multi-task. The only thing that sucks is that NYU isn’t allowing me to work while being in school so I have to actually take time off when I want to work. That’s what’s frustrating. I wish there was a way to work it out, but there isn’t.”

Harmony Santana, “Gun Hill Road”

On how she got the part:  “I was working on a parade to promote AIDS Awareness. I was working in the booth and I went out for a little break. Rashaad was going around passing fliers and he saw me and handed me a flier. He explained what he was looking for. I told him I wanted to audition. I went in, auditioned, he called me for a second read and I got the part.”

Shaileene Woodley, “The Descendents”

On working with George Clooney, “When I first booked the role, I didn’t think of it as, “Wow, I get to work with ‘star’ George Clooney.” I looked at it as, “Wow, I get to work with an incredible actor.” And then the first time I met him at the table read, I got nervous. My heart started pounding, I started sweating. But then he walked in and said something like, “Hey sweetie,” and immediately my nerve factor went away. It was just about enjoying every moment.”

Jacob Wysocki, “Terri”

On the ways that dramatic acting creeps into his performances:  “To be honest, I’ve never seen myself as a dramatic actor. I’ve always seen myself as a comedian. I did some stuff on “Huge” that was a little more serious but it was mostly a comedic role. When I read the script for “Terri,” I just felt so connected to the character. But that was just the most daunting task of the whole thing: Convincing myself and being confident in myself that I could do this. And I think that’s all that it took. Because if you keep telling yourself, “No, you’re not good at this,” you’re never going to be good at it. You probably won’t even take the chance. But I was really willing to take this chance and do it right.”

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