Month: August 2017

Breaking Big: Haley Lu Richardson heads from The Edge of Seventeen to Columbus

The 22-year-old actress gives a powerful, star-making performance as a small-town teen dreaming of bigger things

When first-time director Kogonada asked Haley Lu Richardson to star in Columbus, she had one big question: “Why me?”

“It turns out his wife had seen me in an episode of Law & Order,” Richardson says, laughing. “So I’m really grateful I did Law & Order!”

The 22-year-old actress made waves as Hailee Steinfeld’s longtime best friend in The Edge of Seventeen and as a teenage girl facing off against James McAvoy’s kidnapper in Split, but with Kogonada’s indie drama, she steps into the spotlight with her first major lead performance. And what a performance: Richardson stars as Casey, a recent high school grad in Columbus, Indiana — a real-life Midwestern mecca for modernist architecture. Casey’s developed her own love of architecture, but she can’t bring herself to pursue her dreams and abandon her addict mother, even at the urging of her new friend, the similarly lost Jin (John Cho). It’s a powerful, honest portrayal of the uncertainty that comes with being a young adult, and it’s that uncertainty that Richardson immediately identified with.

“I make dumb jokes and run around screaming, and Casey’s much more still and thoughtful,” Richardson says. “But I connected to that whole idea of where I am in life and trying to figure out what’s next.”

Columbus is the first film from Kogonada, who’s best known for his clever, inventive video essays about filmmaking, and his debut feature is a quiet, meditative look at how art can affect our lives — bolstered by thoughtful, often wordless performances by Cho and Richardson.

“We didn’t do much rehearsal,” Richardson says. “Actually, we didn’t do any rehearsal. I think we read through the script once — me, Kogonada, and John. But other than that, any time we met to rehearse, it wasn’t an actual rehearsal. It was just sitting there, figuring out who Casey was and what was going on beneath the surface in all of these scenes. We talked about the dynamic of her and her mom. Everything she does and everything that holds her back and everything that has forced her to grow up so quickly is because of that relationship with her mom and her childhood. That relationship kind of shapes who she is.”

The film also operates as a love letter of sorts to Columbus itself, as Casey shows Jin around her hometown and introduces him to some of her favorite buildings by architecture legends like Eero Saarinen or I.M. Pei.

“When you’re in Columbus, and you see that architecture, I don’t know how you couldn’t appreciate it and want to know about it,” she says. “You drive from Indianapolis to Columbus, and you go through all these cornfields and all this open farmland to then get to the middle of nowhere, where there’s this little pocket of modern architecture. And it’s just kind of nuts. It’s just so special that it’s so unexpected, but there’s so much history there.”

Richardson started her performing career in dance, not acting, but at the age of 16, after starting her junior year in high school, she put together a presentation trying to convince her parents to let her move from Arizona to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. “Luckily, my parents are kind of kooky and understood that and took that chance,” she says. Since then, she’s done comedy, twisty thrillers, and now, a moving indie drama. Up next, she’ll star as flapper icon Louise Brooks in the period drama The Chaperone.

“Every character I get into, I get to learn about a new place, a new person, a new life situation,” she says. “I feel like it makes me more empathetic, just as a human.”


The Chaperone – On Set

I have added 14 photos of Haley Lu on the set of The Chaperone in New York on august 8, 2017.

Haley Lu Richardson Joins Elizabeth McGovern’s PBS Movie ‘The Chaperone’

“Split” star Haley Lu Richardson has joined Elizabeth McGovern in on the period drama “The Chaperone” — the first film from PBS Masterpiece.

Principal photography has started, producers announced Tuesday. “The Chaperone,” based on Laura Moriarty’s best-selling novel, is scripted by Julian Fellowes, directed by Michael Engler, and will air on PBS stations nationwide after its initial theatrical run.

McGovern, who is also a producer, optioned the novel and worked with Fellowes to adapt it for the big screen. McGovern portrays a woman whose life is changed forever when she chaperones a young and soon to be famous Louise Brooks — played by Richardson — to New York in the early 1920s.

Brooks, an icon of the 1920s for popularizing the bob haircut, would go on to star in 25 films, including “Pandora’s Box,” “Diary of a Lost Girl,” and “Miss Europe” before retiring in 1938.

Other cast members include Victoria Hill, Campbell Scott (“House of Cards”), Geza Rohrig, Blythe Danner and Miranda Otto. The film is produced by PBS Masterpiece in association with Rose Pictures, Hamilton Entertainment and Anonymous Content.

The project was unveiled in May just prior to the start of the Cannes Film Festival, where Arclight Films launched international sales.

Besides McGovern, producers on the project are Victoria Hill, Greg Clark, Luca Scalisi, Rose Ganguzza, Kelly Carmichael, and Gary Hamilton. Executive producers include Rebecca Eaton, Andrew Mann, Ying Ye, Mike Gabrawy, Ruzanna Keyegan, Simon Curtis, Eli Selden, Adam Shulman and Julian Fellowes.

Richardson also starred in “The Edge of Seventeen” with Hailee Steinfeld. McGovern played Lady Grantham in the six seasons of “Downton Abbey,” and was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe. The series aired on PBS in the U.S.