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Most of us were first introduced to Lucas Hedges in his breakout performance in Manchester By The Sea, but the young actor from New York City was already an accomplished actor by the time he was nominated for an Academy Award in Kenneth Longeran's 2016 emotional gut punch.
In fact, Lucas Hedges has had quite a life, both leading up to Manchester By The Sea and after he became one of the most well regarded young actors in Hollywood. Since he was first featured in Dan In Real Life (which was directed by his father, Peter Hedges), the 23-year-old has worked with everyone from Wes Anderson to Greta Gerwig and a few other notable directors in between. The thing about Hedges is that even though you may think you haven't heard of him, you've seen in some of the most prolific movies of the past five years. Let's take a look at how he got there.
He Is The Son Of Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter Peter Hedges
Long before Lucas Hedges was popping up in critically acclaimed indies and being nominated for major awards, his father, Peter Hedges, was making quite a name for himself in his own right. You might not have heard of Peter Hedges before, but you have certainly seen one of his well regarded films or at least heard of them.
The elder Hedges got his start in Hollywood when he wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which was based off his 1991 debut novel of the same name. The 1993 drama was nominated for numerous awards, including Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Arnie.
Peter Hedges would go on to be nominated for an Oscar of his own for his screenplay of the 2002 romantic comedy About A Boy. Over the years, Hedges would continue to write and direct several pictures, including the 2018 family drama Ben Is Back, which starred his son, Lucas as a recovering teenage drug addict upon his return from rehab.
Hedges Was Nominated For His Breakout Role In Manchester By The Sea
Lucas Hedges would follow in his father's footsteps and earn an Oscar nomination of his own for his portrayal of Patrick Chandler, 16-year-old, who upon the sudden death of his father falls under the care of his broken uncle, Lee Chandler, played by Casey Affleck. Throughout this sob fest, Patrick and Lee are forced to overcome traumatic moments from their past as they learn to cope with the loss of the one man who held their lives together.
Hedges, who had a few credits to his name at this point in his career, acted well beyond his years when he played the shy, confused, and grieving teenage boy who just wants to find some level of normalcy in his shattered world all while guiding his uncle through old memories from an incident that would bring any parent down to their knees in tears.
How A Middle-School Play Earned Lucas Hedges A Role In A Wes Anderson Movie
Lucas Hedges first broke out on the scene for his role of Redford, the de facto leader of the Khaki Scouts in Wes Anderson's 2012 coming of age story Moonrise Kingdom. Hedges, who had only been in one movie up to that point (his father's Dan In Real Life) didn't go through the conventional casting process to earn his spot in a Wes Anderson film though.
In a 2017 profile with Huff Post, the actor revealed that his performance in a seventh-grade production of Nicholas Nickleby caught the eye of a casting director who would then help him secure his spot in Moonrise Kingdom. Hedges also told the Washington Post that he started acting his middle school's productions because he felt like the kids acting were on some grand adventure and he wanted to be a part of it.
This wasn't the last time Hedges would be cast in a Wes Anderson movie as he later appeared in The Grand Budapest Hotel as a pump attendant.
Hedges Is An Ally To The LGBTQ Community
Two of Lucas Hedges' most prominent roles came in Lady Bird and Boy Erased, in which he portrayed a homosexual teenager coming to terms with his sexuality in both films. In an interview with Vulture, Hedges revealed that he felt a connection to both of those characters as the roles awakened the actor to the way he felt as a teenager, when he didn't quite feel like if he was straight or gay:
I felt ashamed that I wasn't 100 percent, because it was clear that one side of sexuality presents issues, and the other doesn't as much. I recognize myself as existing on that spectrum: Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual.
When later asked by The Advocate if he saw himself as an ally or a part of the LGBTQ community, Hedges explained that he was more of an ally, stating:
I'm hesitant at the same time to suddenly lump myself in with [the LGBTQ] community because… I don't feel as though I've been challenged in the same ways that members of the LGBTQ community have been in their lives.
Beanie Feldstein Introduced Hedges To Mid-90s Director Jonah Hill
After wowing audiences in Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Boy Erased, Hedges showed up as a completely different character in Jonah Hill's skateboarding throwback Mid90s in 2018. In Hill's directorial debut, Hedges plays Ian, the stone cold older brother of main character Stevie (Sunny Suljic) who ends up being more complicated than anyone expected.
How Hedges got the role is a pretty interesting story that makes Hollywood look like an even smaller circle of relationships. His Lady Bird co-star Beanie Feldstein just so happens to be Jonah Hill's younger sister, and introduced the two while she and Hedges were filming Lady Bird, according to a report in the The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
Lucas Hedges Made His Broadway Debut In 2018
Two years after being nominated for his role in Manchester By The Sea, Lucas Hedges reunited with the film's director, Kenneth Lonergan, for the 2018 Broadway revival of Lonergan's 2000 play The Waverly Gallery.
The memory play has been described by Playbill as being a story about a 24-year-old by the name of Daniel (Hedges), whose grandmother, who just so happens to be the owner of an art gallery, is battling Alzheimer's disease. The production would go on to take home two Tony Awards in 2019, including best revival of a play.
He Has Movies And TV Series Coming Up
There's no rest for the weary as Lucas Hedges continues to bring his talents to a number of upcoming projects. First on Hedge's list of roles includes that of Malcolm Price in French Exit, a surreal comedy in which he will share the screen with Michelle Pfeiffer as Frances Price, a penniless widow who movies to Paris with her son (Hedges), and her cat, who just happens to be her reincarnated husband (Tracy Letts).
Next, Hedges is slated to star alongside Meryl Streep in Steven Soderbergh's comedy about an author who sets off on a trip with her friends and nephew in an attempt to come to terms with her past. And finally, the young actor is attached to B.J. Novak's FX anthology series, Platform.
As you can see, this isn't the last we've heard of Lucas Hedges. This is just the beginning.