The coil-haired poster girl of indie cinema.
Taken from 10th Birthday Issue of Wonderland
All clothing by SAINT LAURENT BY HEDI SLIMANE
Julia Garner is excited about life. Having started acting for fun aged 14 (“You know, to overcome my shyness”), it was a year later that Garner turned her hobby into a career. “When I actually realised that acting could be a profession, I wanted to try it,” says Garner in her sweeterthan-syrup American drawl. “I thought, ‘OK, I’ll try it’. My mother was an actress 30 years ago in the 80s, so she was like, ‘Are you sure? It’s a really hard profession, you know! See if you get good feedback on your auditions and if not, don’t do it. Take it one step at a time’. Obviously, she didn’t want me to waste my time.”
Having starred in the likes of 2012 cult drama Electrick Children (where she played a Mormon) and recent release Grandma, along with a lead role in We Are What We Are (that received a ten minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival), it’s safe to say Garner’s time has been well spent. A year on from that conversation with her mother, Garner was working with a film student at Columbia Film School who she’d been introduced to by her acting teacher. The student’s girlfriend was interning at a casting office, so thanks to her, Garner caught wind of an open call for the American version of Skins. “There were 1,500 kids in New York and they were looking in LA and Canada too,” recalls Garner. “I got all the way to the end, but didn’t get the part. But that casting director also cast Martha Marcy May Marlene, my first movie at the age of 16.” The indie film directed and produced by Sean Dirkin – that chronicles the paranoia and delusions of a woman who returns to her family from a mountain cult – set the tone for Garner’s roles to follow.
In last August’s road trip comedy-drama Grandma, she stars alongside Tea With Mussolini and I Heart Huckabees star Lily Tomlin. “It was wonderful working with her,” Garner enthuses. “Just watching her work, watching her on the monitor, I learnt how engaged she is with everything. She’s very focussed and she acknowledges everything and everyone around her.”
So does Garner have her sights on a big budget film, or is she keen to continue her path of independence? “Eventually, I would like to work on both but I think, for now, the indie films are the ones with the best scripts. I like anything with a good story. I mean, if you have a studio film with better writing and an indie film with poor writing, I would pick the studio film. But I only do things with stories that interest me. If it’s bad writing, I’m just not going to go for it.”
Photography: Chad Moore
Fashion: Danielle Emerson
Words: Brooke McCord