Meet the 18-year-old actor making waves with her stellar performance in Ryan Murphy’s Impeachment: American Crime Story.

Emma Malouff
Emma Malouff

If you are looking to craft a list of those actors who are up next, sure to take Hollywood by storm, Emma Malouff should be at the top of it. After landing a breakout role in Ryan Murphy’s gripping Impeachment: American Crime Story, the 18-year-old actor on the rise firmly cemented herself as one sure to be booked and busy from here on out. And, with the talent having most recently earned a place in the upcoming 1883 series, in which she is set to portray the character of Mary Abel Dutton, that fact becomes all the more clear.

When discussing her most recent role, Emma explained, “Acting on Impeachment and having the chance to work with both Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson was an absolute ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ moment! The whole cast and crew were beyond phenomenal and made my experience all the more memorable. This show casts a new light on a narrative everybody thinks they may know, and I hope that audiences walk away with empathy and a broader perspective for the women of this story.”

Ahead of the release of the sure-to-be-hit series, 1883, the actor took some time to chat to Wonderland about her time spent working on Impeachment: American Crime Story and her dream collaborators. Head below to read our interview with Emma Malouff…

Hey Emma, how are you? How has 2021 been for you?
Hey! Thank you so much for asking, and thank you for having me! 2021 was definitely one of my most exciting and challenging years yet. At the beginning of the year, I began filming on Ryan Murphy’s incredible Impeachment: American Crime Story, where I play Allison Tripp, the daughter of Linda Tripp portrayed by the brilliant Sarah Paulson, turned 18, moved out and in with roommates, started paying some bills and learned more about myself and who I am. Later in the year, I booked the role of Mary Abel Dutton, niece to Margaret and James Dutton, played by Faith Hill and Tim Mcgraw in Taylor Sheridan’s breathtaking 1883. When glancing back on this past year, my heart is filled with so much gratitude for everything and everyone that has helped me grow as both an actress and individual. There were definitely a fair amount of tears, questions, growing pains, and discomfort, but also so many laughs, smiles, and memories, and experiences I will never forget.

Loads of people tried out some unusual skills in lockdown last year, did you try anything new?
Last year, during the lockdown, I had the opportunity to move back home to Austin for eight months to live with my family. My parents are pastors of City Reach Church – if you are ever in town, come and check us out! Like many businesses, churches, and organisations, we had to adapt and put everything online. I helped our kids ministry produce all of their online content by directing, writing, and editing the online experience for City Reach Kids. My friend taught me how to use the DaVinci Resolve editing software, and since I love every aspect of filmmaking, it was a challenge I really enjoyed. I wouldn’t consider myself an editing expert, but my knowledge and instincts for piecing cuts together, sound, lighting, and timing have definitely advanced. Working with DaVinci, I even learned how to key and colour greenscreen, and my dad, being the amazing dad that he is, set up a whole editing desk for me in my room, complete with a monitor and speakers. It was so cool.

How did you first get into acting, what sparked the interest?
Ever since I can remember, I have found myself drawn to acting and the beauty of filmmaking. From a young age, I would retreat into my imagination and create other worlds where I transformed myself into different characters I connected with from films and shows. I lived in a constant daydream, adventuring through magical lands and creating daring journeys on the playground at school and the quiet of my closet. I would make films on my mum’s iPad with my friends and run away to the imaginary worlds that swirled in my mind. For 12 years, I studied ballet while taking acting classes on the side. I chased the thrill that came with performing on stage, and finally, I realised that it was the acting side of ballet that I adored so much. So, I moved to Los Angeles for a pilot season at the age of 14 and never looked back.

And then you landed your breakout role in Ryan Murphy’s ACS, how did you get involved in it and what was it like working on the project?
I was fortunate enough to have had this project come across my path and the opportunity to audition for it. It was a crazy, exciting process that took eight months, but that’s show business for you. When I booked the role, it was a sweet sigh of relief and I could hardly wait to get started on production. Acting on Impeachment and having the chance to work with both Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson was an absolute ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ moment! The whole cast and crew were beyond phenomenal and made my experience all the more memorable. This show casts a new light on a narrative everybody thinks they may know, and I hope that audiences walk away with empathy and a broader perspective for the women of this story. It was an honour to step into Allison’s shoes, to truly empathise with her and play a part in the telling of this piece of history. My character, Allison Tripp, daughter of Linda Tripp, was my age when this event took place. To truly experience a sliver of what she may have felt, I had to ask myself, “how would I feel if my mum received death threats and every inch of her life criticised? How would I feel if my privacy and the privacy of my family was taken away in an instant?” I had to make those moments true for myself. I will never forget my time on Impeachment and the wonderful individuals that worked so hard to make it happen!

Emma Malouff on the sofa
Emma Malouff smiling
Emma Malouff on the sofa
Emma Malouff smiling

After this you signed on for 1883 the series, talk us through your mindset approaching the role and what do you want people to take away from it?
Yellowstone is honestly one of my favourite shows. When I first discovered it, my grandma and I binged all three seasons over just two days. We literally did nothing but sit, eat snacks, and watch; we were absolutely hooked! So, of course, when the opportunity for 1883 came about, I was ecstatic for the opportunity to be a part of Taylor Sheridan‘s world, even if it was just for the audition. Getting to inhabit Mary Abel Dutton for even just that one day was such a joy. And then when I found out I booked the role I could hardly contain my excitement!

1883 is the prequel and origin story of who we now know to be the Dutton family. Mary Abel is the niece of Margaret and James Dutton, who are portrayed by Faith Hill and Tim Mcgraw. They are truly two of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine people I have ever met which made everything that much more fun on set. Playing Mary Abel was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. She is a completely different person from who I am, living in a time filled with danger and adventure. I had the privilege of working with a dialect coach, incredible costume designers, hair and make-up artists, and so many other talented individuals who helped me bring Mary Abel to life. There was something so surreal about lacing up my corset, speaking with an accent, and embracing the beautiful scenery and sets that helped me ground myself into my character. There were certain scenes in which I had to dig deeper than ever before, and I am forever grateful for the challenge and growth that came from my time on this project. I met the most outstanding and talented individuals, and I will never forget the family and friends that I made. I am excited for audiences to experience this show and be transported into the world and lives of 1883.

Filming this series, did you face any challenges?
When I was in elementary school, Laura Ingalls Wilder was one of my favourite authors, and her Little House On The Prairie books were among my favourites. My school friends and I used to play Little House On The Prairieevery day at recess, reenacting all of the dramatic adventures the Ingalls family survived. I always wondered what it would be like to live in that time, and now, I have but the slightest glance into that world. One of the challenges I faced while filming 1883 was the balance between reality and fiction. There was a day where this was particularly difficult. I can’t go into too much detail, but on this specific day, there were a lot of guns, horses and tears. I had to dig so deep to experience the emotions and fear that Mary Abel was feeling that when we finished filming the scene, it was hard to stop crying. I had tapped into something I hadn’t reached before, and I think I just needed that time to release everything in order to come back to reality. I am so thankful to the amazing cast and crew who hugged me, cried with me, and comforted me in that moment. To have played a part in the telling of this breathtaking story was an experience I will never forget. I am excited for audiences to witness the dedication and hard work of the talented cast and crew behind this project. It was an honour to work alongside them and continue my growth as a performer.

Who would you love to work with in the industry?
Oh gosh, too many people to count! Greta Gerwig is someone I admire deeply. She is such a poetic storyteller who brings joy, life and authenticity to her projects. When I saw Little Women in theatres with my mum, we hugged and wept the whole film. Seriously, the house lights came on, the theatre employees were cleaning out the seats, and there we were, sobbing. I would count myself lucky to be part of the exciting and adventurous stories that filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Patty Jenkins, Jo Wright, and J.J Abrams are crafting. As for actors, Florence Pugh, Keira Knightly, Viola Davis, Téa Leoni, Emily Blunt are doing work that I absolutely admire. These lists could go on and on, but at the end of the day, I am just excited to work and tell great stories with great people!

What is next for you? What are you most excited for?
I am so excited for what the future holds! There are a couple of things in the works at the moment, but I am looking forward to what is coming next and to all of the adventures in store!

Dylan Perlot
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