Brie Larson. Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA.
  • Golden Globe Awards

Brie Larson

Brie Larson does not know another life except the one called show business. The 26-year-old actress, who was raised in Sacramento and Los Angeles, has been in entertainment for 20 years. She has appeared in sitcoms like Raising Dad and prestigious cable shows like the United States of Tara, she has starred in Indie movies like Short Term 12 and even tried her hand – or rather her voice – as a pop star with an album called Finally Out of P.E. Although she decided at six that she wanted to be an actor, she still surprises herself with her job of choice because she was a painfully shy little girl, frightened of any social situations and awkward when there were a lot of people around. She only blossomed in one setting – on stage: “I could do this whole song and dance routine, but if my parents had someone over I would hide in the bedroom.”She has clearly overcome that shyness: watching her navigate the treacherous currents of award season, one would never guess that she would hide from anything or that there is any trepidation of being the belle of the ball. She shines when she enters a room, seemingly at ease with the politicking that inevitably comes with awards campaigns.It is her portrayal of “Ma” in the psychological thriller Room that has put her here. Larson plays a woman imprisoned by a sex offender who fathered the now 5-year-old son whom she bore in captivity. She now often jokes that she has probably spent more time talking about Room than the 49 days she was actually filming it. It wasn’t until she decided to take more control of her career that she found the parts that would prepare her for her most difficult role to date. “This movie has meant a lot to me and it’s the most work I have ever put into anything, which does give you this little sense of butterflies in your stomach. This was such a labor of love with so many people that I love. I think there’s a beautiful thing that happens with film where I made the choice to be vulnerable because I believe that vulnerability is one of the most brave and courageous things a person can do. I think that when you watch a person be vulnerable, it gives you the permission to be vulnerable yourself. “Brie Larson has the uncanny ability to stand out, even when she is cast as ‘the girl’ in films dominated by boys or actresses more famous than her. She proved that in 21 Jump Street, Rampart, Greenberg and in another Golden Globe nominated film, Trainwreck. Judd Apatow, her director in that comedy, describes her talent. “She’s great at playing complex emotions, and she’s really, really funny. I first noticed her in United States of Tara, where she played the rebellious daughter of Toni Collette’s character. What she is able to do is a very rare combination of humor and complexity.”She does not describe herself as a typical method actor but admits that her preparation for Room was exhausting. She delved into the subject of that kind of traumatic experience with an expert at USC. And she changed her appearance to resemble a woman who hasn’t seen sunlight in 7 years. It worked. In the film she is pale and her hair is lifeless and dull. Not much movie makeup needed.Right now she is experiencing the opposite: she is currently filming Kong: Skull Island, her first Hollywood blockbuster in which she has a starring role in Hawaii. Healthy tan included.Elisabeth Sereda