NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 02: Beanie Feldstein attends the IFP’s 29th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on December 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP)
  • Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2020: Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart”

When Beanie Feldstein played Saoirse Ronan’s best friend in Greta Gerwig’sLady Bird, some may have figured it was a one-off for Jonah Hill’s overachieving younger sister.But BooksmartCate Blanchett and Emma Thompson.And belying the assumption that she has been clinging to the coattails of her famous brother, the truth is she’s been acting long before him. Was there ever any sibling rivalry? We asked her at her HFPA press conference. “We’ve never competed. We’re too obsessed with each other, and in fact, we’re super, super, super close. And even though he had a jumpstart on me, there was never any competition. I admire him, I think he’s a genius, he’s my favorite person. What a gift that we both are in the arts. There’s not an ounce of competition between us. There’s a lot of admiration actually.”And to prove there was never any coattails she revealed that as early as five she was doing musical theater whereas Jonah didn’t start acting until he was twenty. Throughout her life she’s been involved with community theater, children’s theater, school theater, and in fact her dream has always been to be on Broadway, a dream she realized last year when she acted with Bette Midler in the Broadway smash revival of Hello Dolly!What was that experience like? “Oh my God. I could talk about Bette Midler for 20 hours, let alone 20 minutes. The thing that impressed me most was that she never sits down. She is always doing something, looking at our lines, talking to other actors, talking to the director. Even though she’s in her seventies she missed only one performance and that was on doctors’ orders. She’s the most giving incredible spirit I’ve ever known.” Despite not looking to a film career, her role in Booksmart actually came to her three years ago. The script has been around since 2009. The world wasn’t quite ready then for a movie that celebrates smart women and their friendship then. In fact, the role she read for three years ago is no longer in the film, which gives you an idea of how much the script morphed and changed in ten years.So when she got a call from her agent saying Olivia Wilde wanted to have lunch with her she was perplexed. They were both in New York at the time, Olivia doing press and Beanie,So they agreed to meet in Times Square. They talked for a long time. “She told me about her vision for the film, and I was so enthralled, and then when she told me, I want you to play Molly, I was like, what? Yes! I was truly in shock because I had earlier read for a completely different character. Believe me, I was really touched and deeply excited, I never anticipated being in a film that I love so, so much.”In case you’re wondering, the name Beanie comes from Elizabeth, her given name. Her caretaker started calling her Elizabeanie when she was a month old, and Jonah and her other brother Jordan did the same. Eventually, it became Beanie. And it just stuck. She and fellow nominee Ben Platt have known each other for years. They rekindled their friendship when he was doing Dear Evan Hansen and she Hello Dolly on Broadway. They’ll probably do the same at the Golden Globes.