EXCLUSIVE: Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Maria Semples’ Where’d You Go Bernadette has finally found his Bee, the daughter to the character Bernadette, portrayed by Cate Blanchett. Emma Nelson was plucked out of 500 other young women who auditioned for the role and makes her feature film debut for the role of a teenaged daughter who is determined to find her Mom, an architect-turned-recluse who goes missing just prior to a family vacation.

The cast also includes Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer and Troian Bellisario. Annapurna Pictures plans a March 22, 2019 release.

The filmmakers were looking for the film’s Bee for awhile. They began their search in Austin, TX (Linklater’s home
state) with casting director Vicky Boone. They found the eight-grader in Chicago. We were told that Nelson landed the coveted role after auditioning a couple of times and then being asked to read with Blanchett and Crudup.

“There are so many talented actors in her age range, and we saw hundreds of them for the role of Bee, but several things ultimately swayed me toward Emma,” said Linklater. “In addition to her intelligence and utter natural quality, I was most impressed with her composure, confidence and unflappability. Even though this was her first movie role, she was unintimidated.”

Nelson was previously in a lead role in Marc Bruni’s (pre-) Broadway production of Trevor! The Musical. Bruni is known for Beautiful-The Carol King Musical.

We understand that Nelson has kept her role under wraps, with only her family (and crew) aware that she was in a Linklater film and her friends not understanding why she was on a leave of absence from school. The director has a great eye for finding talent, btw, as has been demonstrated by his past films like Dazed and Confused (which really helped to launch Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich and Ben Affleck) and Boyhood (Ellar Coltrane).

Annapurna is producing the satirical film alongside Ginger Sledge and Color Force’s Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.

Nelson is repped by Tim Weissman at Buchwald, Margot Menzel at Primary Wave Entertainment, Joe Borrasso & Lisa Morgan at Management by Morgan and Brooke Tonneman at Big Mouth Talent.