In the first leading role of her career, Brie Larson has been getting rave reviews for playing a teacher working with troubled kids in writer-director Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12. Cinedigm picked up distribution at this year’s South by Southwest festival, where the film won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards, and Larson most recently earned a Gotham Award nomination for best actress. Although Larson also appears in two higher-profile films of the season—Don Jon and The Spectacular Now—it’s her performance in this tiny indie that has everyone talking.
AwardsLine: Did you initially read the script for Short Term 12 with the idea that you would play Grace?
Brie Larson: I didn’t know what the role was or what the movie was about. I just couldn’t believe that what I was reading was a script. I kept thinking that I was reading some sort of transcript. It felt so honest and natural. I had never read dialogue that was so revealing and simple and complicated with no manipulation. I was totally intimidated by the material. It’s never been easy for me to book any job so I couldn’t imagine that something this rich would be easy for me. I tried to apply for a bunch of volunteer jobs before and learn as much as possible so I could have an in-depth, intelligent conversation with Destin about (the role). I wanted to be viewed as a collaborator and someone who was interested in the subject. I didn’t tell him that I had been rejected by all the volunteer jobs. At the end of a very short conversation—20 minutes or something—he asked if I would do it. I was totally and completely shocked. I hadn’t booked a job before where I haven’t had to audition multiple times. I knew at some point that he had seen my reel, but I don’t even know what’s on that thing. But I know there were certain scenes where he thought, “Why did she put this on her reel? She’s not even in this.” Then he’d rewind it and watch it again and see that it was me. The fact that I blend into whatever character I’m playing was interesting to him, that there wasn’t some sort of set thing that I do every single time. (more…)