In Manchester by the Sea, Lucas Hedges plays Patrick, an angsty teenager struggling to come to terms with the death of his father. His performance in the Kenneth Lonergan film received rave reviews, and earned the 20-year-old a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at tonight’s 89th Academy Awards.
Read on to learn more about Lucas Hedges.
1. His Father Wrote ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’
Hedges recently told Vanity Fair that he hopes he’ll get the opportunity to meet Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars. Lucas’ father, screenwriter Peter Hedges, wrote What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which earned DiCaprio a nomination for best supporting actor when he was the same age as Lucas.
After What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Peter Hedges went on to receive an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for About a Boy. He also co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed film Dan in Real Life. In a January interview with People, Lucas said that once he got the call he’d received an Oscar nom, he went straight to his parents. “I was just lying in bed when I found out. I jumped out of bed screaming, ‘Mom, Dad I was nominated!’” Lucas added on, “My dad hopped out of the shower and put some clothes on soaking wet and just started crying. He was nominated for an Academy Award about 10 years ago, too, so I’m the second generation. It’s awesome.”
Though the two are clearly close, Hedges doesn’t see working with his father as something that will happen in the near future. He jokingly tells WWD, “Getting directions from my dad ust seems so nauseating.”
2. He Is Currently Acting in an Off-Broadway Play
Hedges is making his New York theater debut in a play called Yen, a play about two teenage boys living alone in suburban London.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, the young actor admitted that the show can be grueling and that delivering a solid performance night after night is no easy task. “It is very exhausting . . . I find that the nights that I’m most there and most present inside of [the role] are the most exhilarating and the least exhausting, and the nights where I can’t fully connect with it are the most tiring nights, because I’m trying so hard to turn it into something.” Hedges added on, “I feel like every week I experience myself almost sinking one layer deeper into the text.”
Lucas has been juggling Yen with awards season, and tells Vanity Fair, “My life has been so weird since Manchester came out at Sundance, which was over a year ago… I feel like I have entered into this strange little bubble in my mind where I don’t know if I have been experiencing reality as it’s meant to be experienced for over a year, and I think doing this play on top of that is just another layer of complication. I am very excited for the Oscars, but I am also very excited for when all of this is over—because I’ll be able to actually take it in. Because I don’t know how to take any of this in right now.” He added on that he’s grateful for Yen because it’s given him something to focus on. “…I feel like the fact that I have a job, and back at home I’m working all day, every day, allows me not to become obsessed with these shows, and these events, and for my ego to start going crazy.”
3. He’s on Leave From North Carolina School of the Arts
Lucas attends his father’s alma matter, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, but is taking his sophomore year off.
He tells Vanity Fair that once he finishes Yen, he wants to visit his friends at school. Whether or not he’ll go back is still up in the air. “I would like to go back to school; I don’t know if I’d go back to school for next year—and if I did go back to school I would probably switch from a conservatory to a liberal-arts college.”
When he isn’t busy in rehearsal or attending film festivals, Hedges enjoys hanging out with his closest friends and playing music. He tells WWD, “I’m teaching myself how to play the banjo right now. It is very North Carolina.”
4. He Is the 8th Youngest Person to Ever Be Nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor
Hedges is the eighth-youngest person to receive a nomination for best supporting actor, and if he wins, he will become the youngest-ever winner in that category.
Though Manchester by the Sea is his biggest role to date, he has appeared in a number of other movies. Lucas made his film debut as an extra in his father’s film Dan in Real Life, and starred in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom as Redford. Lucas also appeared in Arthur Newman, Labor Day, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger.
5. He Is Set to Appear in Greta Gerwig’s Directorial Debut
The next time we can catch Lucas on the big screen will be in Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird, which follows “The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.”
Saoirse Ronan plays the lead in the film, and is accompanied by Hedges, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Laura Marano, Odeya Rush, Beanie Fieldstein, and a number of other renowned actors. Principal photography for the film began on August 30, 2016.
Speaking with Vulture, Lucas said, “I don’t know what’s in store for me, but I know that I want to create work, and I want to create an environment where I can bring in my favorite people and collaborate with them, and do something that is so much weirder and so different from what you’d see in commercial film.”