Australian actress Angourie Rice is on the rise at just 16-years-old. The actress stars in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and another big summer movie – Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. She plays Betty Brant in comic book movie.
Rice lives in Melbourne and her parents are Jeremy and Kate Rice. She has a sister, Kalliope.
She made her film debut in 2013, starring in These Final Hours. Her breakthrough tole came in Shane Black’s 2016 crime movie The Nice Guys, where she got to act alongside Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.
Here’s what you need to know about Rice and her role in Homecoming.
1. Rice Isn’t Playing Gwen Stacy in ‘Homecoming,’ but Betty Brant
Rice’s casting in Homecoming was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter in July 2016. That immediately sparked rumors that she might be playing Gwen Stacy. But, much like the rumors about Zendaya playing Mary Jane Watson, that turned out to be false.
In early June, tid-bits of Homecoming‘s novelization leaked, revealing that Rice is really playing Betty Brant in the film. The character is best friends with Liz Allan (Laura Harrier), who turns out to be the daughter of the villain Adrian Toomes/Vulture (Michael Keaton).
In a July interview with news.com.au, Rice said she couldn’t reveal much about her role.
“I can say that when we filmed it was very hot, humid, it was summer in Georgia,” Rice said. “And I made some great friends … and that’s about it.”
2. Betty Brant Has Been in ‘Spider-Man’ Comics Since 1963 & Was Previously Played by Elizabeth Banks
Betty Brant might not be one of the most famous characters in the Spider-Man universe, but she is among the oldest. She made her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #4, published in 1963.
Her role in the film is different than the comics though. In the comics, she’s J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary at the Daily Bugle. She also blamed Spider-Man for the death of her brother. She also loved Peter Parker, but broke off their relationship when she learned that Peter liked Liz. She later got engaged to Ned Leeds. Since the Daily Bugle and Jameson are both not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she’s just another classmate at Peter Parker’s high school.
Betty also appeared in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, played by Elizabeth Banks. Last year, Banks claimed in a Glamour Magazine interview that she was told she was “too old” to play Mary Jane Watson. She was 28 at the time and Kirsten Dunst, who was 20, got the part. (Dunst and Rice both star in The Beguiled.)
3. Rice Was 13 Years Old When She Got the Part in ‘The Nice Guys’
In Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, Rice played Holly March, the daughter of Ryan Gosling’s character. The film also starred Oscar winner Russell Crowe and was a hit with critics. Rice was only 13 years old when she was cast, but had already been to the Cannes Film Festival.
In May 2014, she went to France for These Final Hours, an apocalyptic drama where she had a lead part. She was also signed by the U.S. talent agency William Morris Endeavor in 2014. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in October 2014, she said the whole year was crazy for her.
“It’s going crazily fast at the moment, so much has been jam-packed into this year,” she said.
She also explained how she got that breakthrough part in The Nice Guys. She first filmed an audition in her Australian agent’s office. Then, she was asked to tape a second audition. She made it to the last round and was asked to fly to Los Angeles, where she got to meet Gosling for the first time.
Rice told the Morning Herald that she is very committed to her school work. However, her mom Kate said the family is used to sudden changes. They spent a year in Munich, where Rice had to learn German.
4. Rice’s Parents the Founders of Always Working Artists, Performing Stage Shows in Australia
Rice’s parents, Jeremy and Kate Rice, are the founders of Always Working Artists. The couple created the production company in 2000 in Sydney. They were based in Darwin from 2003 to 2006, then moved to Perth in 2006. In 2013, they moved to Melbourne. Rice and her sister, Kalliope Rice, also took part in their parents’ productions. Kalliope retired from acting to concentrate on gymnastics.
Jeremy Rice is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art and has won several awards in Australia for his stage productions. He’s also worked as a drama coach for television actors and directed episodes of Trapped in 2008.
As for Kate Rice, she is a playwright. She was a finalist for the Australian Writers Guild’s 2014 Best Play award for Sweetest Things. Her other works include In The Arms of Angels, Apocalypse Perth and The Mozart Faction. She has also written episodes of children’s shows.
5. She Says it’s Still Scary to Perform In Front of Her High School Classmates
Just because she’s performed in front of cameras with Gosling and Crowe in The Nice Guys and Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst in The Beguiled doesn’t mean acting in front of her classmates in Melbourne is easy.
“I think it is a bit freaky performing in front of my peers. It is scary,” Rice told Australia’s The Project in June. When the show’s hosts asked how that could be possible, considering the big names she’s acted with in Hollywood. “Yeah, but teenagers are harsh,” she reminded them.
Rice also told The Project that she tries not to brag about her work at school.
The actress has had an incredible amount of luck early on. Working on The Beguiled was a learning experience for her. She explained to news.com.au that she talked with co-star Elle Fanning about her early career decisions.
“I talked to [Fanning] about some roles she’s done and she was talking about how she just wants to try stuff that’s interesting,” Rice explained. “What I took from that is she doesn’t do things because they’re safe. She does stuff because, why not? It made me think, maybe I should do more things that I’m passionate about just because I can, and I’m young, and why not?”