Texas-born Liana Liberato is a month shy of her 18th birthday and already she has honed out a career that would make other actresses envious. Before age 10 she had been discovered doing local theatre in Galveston and was encouraged to head to Hollywood. Roles on such popular television shows as “House,” “Cold Case” and “CSI: Miami” followed and soon the movies came calling. In 2010 she appeared in the feature film “Trust,” playing a young girl victimized by an on-line predator. Her performance in the film was deemed “remarkable” by the late Roger Ebert and she later went on to win the Silver Hugo Award as Best Actress at that year’s Chicago International Film Festival. Other film roles include “The Last Sin Eater,” “Safe Harbor” and “Trespass,” in which she co-starred with Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman. This week she’s back on the big screen in the new film, “Stuck in Love.” While visiting Kansas City Ms. Liberato sat down with Media Mikes to talk about the new film.
Mike Smith: Give our readers an introduction to Kate, your character in “Stuck in Love.”
Liana Liberato: Kate is a girl who becomes involved with a boy named Rusty, played by Nat Wolfe. Rusty is a hopeless romantic who has had a crush on Kate for a long time. Kate is battling a long time drug and alcohol addiction and, with Rusty’s help, she replaces that addiction with love.
MS: What attracted you to the project?
LL: I think the challenge. There aren’t a lot of roles out there like this. I liked the ideas shared in the film. And I’ve never played a role like this before.
MS: Speaking of roles, most of your film work has been pretty intense so this was certainly a chance to do something different. What was it like as an actress to work in new territory?
LL: Kate does have some darker layers to her so it wasn’t that different from what I’d done before. One of the main differences, I think, is that she’s more mature. She’s more worldly. Also, in a lot of the other projects I have done I was never really exposed to the younger generation…actors my own age. So working with Lily (Colins) and Nat and Patrick (Schwarzenegger) was really a great experience.
MS: You also got to work with a couple of Oscar nominated actors in Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly (NOTE: Kinnear was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in “As Good As it Gets” while Connelly was nominated for, and won, the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “A Beautiful Mind”). Were you able to study them or learn from them?
LL: They were awesome. And they were both so very down to earth. Usually between takes Jennifer would just sit down next to me on the couch and we’d talk about our day. So would Greg. They were both just really down to earth people.
MS: What do you have coming up?
LL: I just finished a film about a week ago called “Dear Eleanor,” and it is completely different than anything I’ve ever done. It’s a comedy and my character is actually funny and lighthearted. It’s basically a young person’s “Thelma and Louise.”
MS: Are you Thelma or Louise?
LL: (laughs) You’ll have to wait and find out.