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Liana Liberato

Digging Deeper

Jul 08, 2013 Liana Liberato
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Seventeen-year-old Galveston, Texas native Liana Liberato began acting professionally when she was a child, appearing in TV dramas such as Cold Case and CSI: Miami. She even graced the cover of The New York Times Magazine in 2006 as part of its in-depth look into the challenges and competition facing child actors trying to secure work in Hollywood. In 2010, Liberato won the Best Actress award at the Chicago International Film Festival for her performance in Trust, in which she played Annie, a teenage victim of an online predator. It was both an intense and delicate portrayal that had the young actress going toe to toe with Clive Owen (as Annie’s father) in emotionally charged scenes.

This summer, Liberato appears in two films, the action thriller, Erased, and the romantic comedy-drama, Stuck in Love. In Erased, she plays the daughter of an ex-CIA agent (Aaron Eckhart) on the lamb. The film, which is set in Brussels, brought Liberato to work in Europe for the first time. Kate, her character in Stuck in Love, grapples with addiction and a troubled home life. The film gave Liberato the opportunity to work alongside other actors of her generation, such as Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, and Nat Wolff.

Under the Radar met with Liberato in Los Angeles to discuss the two films and her extracurricular interests.

Chris Tinkham (Under the Radar): I’m reading that you write screenplays. What kinds of stories are you writing?

Liana Liberato: All kinds of stuff. I try to steer away from drama, just because I’m really comfortable in it, so I like to test my boundaries a little bit. Right now I’m writing kind of a dark comedy.

Are these screenplays geared for yourself?

Not necessarily. I pull a lot from my personal experiences, so it has a lot of me in them, but I could play them. I would be perfectly fine with not being in my own film. [Laughs]

Are your characters of your own age group?

The film that I’m writing at the momentI’m acting like it’s going to be made into something big. I don’t even know. Hopefully. That would be nice. What I’m writing right now, there are five girls my age, and there are the older versions of them, in like their 60s. So it’s geared for both.

When you get scripts, is it rare to find characters your age that have an authentic voice?

Yes and no. I think it depends. It’s very refreshing to read a script where you see a lot of yourself and your peers in them. But other times you don’t, and you have to go back and make it your own. It depends on how you read it, too. Anything can sound authentic if you make it sound authentic, in my opinion.

What was it about your character in Erased that appealed to you?

I really enjoyed the fact that, at first, she was very guarded and all about herself, and she learns to open her mind and ultimately help her father with this whole situation. I like her. I like that transition.

And what about Kate in Stuck in Love?

She was a different character for me. I think that she had a lot more self-confidence than a lot of my other roles. And, although she was a victim in substance, she didn’t really put off that victim persona. So, I liked that about her. She was very confident and brave.

And she’s based on someone that Josh [Boone, writer/director] knew?

Yes, it’s based on his first girlfriend, his first real relationship.

Was that more pressure for you?

Yeah, it was actually. He had given me the part, and I had to do chemistry reads with the boys, and it was the first time that he was ever going to see me play this girl, and it’s scary. He basically is filming his early years of being a teenager, and I had to recreate that for him. So I’m sure it was very nostalgic for him as well. But it was a lot of pressure, too, yeah.

Does he know what became of her?

Yeah, I believe he still talks to her. Well, I don’t know if he still talks to her, but I know that she’s still around. [Laughs]

You’ve been acting since you were a kid. What have been the challenges of transitioning into teen roles?

It’s different. My characters have a bit more substance, I think, and a lot more depth, which is nice, because I get to really dig deeper into the roles. It’s a lot more challenging.

It’s seems that there are more confrontations with adults in these roles.

It’s true, there are. In the past films that I’ve done, I’ve worked with a lot of adults, and there has been a lot of adult interaction between my characters and them, but right now I’m really looking forward to working with people my own age, and just getting to be a kid a little bit. When I did Stuck in Love, it was nice because Lily and Logan and Nat, they were all my age, and so we all got to hang out. Off-camera too.

What kind of music have you been listening to as of late?

I like to say that I’m one of the first people to discover The Lumineers, but I definitely wasn’t. It was before they started getting really big. I love them. I think they’re wonderful. They’re a different sound. I like that.

Stuck in Love currently is playing at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York.

Erased is available online and On Demand.


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July 23rd 2013

Logan Lerman is the hottest Jewish boy ever.