Lucas Hedges is new to the Hollywood indie circuit, but he’s already secured a filmography that most actors will spend their careers attempting to cultivate. From his roles in Manchester by the Sea (2016) to Lady Bird (2017) and Boy Erased (2018), Hedges is quickly emerging as the “It Boy” of the small cinema. Of course, even Indie Hollywood networking is a little easier when one is born to a Hollywood family. Unroll the red carpet to these 42 charming facts about Lucas Hedges.
1. Born to Perform
Hedges comes from a show business family. His mother is the actress and poet Susan Bruce, while his father is Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and director Peter Hedges, who is best known for writing the Oscar-nominated screenplay for About a Boy.
2. Runs in the Family
Grandparents on both sides of Hedges’ family also worked in entertainment. His maternal grandmother, Narcissa Titman, is a former theatre director and lecturer, while his father’s father is the former vice president of HBO.
3. Making the Cut
Wes Anderson spotted Hedges in a middle school play. Apparently impressed, the quirky director cast Hedges to play a bully named Redford in Moonrise Kingdom.
4. One Pump Chump
Hedges continued to work with Wes Anderson in his next picture, The Grand Budapest Hotel. This role was considerably smaller, however: Hedges is simply listed as “Pump Attendant.”
5. Hawkeye Jr.?
Do you see the resemblance? Someone else did, apparently. Among Hedges’ minor early roles is the part of Jeremy Renner’s son in Kill the Messenger, which is based on the Iran-Contra scandal.
6. The Early Bird Gets the Gold
In 2016, Hedges’ career truly took off with his turn as Casey Affleck’s angsty orphaned nephew in Manchester by the Sea. Hedges’ performance attracted much critical acclaim. For his role, he received a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer and even an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
7. Lights, No Camera, Action!
Playing a troubled teen again, Hedges made his stage debut in 2017’s off-Broadway production of Yen. Going for a “type” of character apparently worked out, as Hedges continued to be nominated for awards. For his work on the stage, he was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, and he won the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Debut Performance.
8. Two Strikes, You’re In
In 2017, Hedges co-starred in two Best Picture nominees: Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. Most actors are happy with one, but okay.
9. Who Needs a Name for It?
Hedges is reluctant to label his sexuality. In 2018, he said: “In the early stages of my life, some of the people I was most infatuated with were my closest male friends. That was the case through high school, and I think I was always aware of that, while for the most part I was attracted to women.” He also added that he exists “on that spectrum: Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual.”
10. Lucas in Real Life
Hedges’ first dramatic role was technically in the Steve Carrell comedy, Dan in Real Life, which his father directed. He had just one line, and it was cut from the final draft. Thanks, dad.
11. In It for Me
Hedges admits he got into acting for “purely selfish reasons.” In his words, “I honestly just wanted to have an exciting life. At first, it was superficial. I didn’t see acting as an opportunity for me to be of service. That came later.”
12. A Man of Many Faces
When Hedges gets noticed on the street, he decides whether or not he’ll confirm he is, in fact, Lucas Hedges. Sometimes, a bystander will ask “Is that you?” According to Hedges, he takes time to decide how he’s feeling. He often says, “No.” Remember that the next time you see someone who says they aren’t Lucas Hedges. Chances are, they’re lying.
13. No Waterworks
Stage tears are an actor’s bread and butter, but Hedges is not fond of weeping in front of other folks. As a child, his parents wanted him to cry in front of them more (okay…). Ever the rebel, he apparently did not like it—and it followed him into adulthood.
14. School of Hard Pretenses
While Hedges was born to a showbiz family, the actor was also trained to entertain. He attended the University of North Carolina’s School of Arts and Northwestern University’s Cherubs Theatre Program at their National High School Institute.
15. A Runway High-Five
Supermodel Gigi Hadid was the first person—outside of his family, of course—to congratulate Hedges for his first Oscar nomination. The two were at a photoshoot together soon after the new dropped.
16. The Cutest Coffee Runner
Hedges would frequently visit his father’s film sets as a child. Is that early enough for an internship?
17. Can’t Even Celebrate With a Drink
At just 20 years old, Hedges became the eighth youngest person to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards. If he had won, he would have been the youngest winner ever in that category (alas, he did not).
18. Be Like Jake
When Hedges was nominated for his role in Manchester by the Sea, he became the first actor under the age of 25 to be nominated for acting at the Oscars since Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated for Brokeback Mountain in 2005.
19. Only 90s Kids Will Understand
In 2017, Hedges and his Best Supporting Actor co-nominee, Dev Patel, became the first 1990s-born kids to be nominated for acting Oscars.
20. A Little Life
Hedges is very protective of his privacy and cites this as a reason why he prefers indie films. In smaller productions, he says, “…I get to remain in my life. I get to remain within the worlds that I want to be a part of.”
21. My Sister, My Co-Star
Judging by Hedges’ filmography alone, Hollywood is a small place. In both Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Ben Is Back, Hedges acted as the on-screen brother of characters played by actress Kathryn Newton. Coincidentally, Newton also had a role in Lady Bird. At least this time, she and Hedges were not playing siblings (as far as we know…).
22. Tragedy vs. Musical
Hedges continued to go for raw and prestigious film performances by playing a victim of gay conversion therapy in Boy Erased. For the role, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor, but he lost to Rami Malek’s turn in Bohemian Rhapsody.
23. Small-Screen, Big Future
In 2015, Hedges had a supporting role in NBC’s The Slap, a TV miniseries about the aftermath of a neighbor slapping a child who wasn’t his. These days, the show is mostly remembered as the subject of some pretty good memes. However, to Hedges, this short-lived foray into television was “great practice” for being in front of the camera in more serious projects.
24. Eat, Pray, Act
To get in the headspace of playing Julia Roberts’ son (a tough act, we know) in Ben Is Back, Hedges went “method.” Julia Roberts invited both Hedges and his on-screen sister, Kathryn Mockler, to be guests at her Thanksgiving dinner.
25. No One Does It Better Than Mothers
Hedges brought his mother as his date to the 2017 Oscars. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before all the cameras.
26. Another Me?
Thanks to their many career intersections and parallels, Hedges admits it’s okay if you get him mixed up with fellow young actor Timothée Chalamet. To quote Hedges, “I honestly don’t know. Every time I see him, I think, ‘Wow, we’re actually pretty similar.’”
27. Backhanded Direction
Lucas Hedges bit hesitant to say he was the “perfect” fit for his Oscar-nominated role in Manchester by the Sea. From what Hedges says, director Kenneth Lonergan never really made him feel secure: “I wasn’t the obvious fit. He said he didn’t find that person and so he picked the person he most wanted to watch in a movie. I don’t know if that’s true. But that’s what he told me. So that’s what I am walking around believing in my head.”
28. Just Like Magic
In 2017, Hedges found himself at a crossroads: either go back to school or do this little film called Lady Bird. It was the chance to work with Saoirse Ronan that helped him make the decision. While Ronan was not in Harry Potter, she occupied a similar space in his “childhood brain” as a “far-off, magical place. The idea of getting to play her high-school boyfriend was a big pull away from school. She was somebody I was nervous to meet.”
29. Childhood Crushes Do Come True
Growing up, Hedges believed Saoirse Ronan was “the most beautiful person [he] had ever seen on film or TV.”
30. Coming Out of His Shells
After wrapping up Lady Bird, Hedges held onto his character’s c. 2002 puka shell necklace. I guess you can take the past with you—at least in fashion.
31. Will This Number Be on the Exam?
Lady Bird’s director Greta Gerwig gave her actors specifically tailored pop cultural homework to embody their characters. Hedges’ listening/watching list included “Seasons of Love” from Rent, “Save Me” off of Aimee Mann’s Magnolia, and Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim. Sign me up for that kind of syllabus!
32. After Hours
Hedges participated in on-set dance parties during the filming of Lady Bird. He even attended a “really emotional” private party with Saoirse Ronan in Greta Gerwig’s apartment.
33. Too Cool for School
Since beginning his prestigious film career, Hedges has since dropped out of the University of North Carolina. I mean, he’s already getting jobs, so it makes sense.
34. Off-Screen Chemistry, On-Court Coercion
In February 2019, Hedges confirmed that he was dating actress Taylor Russell, his co-star in the upcoming film Waves. It was speculated they were an item since the two were seen kissing at an NBA game in December 2018 (though one magazine reported that they only kissed because the cameras made them. Ok, sure).
35. Off the Grid
Unlike almost everyone else in his generation, Hedges isn’t on any social media platforms. Not even Facebook or, God forbid, Snapchat. He cites it was way too addictive for his lifestyle.
36. No Poker Face
The actor is fond of “Gaga” dance classes. No, not “Lady Gaga” dance, but rather the language of artistic movement founded by the Israeli artist Ohad Naharin.
37. The Prodigal Son Returns (to Set)
In 2018, Lucas Hedges and his father Peter teamed up for Ben Is Back, a movie about a teenaged drug addict’s return to his estranged family. In the film’s early production stages, Peter had no intention of casting his son in the lead role. Leading lady Julia Roberts was the one who insisted that Lucas be cast, because she was impressed by his performance in Manchester by the Sea.
38. You Will Remain Anonymous
To embody a recovering drug addict in Ben Is Back, Hedges attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with a man he will only describe as someone who “played a pretty significant role in [his] life.”
39. Generational Angst
Ben Is Back was a deeply personal project for Hedges and his father because his grandmother (Peter’s mother) was an alcoholic (though for anyone getting ahead of themselves, she is not who Hedges followed to AA meetings in preparation for the film).
40. “Chalamet”? More Like, “Shall I See You Out”?
In a twist of fate, Hedges lost the role of Tom Cooper in Interstellar to his future Lady Bird co-star, Timothée Chalamet. Hedges got his “revenge,” however. In 2016, Hedges would beat out Chalamet his eventual Oscar-nominated role in Manchester by the Sea.
41. Mind the Gap
While filming Manchester by the Sea, Hedges asked his co-star, Anna Baryshnikov, to be his prom date. For very good reasons, she said no. At the time, she was 22 while Hedges was only 16.
42. Exit, Stage Left
Hedges messed with the Queen of Pop and lived to tell the tale. At one point, Madonna was holding a “no cameras” Oscars party. Somehow, Hedges missed the memo and took a picture, which almost got him kicked out of the festivities. To quote Hedges himself: “I completely forgot so I took a photo and this bodyguard rushes over to me and I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. I was like, ‘I’m so sorry. I’m deleting—look, I’m deleting the photo right now.’ And then they had eyes on me for the rest of the party, like, everywhere I went. I was so paranoid and scared.”