Adelaide Clemens might not be a household name quite yet, but we’re already counting down until this 24-year-old Aussie actress conquers the scene stateside. Not only does she currently star in the cable Sundance drama Rectify, she’s also scored a handful of film roles coming up, including The World Made Straight, a big screen adaption of the 2006 bestselling novel, and the new indie flick The Girl Who Invented Kissing. So who is she, exactly? Before everyone else becomes obsessed with the up-and-comer (who just so happens to be a dead ringer for Michelle Williams), see exclusive quotes from our interview with Clemens here. Then, check out the entire interview with the NYLON August issue hits stands this week.
[Rectify] was the very thing, she believed, that would distance her from the terrorized girls she’d played in a few horror films and help capitalize on her recent star turn as a young suffragette opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the HBO period drama Parade’s End. To get that part, a determined Clemens showed up to an audition having been rejected several times before—including “a final no” from the director over Skype—in full Edwardian garb. “I can be crazy when I want it,” she says.
She knew she wanted to be an actress from the beginning:
A born go-getter, a 14-year-old Clemens answered a newspaper ad calling for budding playwright- performers to submit one-act plays. She wrote “a weird one” about a woman with a house full of potted plants. “They were like her alarm systems. Only she knew the way from her bedroom to the bathroom,” recalls Clemens. The piece won the top prize and she got to perform it at Sydney’s historic Stables Theatre, which led to an agent and a steady stream of work on several Australian TV shows.
She loves Leo, too:
At 19, she moved to Los Angeles, where she began scoring small parts in high- profile projects like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, HBO’s The Pacifc, the Tim Roth series Lie to Me, and, nearest to her heart, fellow Aussie Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, where she cashed in on a lifelong dream to meet Leonardo DiCaprio.
She sometimes stretches the truth:
“I exaggerate a lot,” says Clemens, before plunging headlong into a cringe-worthy memory of making eyes at him from afar during a lunch break on set; Clemens was cast as the gossip who seduces Tobey Maguire’s Nick and didn’t have any scenes with DiCaprio. So when she saw him she promptly sat on her plate of food. “I couldn’t breathe. All the air escaped me. Food went everywhere,” she says, blushing even now. I ask how DiCaprio reacted, and she thinks for a minute: “My adrenaline was running so high at that point, I don’t even remember if we ever said hi!”
She loves to write:
She’s headed to a fiction writers’ workshop in Chesapeake, Maryland. “I play pretend for a living,” she says, getting ready to walk home. “I try to take it all with a grain of salt. And I don’t really do bored well.”