How a Failed Audition Started Lucas Hedges’ Career

Actor Lucas Hedges

One of the big revelations in terms of young actors in 2016 was Lucas Hedges, who played an emotional role in Kenny Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea. While the role brought Hedges his first Oscar nomination, it comes after over five years of playing much smaller parts as a teenager. Speaking with W, Hedges reveals how a failed audition jumpstarted his career and how he mastered that tricky Boston accent for the Massachusetts-set film.

Hedges nearly appeared in another film that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and had he been given the part he would’ve started his career off in an extremely visible role. He reveals, “The first thing I ever auditioned for was a movie called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. And, this is kind of a secret, but it came down between me and the one other kid for it, but I didn’t get it.”

However, the audition wasn’t a total loss at all — one of Hollywood’s most successful producers happened to be on the scene. Hedges continues, “Fortunately enough during the scene test of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there was a producer watching from the next room over on a monitor, and his name was Scott Rudin.”

That chance encounter turned a loss into a major win. Hedges explains, “That meeting Scott through Extremely Loud is probably the reason why I ended up getting Moonrise Kingdom. So, just like a month or two later I had another job and it was a Wes Anderson movie, so I can’t really complain.”

Years later, Hedges was cast in his most acclaimed role in Manchester by the Sea. One of the biggest challenges for the Brooklyn-born actor was learning the Boston accent required for the role. He says, “I did a lot of Boston accent research and a lot of listening to recording voice memos and listening to them over and over again… you know the little app on your phone that you record and you play back? I just recorded YouTube videos. I’d watch some Shit Boston Guys Say, which is actually a very reputable source it turns out. And I watched local newscast reports and, like, Mocket Basket videos, which is the local Whole Foods of that area.”

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