‘Manchester by the Sea’ Star Lucas Hedges on Capitalizing on Early Success

Actor Lucas Hedges

Though Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams are receiving much of the praise for Manchester by the Sea, it’s important to remember another strong performance in the film — Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, who plays the nephew of Affleck’s character. In an interview with the New York Times, Hedges speaks about starring in the Oscar-winning film and his latest role in an Off Broadway play.

Hedges admits he’s taken aback by the success of Manchester by the Sea, pointing out, “It’s really interesting to be 20 years old and to have your wildest dreams come true. It’s sort of like, where do you go from here?”

He adds that it’s far more likely for his career to go south than to continue succeeding. He explains, “I listened to Ethan Hawke in an interview recently. He did Dead Poets Society at my age, and he was saying that after that movie came out, his career was perfectly set up to just be one long tumble after that film, and not in a good way.”

One of his acting roles — a seventh grade production of Nicholas Nickleby — nearly ended Hedges’ career before it even started because of stage fright. He recalls, “I ran outside and into my Mom’s arms and burst into tears. She walked me around the block and said: ‘You don’t have to do it. But just take a day to think about it.'” While he changed his mind and ended up doing the play, he was still nervous. He explains, “Sure enough, every single day in the wings before I went on, my face turned bright red. But I persevered.”

Hedges has come a long way from his stage fright — he’s starring in Yen, an Off Broadway play at MCC Theater. He admits that it’s a huge challenge and he has to work to keep himself aware of that, saying, “I’m a beginner. So I’m just trying to get myself back into the head space of, ‘This is the first play I’ve ever done,’ and out of the space of, ‘I know what I’m doing.’ Because in reality, I have no idea what I’m doing.”

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