The Glass Castle is already generating Oscar buzz ahead of its release next month.
Based on the bestselling 2005 novel of the same name, it tells the true story of Jeanette Walls, who grew up in a poverty-stricken and dysfunctional family.
The movie stars Brie Larson as the protagonist and Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her parents, while Ella Anderson plays a young Jeanette.
The 12-year-old actress is well-known for starring on Nickelodeon series Henry Danger, and her star is quickly rising after landing roles in The Boss and Mother’s Day.
As Ella prepares to become a household name, she chatted to LAGoss.com about filming the emotional movie, getting to know Brie Larson, sleepovers with Woody Harrelson’s daughter and how she finds time to be a normal kid.
Oscar buzz: Ella Anderson plays a young version of Brie Larson in much-anticipated The Glass Castle | Instagram
You play a younger version of Brie Larson in The Glass Castle. Did you get to spend much time with her and what was that like?
EA: Luckily I did get to spend time with Brie working on the character in a lot of different ways and also just hanging out and getting to know each other. When we were planning to meet for the first time and Brie suggested to go to Color Me Mine, a place where you can paint pottery, I was really excited! We realized right away when we met each other that we had a lot in common, which I think really helped when it came to building a relationship. We spent a lot of time together while we were in Montreal as well. She was an incredible support to me while we were filming. Even though she wasn’t filming at the time that I was filming, she stayed there and came on set to just hang out and her being there was really awesome because there was one day when I had done a string of days of emotional scenes, after work she took me out to dinner because it was really difficult for me to get back into a normal state of mind after. That really helped me to be with someone who understood what I was going through.
You have a lot of emotional scenes with Woody Harrelson. How did you work together to build that father/daughter relationship for the movie?
EA: I think it was really simple for us to bond. First of all, Woody is really funny and is fun to be around. When we first got to Montreal, his daughter Makani was having her 10th birthday party and they invited me over for the party. She and I got really close and so I ended up spending a lot of time at their house. We had lots of sleepovers and that helped me to have that real father/daughter relationship with Woody because I saw him doing every day dad stuff.
Was it difficult to film the dark and emotional scenes?
EA: I really don’t remember too much of me trying to make something into something it was not. Rather, I just showed up on set and whatever situation I was in, I just let myself feel whatever I needed to. I think that something that was so beautiful about the entire process for me is that it was all just very real. I had done a lot of the prep work ahead of time and had become so connected to Jeannette and her story that in the moments when we shot, I could just be her and the emotions just flowed from my connection to each part of Jeannette’s story. Everyone was very supportive and amazing along the way.
“I’m a normal kid”: The actress still finds time to be a regular 12-year-old when she isn’t in front of the camera | Russell Baer
What do you hope people watching take away from this story?
EA: I hope they take away that no matter what situation you are put into in your life that you can make the very best out of it. I think the entire story of Jeannette shows such an amazing way that you can turn your life into something so beautiful no matter where you came from. Rex was a dreamer, and taught that to Jeannette. Jeannette had the strength to go after what she dreamed about and held onto a vision that she saw so clearly inside of her mind. I also hope that people who are living in a similar situation realize that they are not alone and they can find hope for their future.
Was it fun to work with these incredible actors? Did they give you any great acting advice?
EA: Of course it was fun! I mean, I feel like just being there with them helped me learn a lot. I don’t know that they gave me any real, like, sit down advice sessions, but you can’t help but learn a ton just from being on set with actors like them!
You’ve worked with so many amazing actors during your career! Is there one experience that really stands out for you?
EA: I would be lying if I didn’t say working with everyone in the Glass Castle is what really stands out to me when I think about all the amazing actors I have had the chance to work with. From Woody and Brie, all the way to Sadie Sink and little Eden Redfield… our little Maureen… this entire experience was magical.
Star-studded: Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts play Ella’s on-screen parents in the drama | Jake Giles Netter/Lionsgate
How does it feel to be part of a movie that is already getting Oscar buzz?
EA: Honestly, I think it is pretty crazy. I try not to think so far ahead though. Everyone put so much into the movie and that would be really exciting for everyone. Either way, I just love that people think so highly of our movie.
Henry Danger is coming back for a fourth season. Do you hope to be on the show for a few more years even though you are doing so well in your movie career too?
EA: I love my Henry Danger family so much and I am super grateful for being able to work in such a loving fun environment every day for the last 4 years. I will be very sad when the show comes to an end, it has been a huge part of me. I am so so blessed to have been able to keep working on movies while being on the show. Do I have to choose one or the other? Ha Ha!
Is there one actor you would love to work with in future or a particular TV show you would love to be on?
EA: I really don’t have anyone in particular or any TV show right now that I would love to be on. I don’t know… the obvious… Meryl Streep or Viola Davis. And the other obvious, a Netflix show.
How do you still find time to be a normal kid?
EA: I actually have a lot of time to do kid stuff. I personally just think that I am a normal kid no matter what. I am just a random 12 year old who likes to do normal things, play video games, skateboard, go to movies, and just hang out with any of my friends. I clean my room, I do the dishes, and I have to walk the dogs. I consider myself pretty normal. I mean, kids who play sports have the crazy lives to me… their schedules are nuts.
The Glass Castle will be released in the US on August 11th and the UK on October 6th. Watch the trailer below: