Bella Heathcote


When Bella Heathcote was invited to audition for David Chase’s coming-of-age drama—The Sopranos creator’s debut feature film, which is set to reunite him with the show’s star, James Gandolfini—the 23-year-old Australian actress was handed an opportunity that many in Young Hollywood would kill for. But while Heathcote was aware of Chase’s now-definitive meta-mythology of American familial dysfunction, she had never actually seen an episode. “I thought, If I watch it, I’m going to be so intimidated by David Chase when I meet him,” she says. Nevertheless, she won the part of the childhood friend of an aspiring rock musician (John Magaro), with Gandolfini in the familiar role of complex paterfamilias. Last year, Heathcote became the second recipient of the Heath Ledger Scholarship, a traveling fellowship created by the Australians in Film foundation to honor the late actor’s legacy by helping young Aussie talent acclimate to life in Los Angeles—and if the work she has lined up since then is any indication, she’s getting along just fine. In addition to the Chase project, Heathcote can be seen in Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller Now (due out in October); will once again team up with Gandolfini—as well as Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffalo, and Javier Bardem—for the caper flick Cogan’s Trade; and will star opposite Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows, Tim Burton’s reboot of the vampy, campy, supernatural ’60s soap. But she still hasn’t seen The Sopranos. “If I had to be honest, I never watched it, because everyone was like, ‘If you start, it’ll suck you in,’ ” she says. “I want two weeks to just sit there and watch the whole thing.”