Grace Gummer on Kellan Lutz, Getting Carded

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Published April 26, 2010

GRACE GUMMER IN MESKADA

To be Meryl Streep’s daughter, and to go into acting–that’s one thing.  Actually, that’s Mamie Gummer. To be Meryl Streep’s daughter, and Mamie’s little sister, and to go into acting, that’s another thing. That’s Grace Gummer.

 

Like Mamie’s, Grace’s pedigree is written all over her face–the cheekbones, the nose, the silky blond hair. One look at her and you know there’s no way her introduction to the TV and movie world, which is starting to happen right about now, won’t have everyone playing that same game of genealogical connect-the-dots.

 

“Inevitably, that’s going to happen,” Grace, 23, concedes. And when will the youngest sister of all, 18-year-old Louisa, have her turn? “I don’t think ever! We’ll see,” Grace says. “She’s her own thing.”

 

But then, so is Grace, who made her film debut Thursday night with the premiere of Meskada¸ a small-town crime drama playing the Tribeca Film Festival. After majoring in Italian and art history at Vassar, Gummer shipped off to Italy. While she was in Rome, a friend of her brother’s–that would be Henry, a musician–sent her the script for a play he was directing downtown and asked if she’d do the costumes. “I read it and I didn’t have any design ideas. I just wanted to be in it–I wanted to say those things,” Gummer says. She flew back to New York and got the lead role in Kristjan Thor’s The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents.

 

Not that the acting thing came out of the blue. Gummer did theater in college, although she says she was more of “a sporty girl” in high school. “I played lacrosse for a hot second, but I was mainly a swimmer-captain of my swim team.” Her childhood doesn’t seem all that different from a lot of suburban Connecticut upbringings: sports, school, summer jobs scooping ice cream. Her parents (her dad is the sculptor Don Gummer) have always been supportive of her, she says, whether she’s been reading scripts or working for Zac Posen, and wouldn’t be any less so if she wound up being “a doctor or psychiatrist or a painter.”

 

It’s more ironic than appropriate, then, that Gummer plays a tabloid–courting Hollywood brat with famous parents in the upcoming Teen Nick series Gigantic. As often happens with actors Gummer’s age, her characters are a few years behind her.  She imagined the flirty bartender she played in Meskada to be 18 or 19, and her steamy scene with Kellan Lutz in that film probably made her feel like a teenager all over again. “I took his shirt off. We actually did have to do a few takes,” Gummer admits.

 

She gets carded everywhere, she adds. “My boyfriend and I were at a Dodgers game and the woman selling beer really did not believe that I was 23. She was like, ‘I feel scared giving you beer.’ It’s just a Bud Light!”