Graham Phillips

“There was a lot of goat choreography,” says Graham Phillips, the 18-year-old star of the appropriately titled indie coming-of-age drama Goats, from first-time director (and the latest scion of the filmmaking Coppola family) Christopher Neil. Phillips stars as Ellis, a struggling teenager who leaves behind his home in Tucson, Arizona, as well as his heavily medicated New Age mother (Vera Farmiga) and the closest thing he has had to a father, a fortysomething stoner-goat herder who lives in their pool house called Goat Man (David Duchovny). To get closer to his estranged biological dad (Ty Burrell), Ellis opts for a more straitlaced life at an East Coast prep school. “The movie is about realizing that there are different gradations of love: Just because a part of someone is toxic doesn’t mean that all of him is,” says Phillips, who shot Goats last year while holding down his regular TV gig on the CBS series The Good Wife, in which he plays the nerdy heartthrob son of the show’s chronically embattled litigator heroine (Julianna Margulies). Phillips, who grew up in Laguna Beach, California, was drawn to performing at a young age. “My parents walked in on me googling ‘agents for kids’ when I was 9,” he says. In addition to acting, he is also an accomplished singer who got his start in theater, performing in The Little Prince at the New York City Opera, An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, and the musical 13 on Broadway. He is currently working on his first solo album with Grammy Award–winning megaproducer Humberto Gatica, who has collaborated with everyone from Celine Dion to Andrea Bocelli, and describes his developing work as a younger take on Michael Bublé. He also starts classes at Princeton University this fall; Duchovny, an alum, wrote one of his recommendations. Of course, Phillips’s increasingly diverse skill set probably didn’t hurt, either. “I’m definitely adding goat whispering to my resume,” he says.