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Ashleigh LaThrop, the Los Angeles-based actor in Utopia, Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of the cult British hit for Amazon, has been on the pursuit of Neverland her entire life. LaThrop began her acting career in her parents’ living room, but it wasn’t until high school, when she saw Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, that she realized acting was her path to pursue. Much of that attraction to the stage could also be attributed to her love for Peter Pan, and every magical iteration of the classic tale. And so, after graduating from the University of Illinois and a 10-week-residency at The School at Steppenwolf, LaThrop began her journey with one mega-project after another. She’s appeared in some of the buzziest series and films in Hollywood, from the Fifty Shades franchise to The Handmaid’s Tale and The Kominsky Method. But it is with Utopia, the story of a group of rambunctious comic nerds who end up with the task of saving the world, where LaThrop gets to exercise her Peter Pan wings, and just have fun, regardless of the dystopian vibe. One day before the show’s premiere, La Throp spoke with Interview from Los Angeles about her love for Meryl Streep, Peter Pan, and the pursuit of fun.
ON HOW SHE FINDS HER ZEN: One thing that I really love doing is the New York Times crossword. I find that it’s really grounding because it’s hard and it’s a way to sort of tune out the world. Usually at night, that’s something that I’ll sit and try to do for a while. I have my nighttime tea and journal for a little bit about the day or about whatever my thoughts are. And I find those things are really calming for me.
ON HER INSPIRATIONS: My mom is the one who keeps me grounded, focused, and humble and human. Meryl is the one who makes me yearn and desire and crave and strive to better myself.
ON COMICS: I needed to educate myself.
ON 2020: We filmed the show a year ago, and now it’s coming out while we’re in the midst of a pandemic. It’s really, really bizarre, but I also think there’s so much more to take away from the show than just that. In our country, there’s a lot of other issues that we’re dealing with, from the government to police brutality. It just feels like there’s a lot of other really heavy things going on and none of that is in Utopia. It’s kind of just this adventure ride that happens to have the backdrop of a pandemic, so it might actually just be kind of a respite from 2020.
ON DANCING (WHEN CLUBS WERE A THING): I love to dance in my apartment. I loved to dance at clubs, back when that was a thing. Way back in the day, maybe before your time. Back in 2019.
ON NEVER GROWING UP: I grew up with Peter Pan. I love Peter Pan. I grew up watching every version of Peter Pan that there was, from the Mary Martin version to the 1950s Disney version. I always wanted to live in Neverland and never wanted to grow up. I wanted to fly and I wanted to have fun, always. I would say that probably has not changed.
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