Ready For Her Close-Up
By Beth Greenfield
Even packed into a pure-diva cast that includes Vanessa Redgrave, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, and Meryl Streep, up-and-comer Mamie Gummer sparkles�and it's not just because she�s Streep�s daughter.
The 23-year-old New Yorker acknowledges that her heritage is part of her draw. �I already have stalkers�quite a few,� she says, lamenting her decision to create a MySpace site. �They�re all sort of Meryl-obsessed and very excited about the prospect of me.� But the delicate, milky-skinned costar of Evening holds the screen in a way that�s all her own.
It�s a talent the Northwestern University grad first honed onstage, most notably as a precocious 4-year-old in the 2005 off-Broadway play Mr. Marmalade with costar Michael C. Hall. Then came a bit part in Hoax, a recent flick starring Richard Gere, though this new role�along with one in Kimberly Peirce�s upcoming soldier drama, Stop Loss�marks her true crossover into film. �I�m still trying to figure out how to occupy that weird space,� she says of the transition between stage and screen.
In Evening�based on the Susan Minot novel and with a screenplay by Michael Cunningham�a dying woman named Ann Grant Lord (Redgrave) drifts in and out of morphine-laced memories of her 1950s youth, an incarnation portrayed by Danes. Gummer is Ann�s fresh-faced pal Lila Wittenborn�played in the present by Streep.
�For the record, I got the part first,� notes Gummer (who inherits her surname from her father, Donald, a sculptor). �Then for obvious reasons they went after her.� Though she's spent the beginnings of her career distancing herself from mom, Gummer has decided to make peace with the inevitable. �I was like, fuck it. Let's put it right out on the table, and then maybe people can get over it,� she says, pointing out her fans and critics alike can now compare mother and child side by side. �They can say, �We�ve seen this realized.��