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.''