Age & Hometown: 25; New York, NY
Current Role: A Theatre World Award-winning Broadway debut performance as Chloe Coverly, a British teenager who falls for an older, suave scholar, in the Tony-nominated revival of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.
All in the Family: An art history and Italian major at Vassar College (the alma mater of her mother, Meryl Streep), Gummer pursued her interest in theater after graduation by working as a costume designer in Rome. When a friend asked her to create outfits for an off-Broadway show, Gummer had another idea: “My first instinct when I read the play was that I wanted to say these lines myself.” The budding actress had great sources for inspiration in her superstar mom and older sister, Mamie. “I ask them for advice on everything, so [acting] is no different,” she says, “but you really don’t know what it’s like until you do it on your own.” Gummer starred in Nickelodeon’s teenage dramedy Gigantic, but she always had her eye on Broadway. “There’s something magical about theater," she says. "You can live the character every single day to the point where you become that person.”
Teenage Dream: In Arcadia, Gummer plays an open-hearted teen named Chloe. “She’s like a sponge,” the actress says of her character. “She’s at that age where everything around her is inspiring, fun and interesting. I love that game-for-anything attitude she has.” Gummer shares the Broadway stage with a talented ensemble of American and British actors including four-time Tony nominee Raul Esparza (who plays her older brother) and Tony winner Billy Crudup. “They’re like my family now,” she says of her co-stars. “We’ve become this little unit. The other night I was talking to my friend who is in law school about all the intense material she has to learn, and I said, ‘Well, I get to flirt with Billy Crudup every night.’ I feel so lucky.”
Tom & Julia & Grace: Gummer doesn’t have any post-Arcadia plans set, but summer movie audiences can catch her opposite Tom Hanks in Larry Crowne, the Oscar winner’s latest directorial effort, which also stars Julia Roberts. “That was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,” she says of working with the famous duo. “Because the film takes place in a speech class, I had to give a presentation in front of the whole class…which meant the whole production crew…and Julia Roberts! It felt like I was transported back to being 15, standing in front of the class, scared out of my mind.” Everything worked out just fine: "Tom is so cool, and Julia was so much fun," Gummer raves.