It's been a heck of a year for Mickey Sumner, who has completed five forthcoming movies, appeared in Showtime's The Borgias and now co-stars with Carol Kane in The Lying Lesson, the latest play by Craig Lucas. This Atlantic Theater Company production is cloaked in mystery, but we do know it's a two-hander in which Kane channels Bette Davis. Sumner grew up in England among pop royalty as the daughter of Sting (a.k.a. Gordon Sumner) and his philanthropist wife, Trudie Styler. Sumner chatted with Broadway.com about her many upcoming projects, why she turned from art to acting and more.
What’s it been like making your off-Broadway debut in two-hander with Carol Kane?
I had to pinch myself a couple of times that I was actually on stage at the Atlantic with Carol Kane. She’s in every movie that I love [and] it is such a treat for me to get to work with her. She’s been so generous with her advice and her support. I’m definitely a rookie, and she’s been guiding me through this process. It’s totally a dream come true.
We know that Carol Kane plays Bette Davis living in small-town Maine. Who exactly is your character?
Well, I can’t tell you that much because I’ll ruin it for people. I’m a bit of a mystery, but I play a girl who breaks into a house that contains Bette Davis. We start up a strange relationship from that moment.
And the show’s a comedy?
It’s a comedy/thriller. There’s some great Hollywood stories in it. If you like Bette Davis, this is a must.
You’ve already made a few films. Do you hope to balance stage and film work?
Absolutely, I want it all! I love being on stage. There’s nothing better than that feeling; ever since the first time I was on stage I was like, “Oh, this is what it means to be fully alive and satisfied.” I don’t think anything’s as satisfying as a play.
I was super excited by the Missed Connections trailer. How many “missed connections” stories have you been getting because of this movie?
[Craigslist’s missed connections] is so interesting. I went on it for research and I found myself an hour later looking for me. And then I was like, “What am I doing?!” [Laughs.]
Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha is another exciting project. What do you think the film says about the generation raised on Friends and embodied by Girls?
I think this movie is about female friendship, and it’s also about women in their late 20s and that transition from girl to woman, and from college to career. And it’s about platonic love between two girls, and how that can be complex, especially at this age where you might not be the same person you were in college. It’s also a love story to New York City, and it’s a really special movie for me.
What’s the coolest thing about playing the legendary Patti Smith in the forthcoming movie CBGB?
I think you kind of answered the question [laughs]. She’s a huge icon, which actually was terrifying for me. I felt a lot of responsibility. I was such a fan, and I loved her book [Just Kids] and her music. I didn’t want to imitate her, and I didn’t want to do a caricature. Really, I was just trying to find some piece that I could hopefully convey.
You graduated from Parsons School of Design. What creative outlet does art provide that you don’t get through performing?
I think it's the other way around actually. I went to [Parsons] thinking I wanted to be a visual artist, and it wasn’t giving me enough. Then, at night, I went to acting class, and I started to realize, “This is where I want to be; this is what I want to do. I want to use my body, I want to use my voice, and this is it.” I haven’t really done any art since I graduated four years ago. But it’s something I think I’ll go back to.
What’s the best advice your famous parents [Sting and Trudie Styler] offered about a career in show business?
Work hard. As long as I work hard, they are supportive of me. I think it’s very good advice for anyone in any business.
Check out Mickey Sumner now through March 31 in The Lying Lesson at the Atlantic Theater.