AMAZ­ING GRACE

Ac­tor GUM­MER plays fash­ion model in Max Mara’s luxe new-sea­son coats. By NATASHA SILVA-JELLY

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - Pho­tographed by JEN­NIFER LIV­INGSTON

Ac­tor Grace Gum­mer is a woman on the rise.

ONE OF HOL­LY­WOOD’S bright­est new stars strolls into the cookie shop across from her Brook­lyn, New York, apart­ment with a warm smile, arms out­stretched. She’s ca­su­ally dressed for the hu­mid sum­mer af­ter­noon in crisp head-to-toe white, which ac­cen­tu­ates her strik­ing blue eyes set against long rust-coloured locks, dyed for her role in the cy­ber-thriller se­ries Mr. Ro­bot. Over tea, the ac­tor, Grace Gum­mer, is friendly and to­tally at ease — a far cry, she says, from ear­lier in the week, when she stepped into the role of fash­ion model for a BAZAAR shoot to cel­e­brate Women In Film, a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­motes equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for women in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. “I really un­der­stand why su­per­mod­els are paid a gazil­lion dol­lars,” says Gum­mer, 31. “It’s 95 de­grees [35 de­grees Cel­sius] and I’m wear­ing wool pants and cash­mere sweaters, cars [are] com­ing in ev­ery di­rec­tion and the pho­tog­ra­pher is like, ‘Smile, OK, back, front, turn around and hop in the air.’”

Mod­el­ling may be out of the or­di­nary for her, but play­ing a char­ac­ter comes far more eas­ily. She por­trays the brash FBI field agent Do­minique “Dom” Dip­ierro in Mr. Ro­bot, now in its third sea­son.to prep for the part, Gum­mer shad­owed real FBI agents, and says the show’s plot has left her with a healthy dose of para­noia (Dom is out to stop a hacker hell-bent on bring­ing down cor­po­rate Amer­ica).“i use en­cryp­tion apps for texts and calls,” she says. As for the hair, “I like it red. Peo­ple no­tice me more, and I don’t think that’s nec­es­sar­ily for my work.”

The Ital­ian lux­ury fash­ion brand Max Mara — a long-time part­ner of the an­nual Women In Film Max Mara Face of the Fu­ture Award, which hon­ours the young gen­er­a­tion of stars on the rise, em­bod­ied by Gum­mer — would no doubt dis­agree.“grace is an ac­tress who com­bines a strong tal­ent with a play­ful­ness, orig­i­nal­ity and in­tel­li­gence that’s also ex­pressed through her style,” says Maria Gi­u­lia Maramotti, Max Mara’s di­rec­tor of re­tail in the US.

Gum­mer, who stud­ied art his­tory and Ital­ian at Newyork’svas­sar Col­lege, con­sid­ered be­com­ing a cos­tume de­signer un­til a the­atredi­rec­tor friend sent her a script and she de­cided she’d rather say the lines than cre­ate the clothes. She caught her first big break in 2011, in the Broad­way re­vival of Ar­ca­dia, which led to roles in high­pro­file TV shows such as The News­room, Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Freak Show and Good Girls R`evolt, in which she por­trayed a young Nora Ephron. (In­ci­den­tally, Gum­mer’s mother, Meryl Streep, a close friend of the late writer-di­rec­tor, also played a ver­sion of Ephron, in the lightly fic­tion­alised 1986 film Heart­burn.)

The ac­tor has two projects com­ing up on the big screen.“i just filmed Beast of Bur­den with Daniel Rad­cliffe,” she says.“it’s a very cool Bon­nie and Clyde-style crime thriller.” She’s also dip­ping her toes into com­edy with The Long Dumb Road.“it was just af­ter the elec­tion, and I wanted to laugh and make other peo­ple laugh. I’ll do what­ever I can get my hands on that means and says some­thing im­por­tant to the world.”

Asked who is on her di­rec­tor wish list, she is quick to name Paul Thomas An­der­son (“like a dream”) and Kelly Re­ichardt (“I want to work with more women”). And she finds in­spi­ra­tion in con­tem­po­raries Carey Mul­li­gan, Sarah Paul­son and Claire Danes. “They’re my friends, but I also love their work.”

Now her ca­reer is tak­ing off, Gum­mer says her wardrobe has had to play catch-up.“i don’t go to work in sweat­pants any­more,” she says, laugh­ing. “I’m a lit­tle bolder now. Maybe it’s the hair.”

“It was just af­ter the [US] elec­tion, and I wanted to laugh and make other peo­ple laugh. I’ll do what­ever I can get my hands on that means and says some­thing im­por­tant to the world.”

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