Lu­cas Hedges

Newsweek International - - CONTENTS - —Maria Vul­t­ag­gio

If you’re look­ing for clues to the rise of 22-year-old lu­cas Hedges, who broke through (and of­ten stole) the 2017 film Manch­ester

by the Sea, be­gin with his fa­ther, Peter, who wrote the screen­plays for two films fea­tur­ing as­ton­ish­ing per­for­mances by young ac­tors: 1993’s What’s Eat­ing Gil­bert Grape, star­ring Leonardo Dicaprio, and 2002’s About a Boy, with Ni­cholas Hoult. He has also writ­ten his son’s lat­est film, Ben Is Back, with Hedges as Ben, a re­cov­er­ing ad­dict who breaks out of a sober-liv­ing fa­cil­ity to re­con­nect with his fam­ily for Christ­mas. His mother, Holly, is played by Ju­lia Roberts, whose de­vo­tion is tested when she’s ex­posed to the truth about her son. Hedges got an Os­car nod for Manch­ester, and there’s buzz build­ing for Ben too. In do­ing re­search for the part, the ac­tor’s views on ad­dic­tion shifted: “At this point, I wouldn’t just of­fer un­so­licited ad­vice to an ad­dict; that can be very trig­ger­ing,” Hedges tells Newsweek. “If they were to ask [for help], I’d rec­om­mend the 12-step pro­gram—i have com­plete faith in that.” How did you get into Ben’s head? I met with ad­dicts and went to Nar­cotics Anony­mous meet­ings— the movie is more about re­cov­ery than ad­dic­tion. We’re meet­ing Ben at a point where he’s made it hard for peo­ple to trust him, and when you’re sur­rounded by peo­ple who don’t trust you, you start trust­ing your­self less too. I’m a lot like Ben. I’m just sur­rounded by a friend­lier en­vi­ron­ment—one I helped cul­ti­vate, of course. But if you threw me into his world, it would be much harder for me to sur­vive. How did you and Ju­lia Roberts pre­pare for play­ing mother and son? She let me stay at her house for sev­eral days last Thanks­giv­ing to get to know her, her hus­band and kids. I keep com­ing back to an idea: that what makes Ju­lia Roberts such a great ac­tress is how rooted she is to be­ing a mother in her own life. It gives her some­thing to fight for and a sense that there are things big­ger than her­self. Ben tries to tell Holly about some­thing he’s done, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Does that make it harder for him? Holly isn’t the prob­lem; it has to do with Ben’s re­la­tion­ship with him­self. Most of my self-sab­o­tage comes from shame, and I think Ben feel­ing that he’s done some­thing un­for­giv­able feeds into the idea that there’s some­thing wrong with him, that he can’t be for­given—and that’s an iso­lat­ing mind­set.

“What makes Ju­lia Roberts such a great ac­tress is how rooted she is to be­ing a mother in her own life.”

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