Kathryn Newton Talks ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘Lady Bird’

We caught up with actress Kathryn Newton at the New York Film Festival premiere of “Lady Bird.”

Newton is having a great year. She played Reese Witherspoon’s daughter in the Emmy Award winning HBO show Big Little Lies, plays Saoirse Ronan’s classmate in Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird and also stars in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. 

Tell us a little bit about your role in this film.

Kathryn Newton: So, in Lady Bird I play this character named Darlene and she’s this nerd and she has hair slicked back in a braid, and has a rolling backpack, and is very focused and driven, and kind of has funny posture. But it was a very fun role to play because deep down that’s exactly who I am as a person. A lot of people don’t think that, but yep, she was me.

Speak about working with Greta and what you loved about the story.

Kathryn Newton: Well, I am a huge fan of Greta Gerwig. So to be able to be part of her body of work was really special to me and her directorial debut, and she killed it, and you knew she would. So it was a dream come true.

And everyone loved Big Little Lies. It was one of the buzziest shows of the year. Can you speak about being a part of that project? 

Kathryn Newton: I had so much everyday on set and from that experience, tried to repeat it on every project. They were magic. Obviously Reese, everybody’s a magical person, and I learned a lot from them, and they made me better, and that’s all I can hope to do on the next one.

And you also have Three Billboards coming out and that’s been a very buzzy title as well. Can you tell us a little bit about your role in that?

Kathryn Newton: I played Frances McDormand’s daughter who is raped, murdered, and killed. It’s really sad and then the story is about her avenging the murder. And it’s a very heartbreaking kind of a thing because when you call someone on the phone, you know, like your mom or your dad and you’re like, “I love you, bye.” We don’t really get that moment, and then it’s over and she’s gone. And so, there’s an element of make every thing count as well. Working on that was really fun. Martin McDonagh is a playwright so we had some intense rehearsals for it, which I was new to, and loved it. Now all I wanna do is have rehearsals.

How was working with Frances?

Kathryn Newton: Oh, she’s the best. She’s a force of nature. Every time I saw her, I wanted to have things written down to say. You know what I mean?

She’s getting a lot of buzz about her performance. Are you excited about that?

Kathryn Newton: I’m so happy for her. She’s incredible. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I already know it’s gonna be great.

What’s next for you?

Kathryn Newton: I just finished Little Women for the BBC. It’s gonna be their Christmas special coming out. And I have a Universal film called The Pact, coming out around prom. Which was produced by Seth Rogan and it’s directed by a female director named, Kay Cannon.

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