There’s a college professor out there who deserves a very big thank you because that professor was instrumental to Carrie Coon’s journey to Hollywood. Coon has already given us loads to celebrate including a Tony Award nominated performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, phenomenal films like Gone Girl and The Post, and also some standout TV series, one of the most unforgettable of the bunch being The Leftovers. But, back in college, Coon wasn’t set on pursuing a career in acting. In fact, her career path could have taken her in eight other directions.
“I think so many actors know at a very young age that’s what they want to do and a lot of them even have experience when they’re young, and I had none. I had gone to college to play soccer in my home state at a Division III school, I changed majors eight times, I ended up as an English lit and Spanish lit double major with a minor in psychology just because those are the credits that I had.”
The school did have a theater program, but it was a small one so Coon only did five or six plays while she was there. That left her in a place where she was prioritizing another subject for graduate school – until a professor suggested that she consider taking a different path:
“When I was graduating, I was gonna study linguistics and I was getting ready to shop out my thesis for graduate programs. I would still be in school right now if I had done that! And I had a professor who said, ‘You should audition for graduate school for acting,’ and it was not something that had occurred to me.”
Whoever that professor is, job well done for spotting an immense natural talent because as you’ll see in this episode of Collider Ladies Night, Coon has already accomplished so much and has amassed quite the fanbase right here at Collider, and beyond. You can watch the full conversation in the video at the top of this article or using the podcast embed below to hear all about Coon’s transition from stage to screen, what it was like making her feature debut in a David Fincher movie, what to expect from the upcoming Julian Fellow’s series, The Gilded Age, and of course, what it was like making her latest release, The Nest, alongside Jude Law and director Sean Durkin.
The Nest hits select theaters on September 18th and then makes its way to VOD on November 17th.
- 00:43 – Coon looks back on watching movies with her grandparents and how those films have influenced her taste today.
- 02:35 – Playing older than her age; being far more lighthearted than the characters she plays.
- 03:10 – Saying yes to everything when she was first starting out.
- 03:56 – Coon changed majors eight times in undergrad; going to graduate school for acting wasn’t something that occurred to her until a professor suggested it.
- 07:35 – Why Coon didn’t immediately move to New York or Los Angeles.
- 09:15 – Coon looks back on stepping on a Broadway stage for the first time; what did she need to have in her dressing room?
- 10:30 – Was it a steady stream of opportunities after getting a Tony nomination?
- 11:40 – Coon talks about her collaboration with casting directors and how that end of the business is changing.
- 12:55 – How the pandemic is changing the film and television industry for the better and worse; Coon weighs in on the theater industry’s situation.
- 16:09 – Coon looks back on making her feature debut with Gone Girl; her experience working with David Fincher.
- 18:07 – On finding it difficult to admit you don’t know something and ask questions on set; how Coon learned from Tyler Perry on the set of Gone Girl.
- 19:38 – The director whose process most aligns with Coon’s and the director who challenged Coon to adapt the most.
- 21:11 – Coon revisits her experience working with Steven Spielberg on The Post.
- 22:14 – Coon weighs in on the tonal shift The Leftovers went through moving from Season 1 to Season 2.
- 24:10 – Coon revisits the ending of The Leftovers and whether or not Nora is telling the truth.
- 26:20 – What it was like making the decision to commit to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- 28:22 – The special experience of working with a film collective.
- 30:54 – Coon highlights women who are changing the film industry for the better.
- 32:10 – Coon has watched a film every single night of lockdown.
- 33:36 – What it was like shooting a good deal of The Nest with wider framing.
- 34:20 – What it’s like working with a script that says so much during dialogue-less moments.
- 35:19 – Coon teases her character in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
- 36:32 – The Gilded Age still has that Downton Abbey flavor, but it’s got unique qualities to it as well.
- 38:10 – Coon is a big reader; will she ever start a book club?
- 39:20 – Rapid fire questions begin! Find out what Coon collects, what meal she’d choose to eat for the rest of her life, if she still plays sports, and her biggest fear overcome.