Every few years a new actress is dubbed Hollywood’s “it” girl. Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie, and Alicia Vikander are some recent examples. It would appear that the press has found its latest one in American actress Haley Bennett.
Raised in rural Ohio, the now 28-year-old had a tomboy upbringing. She rode four-wheelers and learned how to fire a shotgun. Having spent most of her time with her family in the woods, she says she had no formal training before she started her career. Bennett had only done high school plays before she moved out to Hollywood and picked a random acting studio out of the phone book. Within a few months, she found an agent and her first notable role at the age of 19, as popstar Cora Corman in the 2007 Hugh Grant-Drew Barrymore rom-com Music and Lyrics.
The years that followed would see Bennett get consistent work in several different projects, but her current ascent can be traced to the 2014 Denzel Washington action film The Equalizer. It was there that she worked with director Antoine Fuqua, who found himself impressed with the young actor and wound up recommending her to other filmmakers.
Word must have spread quickly, because Bennett has been all over the place in 2016. She is, of course, playing Megan in the soon-to-be-released The Girl on the Train, but previously this year she was in Hardcore Henry as well as The Magnificent Seven. When Yahoo Movies met with her for that junket, she joked about how she got the part. “I’m in Denzel’s contract, so from The Equalizer, from here on out he’s just decided to put me in all his movies,” she told Senior Editor Kevin Polowy dryly.
She’s not done in 2016. She landed a prominent part in Warren Beatty’s long-anticipated Howard Hughes movie, Rules Don’t Apply. Then 2017 will see other high-profile projects — Terrence Malik’s Weightless and as Miles Teller’s co-star in Thank You for Your Service.
Bennett, who said she’s often mistaken for Jennifer Lawrence by fans, said she’s wary of being dubbed an “it” girl, telling IndieWire, “There’s no good context on ‘it.’ ‘It’ is a clown. A very scary clown. That’s a good way of thinking. I don’t want to be a scary clown.” Of course, time will pass, and that title will be bestowed on someone else, but considering the great work she’s been doing, it seems Bennett is here to stay.
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