Why McKenna Grace is 'honored' to play younger versions of actresses like Margot Robbie, Brie Larson in movies

At only 16, Mckenna Grace already has 70 credits on her IMDb page – a stunning amount of work for one of the most successful and prolific child actors of her generation. Included in that impressive output: Grace has become Hollywood's go-to actress to play younger versions of grown-up characters, syncing performances with bold-faced names like Margot Robbie (2017's I, Tonya), Brie Larson (2019's Captain Marvel), Amanda Seyfried (2020's Scoob!), Jennifer Morrison (2011-2018's Once Upon a Time) and more. Many more.

"I wrote it down because it's so funny to me. I think that I've played 12 or 13 younger versions," Grace laughs in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment. "But it's definitely been a lot of what I've did.

"I'm honored to have played any of the younger versions, because I find that so many of these women that I get to work with are so strong and cool and such great role models for me as a young girl, as a young woman in the industry. It's been really cool to be able to talk so many people and hear their input and information on the industry and what it's like for them."

Mckenna Grace in 'I, Tonya' (Neon)
Mckenna Grace in I, Tonya. (Neon)

Grace does not play a younger Anna Paquin in her latest project, the Peacock drama series A Friend of the Family, but she also relished working with the actress who won an Academy Award at age 11 for her breakout role in The Piano.

"It was really cool for me to be able to work with her because it's not every day that I get to work with somebody who was a child actor and is now an adult," Grace says. "And not somebody who was a female child actor and is now an adult. And not somebody who's had such a successful and insane career like she has from such a young age."

In the nine-episode miniseries, Grace stars as Jan Broberg, the real-life Idaho teen who kidnapped twice by close family friend Robert Berchtold (Jake Lacy). Paquin costars as her mother Mary Ann, while Colin Hanks plays her father Bob.

Mckenna Grace in 'A Friend of the Family' (Peacock)
Mckenna Grace in A Friend of the Family. (Peacock)

Grace has appeared in her fair share of dark and scary fare, including Malignant and The Haunting of Hill House (and yep, she played younger versions of adult characters in both of those projects, too.) But Friend hit a particular nerve.

"I was very shocked hearing the story for the first time and watching the documentary and reading the scripts," she says. "I couldn't believe that this happened. But what was even scarier was I like, 'Wow, this did happen?' And [how] this could happen to anyone.

"I think that's what makes this show so much scarier than any horror film or any fiction, is that it's real."

-Interview conducted and video produced by Kyle Moss; edited by Steve Michel

A Friend of the Family is now streaming on Peacock.

Watch the trailer: