Lia Frankland has a pet lovebird named Twinkie, loves to make slime, and is in the process of learning Spanish.
It’s the stuff childhood is built on, and Frankland’s enthusiasm burns bright when she talks about her favourite things. “Her name was originally going to be Twinkle,” the 10-year-old says of her bird, over a warm glass of frothy milk at Pallet Coffee Roasters on West Broadway. “But I shortened it to Twinkie and she’s yellow so she looks like an actual Twinkie. I didn’t know what a Twinkie was at that time. I think they’re, like, ancient food.” She lets out a giggle.
Though Frankland currently sits happily scooping her foam with a spoon, she is not exactly the average kid. With a passion for acting developed at an exceptionally young age, the artist is well on her way to the career of her dreams; in fact, she can already count Charlize Theron and Mark Duplass among her costars. It’s hard not to be mesmerized by Frankland’s witty personality, and that is no doubt part of why acclaimed director Jason Reitman hired her for his new Focus Features film, Tully.
A realistic and honest portrayal of motherhood and postpartum depression, the third cinematic collaboration between Reitman and celebrated screenwriter Diablo Cody (releasing May 4, 2018) stars Academy Award-winner Theron as Marlo, a sleep-deprived mother of three who nearly loses control of her life and family before reconsidering a gift from her brother: a night nanny. Joining Theron on the silver screen is Ron Livingston, Duplass, and on-the-rise Vancouver-born actress Mackenzie Davis.
For her feature debut, Frankland plays Theron’s eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, an adorably outspoken girl who has to navigate a complicated relationship with her mother, all while quietly tackling the self-doubt that comes with growing up. For Frankland, a big part of what made the job special was her chance to work alongside Theron. “She is such a great actress,” Frankland says of her costar. “She’s super nice and welcoming. It was an honour to get to work with her. She’s just amazing at what she does.”
Tully began production in 2016 in Vancouver, allowing Frankland to work in locations like Point Grey, Killarney, and Pacific Spirit Regional Park, and then go to sleep in her own bed at night. It was in her home that she first realized she wanted to be an actor: “One time I pointed at the TV and I said, ‘I want to be on TV! How can I be on TV?’” Soon after, she convinced her school-focused parents to put her in acting class on the weekends, and it became apparent that she had an affinity for the craft.
Even Reitman, the Golden Globe Award-winning director behind Juno and Up in the Air, recognizes her talent. “I loved getting to work with him,” Frankland gushes. “I remember this time when we were doing a scene, and he was telling all the actors what they should do differently, and he said to me, ‘Lia, just keep doing what you’re doing.’ I found that pretty good because I always want to do what the director says.”
Frankland reunited with Tully’s cast and crew on premiere night in Los Angeles in April. “I was so excited to see everyone again,” she says. “The last time I saw them was a year and a half ago. We got so close after only a couple weeks of filming it was hard to say goodbye.” She wore a pink dress to the film, ate chocolate mousse, and revelled in the wonders of the red carpet. Although her parents weren’t going to let her see the movie due to its R rating, Frankland proved to be quite persuasive, promising to leave the theatre during certain parts or have her eyes covered when need be. “When I was eight, I asked Jason Reitman on the last day if I could watch the movie,” Frankland, who still has a lot of questions about the film, explains. “He said maybe in a couple years. But by a couple he actually meant a lot. But a couple actually means two, and it’s been two years, so I was actually due to watch it. I had to listen to the director!”
Another giggle follows. Frankland embodies the very essence of young Hollywood: magic, charisma, and dedication. Her dream is to act alongside Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia 3! or sing Cups with Anna Kendrick from Pitch Perfect. The coffee shop in which Frankland currently sits in gets a little brighter when she talks about her dreams.
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