On Sunday morning, Variety hosted its annual 10 Actors to Watch panel at the Hamptons International Film Festival, with honorees Tye Sheridan (“The Tree of Life”), Kaitlyn Dever (“Laggies”) and Lola Kirke (“Gone Girl”).
After the Q&A moderated by Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos, the actors joined Hilary Swank at a brunch presented by Montblanc at the Maidstone Hotel. Swank received Variety’s Creative Impact in Acting Award.
“It’s truly an honor to be able to tell people stories in a couple of hours,” Swank said. “I became an actor because I love people. It gives me an opportunity to stretch myself, but it makes my life richer because of it.” Swank gave the young actors in attendance some advice. “I hope that you don’t ever feel afraid to fall on your face,” she said.
The panel featured stories about breaking into acting at an early age and navigating the tricky world of agents, managers and auditions.
Sheridan said 10,000 other actors tried out for his breakout role in “Tree of Life.” After starring in the drama with Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, he had to fight for his next role. “I spent three years in Texas sending tapes,” he said. At 14, he finally got a part as one of the boys in “Mud,” starring Matthew McConaughey.
“Someone I try to emulate is James Dean,” said Sheridan, who is now 17. “I read he would sit for 2.5 hours and listen to classic music before a scene.”
Kirke said she had to audition to land her role in “Gone Girl” as a Greta, who befriends Amy in the trailer park. “I always have to audition,” Kirke said. “I was stuffing Skittles in my mouth during the entire audition because I thought that would be a fun way to approach the character.”
All the actors said their parents were a source of calm in the Hollywood business. “I still don’t know how much money I make,” said Dever, 17, who also appears in the Jason Reitman drama “Men, Women & Children.” “My parents take care of all of that. I think it’s cool.”
Other guests at the Variety brunch included director Lynn Shelton, actor Nolan Gerard Funk, Hamptons executive director Anne Chaisson, festival chairman Stuart Match Suna and Maidstone Hotel owner Jenny Ljungberg.
Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch franchise has in the past recognized such young talent as Lupita Nyong’o, Brie Larson, Emily Blunt and Dane DeHaan.