From a 2013 Tony nomination to a major role in this month's much-anticipated Gone Girl, Carrie Coon is ready to break out as a full-fledged star.
Carrie Coon made her Broadway debut in Steppenwolf’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2011, and now she’s lighting up the silver screen in Gone Girl with Ben Affleck.
Carrie Coon’s recent acting projects have taken her all over the country, but she and her husband, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Tony Award-winning actor Tracy Letts, still call Chicago home when they’re not filming. Michigan Avenue recently sat down with the Ohio native to talk about her unusual start in the industry, her character in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, and what she has coming up next.
You sort of fell into acting...
I didn’t really get into acting until my senior year of high school when I did one play. I was waiting for soccer practice to start, and I auditioned for the school play and got the lead in Our Town. Then I went to college in Ohio at the University of Mount Union, and it was a small enough school that I could do a play my freshman year—it was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was able to make time in that four years for studying abroad, playing sports, and doing a little bit of theater.
What prompted you to explore the stage further?
It was during my senior year; I was doing my thesis in language acquisition for my English major, and I thought I was going to study linguistics. Then my professor in the theater department encouraged me to do the University/Resident Theatre Association auditions in Chicago. At that time it was a lot less common for people to go from undergrad right to graduate school; the economy was still pretty good, so schools wanted you to have experience in your field before you went. As a last resort, UW Madison took me. I think everybody else had turned them down.
Your big break came soon after you graduated.
My third play in Chicago was Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Steppenwolf in 2010, and that went to Broadway. I worked really hard in the theater there, and then we took off for New York at the end of 2011. We did our Broadway run, I got the Tony nomination, and I was more or less engaged to Tracy by then. We met the first day of rehearsals.
What a year!
In 2013, the Tonys were in June. I booked The Leftovers [on HBO] in July, and I think I booked Gone Girl in August off of a tape I made in my living room in Chicago. And I got married at the end of August.
Tell us more about your character in Gone Girl.
I play Go, the twin sister of lead character Nick Dunne [played by Ben Affleck]. Nick is accused of killing his wife, and his twin sister is his only ally. They both come back to Missouri to take care of their mother, and she passes away. Then they’re both just in Missouri, perhaps having given up on the rest of their lives. The circumstances feel very real to me. The possibility is always around the corner.
Would you ever want to write or direct?
I’m not there yet. I feel like that’s a tremendous amount of responsibility that I’m not educated enough—in the street sense—to take on. I’m just going to be an actor for now. It’s been a pretty good year.