“You are a part of a large community of fierce artists” — Marielle Scott
The actress talks about life after Lady Bird, her upcoming projects, and her advice for aspiring actors.
You have definitely seen Marielle Scott on screen. She made her silver screen debut in Greta Gerwig’s film Lady Bird, playing Shelly Yuhan — the girlfriend of Lady Bird’s older brother. On TV, she has appeared in the Duplass Brothers’ HBO drama Room 104, and plays Lucy in the Netflix thriller You. During this period of quarantine, Scott took the time to share a little bit about her journey, her upcoming projects, and her advice for actors trying to break into film and TV.
A Look at Her Latest Project
For starters, congratulations on your role in the new limited series for FX, A Teacher, which will be premiering this summer! Can you tell us a little bit about the project, and how you got onboard?
Thank you so much! I am super excited about A Teacher, it’s a pretty sexy show, I’m not going to lie! It is both controversial and intriguing, all wrapped up into one crazy story. The series is about a senior in High School — played by Nick Robinson (Love, Simon) — who begins to have an affair with a teacher at the local high school, played by Kate Mara (Pose, House of Cards). The show is a compilation of a ton of news stories that have surfaced over the last five years, and examines society’s reaction to the love affair, as well as how we as a society treat the victim versus the accused, and how that varies based on gender. I auditioned for the role on a Wednesday, and by Friday I was attached. It was a really fast process.
You play Megan Denhoff in Universal’s drama All My Life, which will be out later this year. The script was featured on The Black List in 2017, and tells the story of a young couple who receive some devastating news while planning their wedding. What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?
I would say that if the audience could walk away with one thing, it would be that if you believe in something, someone, a concept, do everything in your power to protect it. This beautiful couple not only believed in each other, but they decided that even a heart-wrenching call from the doctor would not take them down. They decided to believe in love. I really feel strongly that we can choose what we believe in. Each morning we make a decision, am I going to move towards love today, or fear?
I play Megan, the best friend of the couple who supports them in their choice to stay together, despite the inevitable challenges. Ok, maybe I want the audience to take away two things! I also want the audience to think about the idea of friendship, and how it is just as important in our lives as romantic love. This couple could have not prevailed if it weren’t for their community. We all need community. Mine is crazy but I love them, and don’t know what I would do without them. Don’t tell them I said that! The crazy part, not the love part!
You received your BA in acting from UCLA. What did you find to be the most beneficial thing about going to college for acting, and what was that first year out of school like for you?
Oh, my first year out of college was hard! I had a really hard time. Thank God for therapy! Each day I felt like I was floundering. I do not come from an industry family, I didn’t know anyone in the entertainment industry at all. I also had never been alone for that much of the day, because I had always been in school and had structure, so I was going a little crazy without it. It took me about two years to find a routine that worked for me. I created a schedule for myself, which included logging onto Actors Access and submitting myself for parts. I drove all around town going to auditions, never even getting one. I didn’t know how to deal with the rejection, I thought “Oh, it must be me. I am the reason. What is wrong with me?” I had just come out of UCLA, a very cushy environment where, sure, I was rejected plenty, but it wasn’t like this! But UCLA instilled a strong work ethic and a network of friends who I could lean on. My roommate at the time, Erica, helped me through that a lot. She suggested acting classes, headshot photographers, we would run lines. She was a big support.
Life After Lady Bird
How did your career change after the success of Lady Bird ?
I would say that Lady Bird, because nobody expected it to do as well as it did, was a slow kind of burn. It was like pushing a boulder up a hill, and then suddenly you get to the top and things snowball. It was my first movie, so it definitely helped me get my foot in the door.
2020 is going to be quite the year for you, as your movie The Friend is set to come out this year! What was it like working alongside Casey Affleck, Jason Segal, Gwendoline Christie, and Dakota Johnson? What did you learn?
What didn’t I learn! It was insane. I was sitting there in a room with these titans, and just hoping that I didn’t make a total fool of myself. Jason taught me to never take anything personally. Casey has this reckless way of acting that was so inspiring. He acts with complete abandon and confidence. It was such a masterclass.
I know it’s a challenge, but just know that we have all felt it, we continue to feel it, and you are a part of a large community of fierce artists who are committed to telling great stories
You also play Lucy on the popular Netflix series You. What have you found to be the biggest difference between acting for film and acting for television?
I think for me the biggest difference between the two mediums is pace. When you are filming a show, you cover way more pages in a day then on a film set. Both are completely exhilarating in their own way. It’s like having two kids, you just can’t have favorites! In TV you do not have the luxury of time, which the actor can benefit from because it prevents you from getting in your head. On a film set, you can marinate on the moment a bit more, which produces something juicy and spontaneous all on its own. Both are wonderful. Greta Gerwig directs features, but her technique is a lot like TV — fast paced and punctual. She will not let her actors get in their heads.
What advice do you have for someone trying to break into film or television?
I would say join an acting class that you feel safe in, but also challenges you. I would say talk about your experience with your friends and family so they can better understand what we go through on a daily basis. Also, get specific about what type of stories you want to tell. I made a list of all of the shows I wanted to be on and who I could be on said show. That way when an agent or casting director asked me what kind of thing I wanted to work on, I was ready because I had done my research.
With COVID-19 forcing everyone indoors, what are you doing with this time?
First off, I hope that everyone reading this is healthy and safe at home. I know that this is a very scary time for us all, and I know we’ll make it through. I am actually taking a Shakespeare class online! We are investigating what Hamlet’s Ghost means in literary history, and how it shaped plays. Ohhh, and I am watching Tiger King!
What’s next for you?
I am set to work on a Bill Burr show date TBD as of now. But who knows what next! That’s the fun of being an actor.
Is there anything I should have asked, or anything you would like people to know about you?
I want stress that you can totally do this job. No, it’s not easy, yes you will probably need therapy, but it is worth it if you love it, truly love it, it is worth it. It was very comforting in the beginning to know that every actor who you love up there on the screen has felt what you are feeling. They have been rejected, they have had days where they think it is impossible or just sat down and cried at the table. I know it’s a challenge, but just know that we have all felt it, we continue to feel it, and you are a part of a large community of fierce artists who are committed to telling great stories.
Know an actor who should be interviewed? Drop me a line here.
Never miss a story! Join the mailing list here.