Bubbly, beautiful and talented to boot: Hollywood had better brace itself for Emilia McCarthy. The 17-year-old actress is one of the busiest teens in the biz, landing roles in sitcoms (YTV’s Max & Shred) while starring opposite bona fide A-listers like Julianne Moore and John Cusack in David Cronenberg’s latest film, Maps to the Stars.
Emilia should be used to the spotlight by now, but the down-to-earth teenager is as grounded as ever. She tells Hello! that her friends back home in Hamilton, Ont. aren’t even phased by her star status. “They’re used to it now,” she laughs. “They’re like, ‘Oh, it’s just Emilia!'
We chatted with the up-and-comer about her biggest fan (mom!), dream costars and what it was like to meet Julianne Moore at 3 AM.
What was it like working with so many big names on Maps to the Stars?
It was such an honour. When I first met Julianne Moore, it was around three in the morning. She’s blond in the movie, but when you think Julianne Moore you think ‘redhead,’ right? So I was like half-asleep and this blond lady – a very nice blond lady – comes up to me and says, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and at first, I’m like, ‘Oh good, how are you.’ And then realize who she is, and I said, ‘Wait, you’re Julianne Moore!’ It was really funny, but thankfully she was the sweetest person, so it wasn't awkward or anything.
People are often really surprised to learn that you speak Spanish and your mom is Mexican.
Yeah, I get that a lot actually, just because I look so blond and white. It’s not the first thing people would think of me. But I like it because it’s something unique. Yes, I’m blond, but I also speak Spanish and have that Latina in me. It makes me stand apart.
How do you balance school with your acting life?
I’m in grade 12 so it's a big year for me. I haven’t been here most of the time and I really want to be there for prom. But there are tutors on set and that really helps.
Are you planning on buying yourself something special when you turn 18 next year?
Hopefully a condo in the city. I want to go to residence if I go to university next year - I really want to go to Ryerson for film studies – but it’d also be really great just to have my own place, maybe in Queen West.
Your mom must be so proud of you. Does she watch all of your shows and movies?
Oh, for sure! My mom watches everything I’m in religiously. Except for Hemlock Grove, because it’s a little gory and she can’t take that stuff. She’s really sensitive! [Laughs]
If you could work with anybody else who would be your dream costar?
I have a huge girl-crush on Michelle Williams. She’s such a chameleon. Every role she does is a completely different person, and as an actor that's the best compliment. If you can be versatile in each role then you’re doing your job right – and she most definitely does that.
What is one of your favourite roles she's tackled?
My Week with Marilyn! I thought it was so spot-on. Even just her look, the way she used her eyes and her facial expressions. That must have taken so much work to master.
Are you planning to make the big move to New York or LA one of these days?
With this business, you never know what’s going to happen, so I really just have to play everything by ear. It's so spontaneous, but I like that!