Actress Alison Pill is One to Watch
by scott huver
Actress Alison Pill is taking Hollywood by storm.
"I've never been famous," says Alison Pill with a hint of pride at her presumably low public profile. "I'm just a working actor."
But the 26-year-old Toronto native—who has of late quietly racked up an impressive array of eye-catching credits working for big-league directors in films including Milk, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Midnight in Paris—should brace herself for that to change. TV audiences are about to "discover" Pill in her next project, The Newsroom, already the subject of much buzz thanks to a pedigree that includes wildly admired wordsmith Aaron Sorkin and the highly acclaimed network HBO.
"I feel very close to Maggie Jordan," says Pill of her role in the ensemble drama set at a fictional cable news channel that seems crafted specifically for her. "I was confused as to how Aaron had written a part for me—about me—and didn't know me." An awkward, ambitious young woman making her way in New York's still-male-dominated field of broadcast news while juggling the inherent dramas of navigating her 20s? Pill gets it: "For a lot of overachieving women, it's an awkward time, because you're trying to figure out a lot of things at once."
Ironically, she comes to the role confidently, though she's yet to visit a real-life newsroom for inspiration. "The thing about Sorkin is that he literally gives you everything you need," she says. "There's very little I have to figure out on my own." And the rhythms of his signature rapid-fire dialogue, she believes, are coded in her DNA. "I watched every episode of The West Wing I don't know how many times. I'd seen Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and I'd grown up with his movies like The American President. I feel like it's in my bones."
If Sorkin's attentions weren't enough, she's working with another iconic auteur—again: Pill reunites with Woody Allen (who wrote and directed Midnight in Paris) for June's To Rome with Love. "I play an American girl who goes to Rome and falls in love with an Italian man," she says. "Her parents have to meet the family, and craziness ensues." And she's working with Allen on camera as well this time. "It was amazing to watch that transition from Woody Allen [the director] to Woody Allen [the performer]. As a director, he's usually in the corner somewhere, and he talks very softly. As a performer there were takes where I'd just be sitting there going, Thank God I'm off camera, because I'm choking trying not to laugh!"
As to the question of her probably fleeting anonymity, Pill—engaged to actor Jay Baruchel, whom she met while costarring with him in the movie Goon, the hockey comedy he also penned—posits that even if she becomes famous, she may never know it. "My fiancé and I have a house in Montreal, and when I'm not working, that's where I want to be. I don't know whether my life will change so drastically when I'm going to the Provigo and getting groceries," she says. "I don't think anybody in Montreal is going to be too chuffed about it."
Photography by david needleman; styling by hope hanafin; hair and makeup by jeffrey paul at exclusive artists management. Shirt and belt, h&m. Sweater, abercrombie & fitch. Skirt, paul smith. Shoes, nine west. Jewelry, stylist's own. Shot on location at the redbury.
LAC celebrates the women of its May/June 2013 issue at Palihouse in West Hollywood.