But at the same time, life is anything but ordinary for the 17-year-old from Dallas. The job she’s driving to isn’t your usual shift at the Orange Julius or the T-Mobile kiosk at the Galleria—it’s rehearsals for the fourth season of Last Man Standing, the ABC sitcom in which she stars as Tim Allen’s youngest daughter, the wisecracking tomboy Eve Baxter. And those friends on her Instagram? They’re people like Ansel Elgort and Jennifer Garner, co-stars of Men, Women & Children, the new Jason Reitman movie that’s poised to make her a star.
If her young life had gone differently, Dever—with the slight twang of a Texas accent—says she’d “probably be back in Dallas and going to school and just living that life. Going to high school, coming home.” Soccer and guitar practice would be on her schedule, but that’s not the case anymore. Even as a young girl Dever had plans for a different life. She began asking her parents to let her act at age 6 and—after being discovered at a showcase at her Texas acting school led to an agent and a string of successful Hollywood auditions—she booked her first: a Mattel Barbie ad. That life now seems a million miles away.
In Men, Women & Children, Dever plays another teen that’s just slightly out of the ordinary, Brandy Beltmeyer, a high schooler whose mother takes helicopter parenting to a new level by tracking her every online move. Dever’s character is just one of many intersecting plotlines that explore the way our lives—and our very identities—are affected by social media.
On the film’s explorations of the ubiquitous yet uncertain impact of Internet culture, she says, “After watching the film for the first time, my heart was just beating really, really fast. I think what it did for me is just make me more aware of things…it made me put down my phone a little bit more… Jason Reitman, our director, wanted to make a film that would scare people, and I think it does.”
The breakout role was a coup for the actress, who read and reread the script to help imagine her character’s albatross. It also adds a dramatic turn to a career that includes roles in the upcoming films The Greens are Gone, starring Catherine Keener and Maya Rudolph, and Laggies, in which she plays a comedic foil opposite Chloë Grace Moretz. And with the impending Oscar lying ahead, as well as writing, directing, and music—she’s recording an EP with her sister—Dever is happy exactly where she is right now.
“It's absolutely my favorite thing,” she says. “I love being different people.” And with movie stardom on the horizon, Dever is still savoring the hard-won opportunities to try on other lives—if only for a moment—though she wouldn’t picture hers any other way.
Photographer: Paul Empson for OpusReps.com. Stylist: Jimi Urquiaga for opusbeauty.com Hair: Christian Wood for thewallgroup.com. Makeup: Dawn Broussard for thewallgroup.com. Manicure: Whitney Gibson for nailinghollywood.com.
Beauty Notes: Pressed powder in Flesh, duo eyeshadow in Bellissima and Brousse, and Larger than Life Volumnizing Mascara, and Pure Sheer SPF Lip treatment in Bianca by Nars.