When asked if breakout actor Angourie Rice has any hobbies other than stealing our hearts in whatever role she plays on screen, she tells me her big two are knitting and baking. She chuckles, comparing herself to an old lady, “When I’m not working, I like to make things that are tangible because I spend so much time making something where I don’t even know what it’s going to look like. When I bake, though, I make it and I can hold it and touch it, and then I get the instant reward of getting to eat it.” Lucky for us, we can click play on nearly every major streamer and watch Rice conquer a character with conviction and intention. This is our version of instant gratification, no flour or eggs needed.
Rice’s résumé would most definitely need stapling. The twenty-two-year-old actor’s first leading role was in the Paramount+ original movie Honor Society in which she played the lead role of Honor. Later that year, she would take on the role of the high school-age version of Rebel Wilson’s character Stephanie in the Netflix comedy Senior Year. Perhaps her most popular role is that of rebellious yet clever Siobhan in the HBO limited series Mare of Easttown alongside Kate Winslet. The series follows detective Mare Sheehan (Winslet) as she investigates a murder and confronts her personal life trials and tribulations. Rice also starred alongside Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home as Betty Brant.
Currently, you can see Rice on Apple TV+ and Hello Sunshine’s miniseries The Last Thing He Told Me alongside Jennifer Garner, who plays Hannah. The series follows a thrilling mystery based on Laura Dave’s New York Times bestseller of the same title. Rice plays Bailey, Hannah’s sixteen-year-old stepdaughter who is helping her uncover the mysterious disappearance of her husband Owen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), all while forming an unforeseen relationship.
While Rice is able to effortlessly breathe life into characters and personalities so different from her own, playing the part of Bailey has been a special and personal process for the actor. “I think something I really admire about Bailey is how headstrong she is. Bailey is so sure of who she knows, how she knows people, and what she wants, and I really admire that.” Rice reflects, “That’s something I want to bring into my own life because she’s so determined, and she won’t let anything shake her.” Though The Last Thing He Told Me is emotionally evocative and suspenseful, filming the miniseries has had some bright moments. Rice recalls the rain machine they brought in for filming Episode Two, how cheerful she felt under the man-made raindrops showering her from above. Maybe the secret to Rice’s outstanding performance is her ability to bring a bit of carefree joy to every set.
A miniseries may be short, but they require jampacking incredible storytelling, character development, and entertainment into the little time we do have with the actors. Rice uses her time with us perfectly, leaving the viewer wanting season after season. She tackles Bailey’s desperation with a sense of honesty and rawness. “I think one of my favorite things about playing Bailey was how immediate her character is, you know, she is so thrown into the moment. And she has no time to breathe and sort of get time to herself. She’s constantly in crisis mode.”
During Rice’s seasoned acting career there have been both refreshing moments and challenging ones. She recalls filming a breakdown scene in Episode Five of Mare of Easttown when Siobhan confronts her mother about what she should have done differently. The vulnerable and heartwrenching scene struck home for both Rice and many viewers. “Getting into that headspace feels uncomfortable,” Rice recalls. “Because it’s not really a space that you want to live in for very long. Even the character doesn’t want to live in that space. It’s unbearable.” We have all been that restless teenager or had a difficult confrontation with a parental figure–it’s an organic yet sensitive experience. Rice personifies that agonizing moment with ease, of course at the cost of her own comfort while filming the scene. “It really made an impact on me because I connected with that scene, and it felt like a truly vulnerable moment of a child telling a parental figure that they should have been there when they weren’t.”
Our dreams are often conventional. Some want luxury, others love or happiness. What do these have in common? Comfort. We desire pleasantries and contentment. Rice couldn’t disagree more. She craves a challenge, the very opposite of comfort. She likes to test her limits and find new ways to better herself. Her dreams include everything but the ordinary. It translates all the way to her hopes for her acting career, “I would really love to do something that is more dance-heavy, or something that’s very physical that requires training. I think the preparation aspect of film and TV is what I really love, anything that requires me to learn a lot about something that I’ve never discovered before.”
Rice has already accomplished what many hope to in a decades-long career. Yet, she is humble and grateful, her demeanor is sweet and intentional, and there is not a hint of selfishness in the way she presents herself. Being in an industry that can often make you feel like a fish in a fishbowl can be strenuous for someone merely in their 20s, but Rice makes the absolute most of it all while inspiring those who religiously follow her. “The more I work with young people, the more I build up a community of working actors my age. We’re kind of united in that we have this experience of being a person in their 20s, trying to figure out where to live, and what projects to take. I think the more community I create, the more comfortable I feel moving in these spaces.” Rice’s influence as a young actor extends beyond her on-screen performance. She has taken it upon herself to create a tangible way for her fans to explore the media universe by creating a podcast called The Community Library, where Rice delves into her love of literature and takes her listeners along with her. “I wanted to create a space that made analyzing stories and talking about stories very accessible, not this highbrow literary thing you need to go to university for, because I didn’t go to university,” says Rice. “The way that I talk about and analyze stories is from reading and learning, both from other people online and with books.”
Rice will soon be able to add author to her list of many qualifications. She is writing a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in present-day Sydney and Hollywood with her mother Kathryn Rice, which is set to release in November. “Writing with someone else is easier because you have someone to hold you accountable. I found that writing is problem-solving and it’s really good to have someone else there to help you with that.”
A new book isn’t the only exciting new project around the corner. Although much of it remains hush-hush, Rice is elated about her upcoming role as Cady in Mean Girls from Paramount Pictures, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. The movie is still in production but is already receiving abuzz about Rice’s highly anticipated performance alongside co-stars Reneé Rapp, Auli’i Cravalho, and Jaquel Spivey. “There was no moment of like, ‘oh this isn’t what I thought it was gonna be.’ It was exactly what I wanted it to be,” she beams. “It was being in a movie musical. It was the best experience.
From writing, to acting, to singing, Rice’s days are more like thrilling itineraries. Most importantly Rice knows how and when to push herself. This year, she ponders not only what it means to be a star, but also what it means to experience simply being human. “I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries and about burnout, and understanding when I’m too tired and understanding when to take a break. If I can only give 75% on any given day, that’s still technically 100% because that is the most I could do.” Perhaps we could all use a little break and a pause to fully evolve as people. We can thank Rice for the advice.
Photographed by Bryan Carr
Written by Eloisa de Farias
Styled by Britton Litow
Hair: Rena Calhoun
Makeup: Katrina Klein
Flaunt Film: Isaac Dektor
Styling Assistants: Claire Casto and Brittany Williams