Even though it is in limited release Short Term 12 is, without a doubt, one of the most intense and satisfying films to come out this year. The film tells the story of a group of 20-somethings that run a foster care facility. What results is essentially a film about broken children being helped by broken adults.
It is clear from the start the staff at the facility can identify with those that are staying in its confines. Everyone there has seen troubled times, but together they find a way to work through it…most of them anyways. The film pulls no punches and oftentimes it feels as if the audience is watching more of a documentary than an indie film. While there are many subplots one of the defining stories revolves around supervisor Grace (played by the always amazing Brie Larson) and Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) a troubled youth with an abusive father that has all but abandoned her. Though older Grace clearly sees a lot of herself in Jayden and the two form a unique, often explosive bond.
Dever’s role is truly Oscar worthy and it is hard not to be moved by her intensity. Best known for playing Eve Baxter onLast Man Standing and Loretta McCready on Justified, Dever has already had a very fruitful career in acting. Press Pass LA sat down with her to discuss how she prepares for her roles and what is next on the horizon for her.
PPLA: This is a very intense and emotional role, how did you prepare for it?
KD: I read the script over and over so I knew the character like the back of my hand. I also just imagined what her life is like and reminded myself what awful things she has to go through every day.
PPLA: What attracted you to the film?
KD: The realness. Scripts like Destin’s don’t come around that often. It was so good and I really wanted to play Jayden because of her intensity.
PPLA: Is there anyone you modeled the role after?
KD: No, I had to kind of create my own character…and I like that. I did my own kind of research and found the character in my own way. Destin was really supportive of not only my ideas but also the rest of the cast’s ideas about their characters.
PPLA: You have two more movies in post-production Laggies and Grass Stains tell me about those.
KD: Laggies is a film I shot over the summer that I had tons of fun working on. I played sort of a party girl in that one…I was more of the comic relief of the film. I shot Grass Stains right after Laggies. It’s a very special script that I was very passionate about from the start. I play an innocent and sweet girl trying to forget about her brother’s death while discovering her first love. I cannot wait to talk more about these two films because I am so so excited about them!
PPLA: You’ve acted in a fair amount of both dramas and comedies, is there a certain genre you prefer? Is there a genre you would like to act in but haven’t yet? I
KD: f I had to choose I would choose drama. But I also love doing both and I also like to show people I can do both.
PPLA: What is your dream role?
KD: I’ve already played some of my dream roles! I just want to keep playing different roles that are a challenge to play, ones that are completely different than ones that I have played before.
PPLA: You started acting at a very young age, do you have any advice for other child actors?
KD: Love what you do, be patient and work hard!
Watch the trailer here. Short Term 12 is currently in theaters.