Molly Gordon Takes Middle Stage

Spoilers for The Bear season 2 beneath.

Molly Gordon is aware of about heartache. Earlier Slot Gacor than she performed Triple A, the sexual, Yale-bound scholar in Booksmart who’s slut-shamed by her classmates; earlier than she performed Maya, the overachieving, wry, however pining ex-girlfriend within the beloved indie Shiva Child; and earlier than she performed Claire, the type and disarming childhood good friend who makes a teary exit within the second season of The Bear, Gordon was a 6-year-old neighborhood theater star, scared she misplaced the love of her life.

“Ben [Platt] and I have been doing Rattling Yankees, and he requested me to be his girlfriend,” she tells me over Zoom, pondering again to probably the most potent reminiscences from her early theater days. “I used to be like, I’m not prepared for this. That is an excessive amount of for me. I can’t commit. The following day, he gave this bracelet that he was going to provide me to a special woman, who was beautiful, however fuck her. On the time, I used to be very upset. His mother made him get me one thing, as a result of I used to be so unhappy. He gave me an image body, and I used to be like, an image body? This implies nothing to me! For years, I believed I blew it. Then he, in fact, got here out to me, however nonetheless generally I’m like, I ought to have accepted it at six.

As historical past has confirmed, Gordon, now 27, didn’t blow it. Romance wasn’t of their future—Gordon launched Platt, greatest recognized for his Tony-award successful efficiency in Expensive Evan Hansen, to his fiancé, actor Noah Galvin—however the two stayed greatest buddies. They’ve worn coordinating Halloween costumes collectively, posted dreamy covers of Kacey Musgraves songs collectively, appeared in photographs from their mutual BFF Beanie Feldstein’s wedding ceremony collectively, and this summer season, for the primary time, they’ll be starring in a film collectively: Theater Camp, a mockumentary a couple of failing upstate New York camp, which hits theaters July 14.

“We simply did our [press] junket, and Ben was like, that is so loopy,” Gordon mentions simply weeks earlier than the premiere. “We used to bounce round in his front room and make little house films.”

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For Gordon, who’s constructed her resume taking part in scene-stealing aspect characters, Theater Camp is a second to step squarely into the highlight—along with her buddies standing proper beside her. Apart from starring within the movie, Gordon and Platt additionally wrote the screenplay together with Galvin and Nick Lieberman, who Platt first met in highschool. Gordon and Lieberman additionally took the reins as co-directors, marking Gordon’s directorial debut. The group began the undertaking as a brief movie and fought onerous to show it right into a characteristic. They ultimately shot it in 19 days, and after it premiered this yr on the Sundance Movie Pageant, Searchlight acquired it for $8 million.


“Theater is such an absurd factor. It must be made enjoyable of. Nevertheless it’s additionally produced among the most lovely issues in all the world and made so many individuals really feel protected.”


Within the movie, Gordon performs Rebecca-Diane, the crochet vest-wearing, energy-healing head of music who strikes, with a sleek of her maxi skirt, from main vocal heat ups to uncovering the campers’ previous lives. Her companion in codependent crime is Platt’s Amos Klobuchar, head of drama. When the camp’s founder (Amy Sedaris) falls right into a coma, her wannabe tech-bro son (Jimmy Tatro) makes an attempt to maintain the camp from falling into monetary damage. All of the whereas, Rebecca-Diane, Amos, and the opposite counselors are centered on their very own high-stakes mission: placing on a fully-realized unique musical with the younger campers. The result’s an improv-heavy, jazz-handed tightrope stroll of a film, which pokes enjoyable on the theater neighborhood whereas by no means punching down. Theater Camp is aware of that, all of this? Effectively, it’s type of ridiculous—however that’s why individuals like it a lot.

“Theater is such an absurd factor. It must be made enjoyable of,” Gordon says. “Nevertheless it’s additionally produced among the most lovely issues in all the world and has made so many individuals really feel protected. We are able to maintain each issues on the similar time.”

nick lieberman, ben platt, noah galvin, patti harrison, owen thiele, molly gordon, and jimmy tatro

Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, Patti Harrison, Owen Thiele, Molly Gordon, and Jimmy Tatro.

Corey Nickols//Getty Photos

Rising up, performing wasn’t a lot Gordon’s alternative as one thing she appeared born to do. “My mother all the time says I slithered out of the womb—like a shimmy. I didn’t come out crying. She was like, you have been dancing.”

In response to her “wild, foolish vitality,” Gordon says her mother and father, writer-director Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and director Bryan Gordon (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Celebration Down), put her in neighborhood theater. “I used to be 3 years outdated, and so they put me with all of the older children. So it will be 15-year-olds doing a play, after which I might be within the again, within the refrain, unable to maintain up, however simply eager to be part of it,” she says. “That absolutely modified my life.” (In Theater Camp, audiences will catch archival footage of Gordon and Platt in childhood productions.)

Whereas faculty may very well be troublesome for Gordon, who’s dyslexic, theater was the place the place she might discover her intelligence. “I might attempt my greatest, and even when it wasn’t proper, and I didn’t nail the quantity, or I didn’t make the best alternative within the scene, it was nonetheless a alternative,” she says. “I really like creativity, the place there simply isn’t one proper reply.”

molly gordon in booksmart

Gordon as Triple A in Booksmart.

Francois Duhamel

She’d generally pop up in her mother and father’ work, however Gordon didn’t begin auditioning in earnest till after highschool. She moved to New York to enroll at New York College, however dropped out after two weeks, telling The New York Instances she was as sad as the college was costly. Ultimately, she landed a recurring function on the tv drama Animal Kingdom, and that in latest years, Gordon has charmed Hollywood by taking part in what can solely be described because the resident Cool Woman. (Cue her instantly-classic Booksmart line learn: “I’m unbelievable at hand jobs, however I additionally bought a 1560 on the SATs.”) On the present Ramy, she guest-starred as a rabbi’s granddaughter who throws events and takes ecstasy. Within the 2019 comedy Good Boys, she performed a neighbor who’s making an attempt to get her medication again from a bunch of pre-teen boys. As Gordon advised Vulture in 2021: “I positively really feel I hold taking part in people who find themselves not inquisitive about theater.”

ben platt and molly gordon

Molly Gordon and Ben Platt on the premiere of Animal Kingdom in June 2016.

David Livingston//Getty Photos

Even so, all through every undertaking, Gordon’s inventive troupe grew stronger. On the primary day making Shiva Child, her co-star Rachel Sennott (Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies, The Idol) advised her she needed to meet her good friend Ayo Edebiri. The 2 clicked, and Edebiri, who additionally stars in The Bear, seems in Theater Camp as Janet, a brand new counselor making an attempt to fib her manner by the summer season.


“That is such a painful, heartbreaking profession generally, so I believe to start with, I simply felt grateful to have a seat on the desk.”


“Rachel introduced in all of those unbelievable, clever, comedic girls into my life,” Gordon says. “Actually formidable, simply very form individuals.” One other actor within the Sennott-to-Theater Camp pipeline is Patti Harrison, who performs Caroline, a consultant from the neighboring wealthy camp, and who Gordon counts as considered one of her closest buddies.

“Rachel is sort of a rocket ship, and the minute you’re round her, you wish to go on that trip,” Gordon says. “She’s so unbelievably in herself, and that was actually inspiring to me…That is such a painful, heartbreaking profession generally, so I believe to start with, I simply felt so grateful to have a seat on the desk. In the previous few years, proper across the time I met Rachel and all them, I had written all these items that I simply wasn’t exhibiting anyone.”

molly gordon and rachel sennott in shiva baby

Gordon and Sennott as Maya and Danielle in Shiva Child.


She continues, “That’s what was so inspiring about Shiva—they only made a film. They didn’t wait round for individuals to provide them permission. I’ve all the time wished to direct. That’s one thing that’s been a eternally dream. I felt like, I’ve collected my toolbox from working with all these superb administrators, however now all I’ve to do is push myself to be courageous sufficient to attempt it.”

The results of that bravery is Theater Camp, a film that pulls from all elements of Gordon’s life. There’s the previous: “I bear in mind kissing a boy at camp and him instantly saying, ‘Oh my God. I’m homosexual.’ I used to be so unhappy about that. [In the movie] I positively wished to make enjoyable of the one straight boy at camp.” And there’s the current: Reflecting on Rebecca-Diane and Amos, Gordon says she’s grateful to have the ability to present a friendship between a homosexual man and a straight girl the place they’re not bitchy to 1 one other or hyper-focused on their intercourse lives. “I’m excited that’s the primary love affair of our movie: a friendship love.”

However ending the film was its personal meta beast. Whereas taking part in a counselor who has three weeks to assemble a wholly unique manufacturing, Gordon, as co-director, had almost the identical period of time to movie the characteristic. “It was so: the present should go on. We’re going to place this along with a chunk of tape and a tutu,” she says. “Even within the errors, or if one thing went flawed, we had to make use of it, and that’s probably the most lovely factor about stay theater. You’ve bought to only hold going.” Each second needed to be utilized, so when there was an sudden hour with none of the child actors, Gordon and Platt bought in a room and absolutely improvised scenes of them songwriting, a few of which made their manner into the ultimate minimize, and a few of which they plan to drop as deleted scenes.

Watching her buddies—one other one of many counselors, Gigi, is performed by Owen Thiele, who Gordon’s recognized since childhood—rise to the event made Gordon really feel like a proud dad or mum, amazed to be within the presence of a lot expertise. “I used to be practising gratitude every single day, making an attempt to carry onto all these reminiscences, whereas I used to be like, we don’t have time. I’m probably the most anxious I’ve ever been in my life.”

It’s a really Rebecca-Diane perspective, which might be why Gordon cites her and Claire, her character within the newest season of The Bear, as a “lovely mixture” of her real-life personalities. “Lots of people have made enjoyable of me that a few of my earlier jobs have been all the time the imply woman,” she says. “I’m so kooky, and I’m not a really cool particular person. I’m foolish and eccentric, non secular. Then Claire—I’m delicate. I actually care about my work. I really feel prefer it has this particular mixture of what I’ve been making an attempt to showcase for a very long time.”

jeremy allen white and molly gordon in the bear

White and Gordon as Carmy and Claire in The Bear.

Chuck Hodes

With Claire, an emergency room resident and the primary primary love curiosity on the present, Gordon was given a tall order (no pun supposed): change into the girlfriend to the web’s greatest crush, chef Carmy, performed by Jeremy Allen White. After sweeping him off his ft, Claire takes off within the final episode after unintentionally overhearing Carmy say that pursuing his personal happiness is a waste of time. “I like that she left in that second,” Gordon says of the devastating scene. “I believed that was a extremely lovely factor that [The Bear creator] Chris [Storer] wrote. However I additionally felt so unhappy for Carmy…it was very human.”

Although it’s unclear but if Gordon will return for a future season, she says being on The Bear and dealing with Storer was probably the greatest experiences of her life. “I want [Chris] might educate a category on lead,” she says. “He finds a approach to be unbelievably calm and current inside the chaos. I’m in the end a Jewish girl with extra nervousness than him, however I’m like, I’m going to attempt to get into {that a} bit. He additionally does fewer takes than regular. The truth that he can go, ‘I bought it,’ and belief himself…that confidence inside him, I’m actually going to attempt to take two p.c of that if I can.”


“I really feel extra in myself than I’ve ever felt and so excited to maintain pushing myself and going for issues I would like, even when I’m nonetheless afraid.”


As for the place precisely she’s taking that vitality, Gordon says she has one other film she desires to direct. She’d additionally like to return to theater someday or fulfill her “absolute dream” of internet hosting Saturday Night time Reside. “I really feel extra in myself than I’ve ever felt and so excited to maintain pushing myself and going for issues I would like, even when I’m nonetheless afraid.”

However first, this summer season, Gordon and her buddies are taking their bows. Along with Theater Camp, Sennott and Edebiri have their very own film, Bottoms, popping out in August, directed by Shiva Child creator Emma Seligman.

“I really feel like a lot of this enterprise, issues don’t work out,” Gordon says. “So I hold texting them like: Let’s bear in mind this second.

Stylist: Jared Ellner; Hair: Derek Yuen; Make-up: Molly Greenwald; Gown: Christian Dior; Jewellery: Cartier; Footwear: Stuart Weitzman

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Madison is a senior author/editor at, overlaying information, politics, and tradition. When she’s not on the web, you can probably discover her taking a nap or consuming banana bread.