Name: Maisy Stella
Sundance project: “My Old Ass,” director Megan Park’s follow-up to “The Fallout.”
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Notable past credits: Musical TV series “Nashville.”
When director Megan Park called Maisy Stella to share the news that their film “My Old Ass” was headed to Sundance, the young singer and actress was “properly leveled.” “My knees literally buckled,” says Stella, the morning after the film’s premiere. “My Old Ass” marks her first Sundance, but also her first leading film role.
“I actually auditioned for the ‘The Fallout,’ which was Megan’s first movie. I did a call with her, and we just instantly bonded and clicked,” says Stella. That audition led to an ongoing collaboration: the director asked Stella and her older sister, Lennon Stella, to write a song for the film, and Park later invited Stella to audition for her next film: “My Old Ass.”
“The literal second I read the first page, it was such a knowing that I had to do it,” says Stella of the comedic queer coming-of-age drama. “I hadn’t read anything that was so funny and light, but was so weighted at the same time.”
Stella felt a strong kinship with her character, a recent high school grad getting ready to leave her picturesque but sleepy hometown — and family cranberry farm — behind to start college in Toronto. During a camping trip with friends, she meets her 39-year-old self, played by Aubrey Plaza, who offers wisdom and advice from the future.
“A young queer girl that’s figuring out herself — honestly, that in itself was very relatable to me, and I know to a lot of young girls,” says Stella of the story’s resonance. “The queerness of it, the family dynamics — like when you’re accidentally rude to your mom and then you just feel terrible and you’re like, wait, I love you. Things like that,” she adds. “I felt that a lot of people could see themselves in her.”
The young actress also connected with the nostalgic tone of the film. “Anything nostalgic is where my head’s always at,” says Stella. The film features a notable scene in which she performs Justin Bieber’s 2009 hit “One Less Lonely Girl,” in character as Bieber, with two of her costars as backup dancers.
“Doing the Bieber sequence was probably one of my favorite days of filming. I couldn’t get out of it. Once I embodied Bieber, I couldn’t shake it off,” she says. “For the next couple days, I kept slipping back into my Bieber habits.”
Although “My Old Ass” marks Stella’s first film, like her character, the Nashville-based actress is excited to discover what’s next. “Doing this movie, I can’t believe that it was so early on in my career,” she says. “I just hope to be able to do more projects that I similarly feel a real passion about.”
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