If you think Adelaide Clemens looks familiar—the blonde shag, the big, soulful eyes—you're not alone. "Even my mum is like, 'You know what? You look like Michelle Williams!'" The up-and-coming 23-year-old Australian has the same understated quality as her Oscar nominated doppelgänger, which lets her effortlessly inhabit her roles: the small-town church girl who befriends an ex-con in the Sundance Channel's Rectify, the damaged cynic who spews half-truths and lies in Generation Um..., in theaters this month. Yet she had to work her tail off to get her breakthrough part: Valentine, the scrappy suffragette in HBO's Parade's End.
Though she didn't land the gig after auditioning over Skype, Clemens flew to London anyway (from Louisiana, where she was shooting the horror flick No One Lives), donned full period garb, and pleaded her case. "I was walking home," she recalls, "thinking, 'Good lord! Do I look like an absolute dick?' " But this time she nabbed the job, and her performance earned rave reviews.
She's sure to get more for her small but pivotal role in fellow Aussie Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby. After that: The Laureate, a psychosexual drama about a love triangle with the poet Robert Graves, which she just began shooting. Heady material for an ingenue, perhaps, but when she sinks her teeth into a part, Clemens is a woman possessed: "A feeling comes over me when I read a script, and I'm like a steam train all of a sudden."
—Nojan Aminosharei, Details entertainment editor
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