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"Matchstick Men's" Impressive Young Talent, Alison Lohman


Nicolas Cage and Alison Lohman star in "Matchstick Men."

Warner Bros. Pictures
Nicolas Cage (Roy) and Sam Rockwell (Frank) are a couple of small-time con artists in Warner Bros. Pictures’ touching comedy/drama, "Matchstick Men." Cage and Rockwell may plays thieves in the movie, but it’s the up-and-coming actress Alison Lohman ("White Oleander") who steals the show.

Playing the long-lost 14 year-old daughter of Nicolas Cage's character required the 23 year-old Lohman to do a lot of research. "I wanted to look young in this role, it was a needed thing. She’s 14. This role I really needed to feel 14, I had to be 14 in every way possible, so I hung out with my 14 year-old cousin for a month. [She] had a retainer and pigtails and all that. There’s something in their eyes, between age 10 and 15 I think, it’s just that sort of ‘anything is possible’ [look]. For me, the most beautiful thing you could ever see is like a child’s eyes. I wanted to really make sure that I captured her spirit, that youthful spirit," explains Lohman, adding, "For me it’s all about dreaming. What does she look like when she walks? What’s the look in her eye? It’s not about, ‘Oh, on this move, I’m going to put my arm like that.’ It’s just the whole spirit, so that any way that I would move would be right."

Capturing the spirit and nuances of a teenager is something Lohman’s got down pat. And while her youthful appearance works well for her in "Matchstick Men," playing a teenager isn’t something that normally entices her to a script. "Actually when I first read the script I was like, ‘No. No way I’m playing 14. You can just pass on this,’" says Alison, adding, "Usually it’s like the first 50 pages and you kind of know. But then reading the whole script for me was like, ‘Okay, I can definitely do this.’"

"Matchstick Men" also had the added attraction of being directed by Ridley Scott. Working with Scott was an amazing and enlightening experience for the young actress. Praising her director, Lohman says, "Without even saying anything, just his eyes… It’s not like he forces you to do it, but the power that he has, it’s something in his spirit. The power that he has, it’s almost like intangible and kind of magical. He has an energy that kind of lifts you. Any doubt that you had is just gone. You just do it – it’s really simple. It was so easy to work with him."

Working with Nicolas Cage was also an enriching experience. "I figured he be like a genius, because he is. He’s very, very subtle and nuanced. It’s very much in the eyes. That’s how it is in real life. He’s such a great actor. I was just amazed that I got the chance to work with him," states Lohman.

Coming up next for Alison Lohman is "Big Fish," directed by Tim Burton and starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney and Billy Crudup. In "Big Fish," Lohman plays McGregor’s wife from the ages of 16 to 26. "Ewan and Albert Finney play the same character and Jessica Lange and I play the same character in flashbacks. It’s [set] in the 50s [and] it’s a very Tim Burton-ish type of movie. The whole magical, mystical, tall tale kind of story. It’s going to be good."

More on "Matchstick Men" - Nicolas Cage on Ridley Scott and Playing 'Roy'

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