Name: Lily Sheen
SXSW project: “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” which stars Nicolas Cage as himself.
Notable past credits: None — “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is her first film, although she made cameos in several of her mother’s films as a child.
First impressions of Austin: “Everyone’s very friendly,” she said. “The city is so vibrant right now from the festival, but I can tell that this is the vibe all the time — very upbeat and excited. It’s a cool energy.”
Sheen makes her feature acting debut in Cage’s meta-comedy, which premiered at the festival Saturday night to great fanfare. “It’s so good that the film premiered here, South By Southwest is so fun. Everyone loves Nic Cage and everyone loves movies,” said the actress on Sunday afternoon. “Everyone’s so excited and ready to have a good time and laugh, and they were thrilled. The theater was very electric.”
The 23-year-old actress, who’s the daughter of actors Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale, stars as Cage’s (fictional) daughter in the film.
“When I first read the script, aside from ‘Being John Malkovich’ and straight dramas, I hadn’t seen an actor play themselves in that way,” said Sheen of her initial impression. “It was probably the funniest script I’d ever read in my life. And then filming was amazing. I’m playing Nic’s daughter, which is an honor. He was so lovely to work with, and the journey that we go on as a father-daughter duo is really great to see.”
Cage also stepped into a mentorship role for Sheen on set. “This was my first movie role. So I had to ask him a lot of questions about the movie and also about our dynamic,” she said. “He was incredibly patient with me and really helpful and very forthcoming.”
The film is slated for a wide theatrical release on April 22. While the actress hasn’t announced her next project, she’s enthusiastic about exploring other genres. “I’m excited to see what this [film] opens up for me,” said Sheen. “I’m a big horror fan. It’s a dream of mine in general to be a scream queen. Fingers crossed.”