In her acting career thus far, Sosie Bacon is used to playing characters far from herself — yet it was saying yes at the chance to play a character most similar to herself that has given her the current moment of buzz.
Bacon, the 29 year-old daughter of actors Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, stars as Mandy in the Amazon series “As We See It,” which premiered on Jan. 21 and is earning positive notes for its use of actors on the spectrum portraying characters on the spectrum (most recently, the 2021 Kate Hudson movie “Music” was criticized for using a non-autistic actor, Maddie Ziegler, in the role of an autistic character).
“I felt like telling a story with people on the spectrum of autism who are neurodiverse, that isn’t entirely focused on that fact, but is more a show about being in your late twenties, which is a challenging time for every single person — I really liked that and respected that, and it didn’t feel like it was hammering us on the head with anything or any message,” Bacon says. “It was more just a funny show. That was just an element of it. And they’re all going through the same thing, including Mandy, my character.”
Bacon was drawn to Mandy for their similarities, and clearly the casting director saw it, too — she says it was one of her more fast-track auditioning processes.
“I think they thought pretty quickly, ‘That’s our girl,’ because I think me and Mandy are sort of similar. And then I think I got cast right off of that actually,” she says. “It never happens like that, by the way. I’m not bragging. It’s normally a much longer process.”
But chatting with Bacon for a bit makes it clear how natural a fit she was for Mandy, who is a behavioral aide for three twentysomething roommates on the spectrum navigating life in Los Angeles. When asked what she might be doing if not for acting, she answers that the career her character Mandy has was always of interest to her.
“I’m incredibly fascinated with relationships and trauma and how it manifests, and problem-solving situations,” she says.
Bacon has some family and friends who are on the spectrum of autism, but she says that as the word “spectrum” implies, each person is different — so she did extensive research on how aides communicate with the people they’re working with.
“We had a woman named Elaine Hall who was our representative on set for everybody, essentially. She’s amazing. She has a theater program for people on the spectrum, and I went to a bunch of the classes and participated and sort of watched how everyone communicated,” Bacon says. “That was really fun to learn about because I had no idea what it was like. And what it’s like is just people talking to people.”
Bacon grew up in New York City, and, like many kids, had zero interest in following in her parents’ footsteps (very successful footsteps, albeit). The family watched movies together throughout her childhood and she did theater in high school, but didn’t get the bug of wanting to pursue a career.
“I wanted to rebel against it,” she says of acting. “I thought, ‘I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do something different.’ And actually, funnily enough, the thing that I wanted to do was sort of what Mandy does, which is so wild. But doing theater in high school brought me so much joy. And I resisted it for as long as I could, sort of, when I got out of high school, and then I realized one of the only things that made me happy was acting, and mostly the community, the way that everybody gets so close to intimacy. I love that so much.”
She went to college for two years and left after she “didn’t really find what I was looking for there,” and ended up doing an off-Broadway musical where the shape of a career began to take place.
Up next, Bacon will appear in her first leading role in the film “Something’s Wrong With Rose,” a sharp turn from “As We See It.” She takes her time trying to describe the plot of the film, which is a dark horror movie.
“This woman who very much has her life together, theoretically, witnesses a suicide, and she had at the beginning of her life seen her mother commit suicide. So it’s sort of one of those movies where it’s like, if you see something, it happens to you. So it’s a string of suicides, if that makes sense,” she says. “I would say at the root of it, I think it’s about trauma and how we have trauma passed down to us. I read the script, and it was terrifying, very disturbing and very dark. It’s intense.”
She had at the time been researching ancestral trauma and was immediately interested in the film’s use of the horror genre to explore such themes.
“We might not necessarily think about it all the time, but we have triggers that cause a response that we’re not in control of. And I think it’s a movie that explores that, that explores whether or not mental illness is genetic,” she says. “And I found that to be an interesting way to get into this horror genre, because there also is the aspect of a lot of jumps and a lot of scares. But it’s about this woman kind of figuring all of that out.”
Her dream would be to play Stevie Nicks in a biopic about the singer; she loves to sing and has been told that their voices sound similar, and she’d love the chance to sing in a film. Co-starring with her parents, on the other hand, is not as high on the list.
“They don’t really give me acting advice at all, but it’s nice that we have it in common, so we can talk about it,” she says. “We have fun talking about all of it.”