Anna Baryshnikov may be the offspring of Mikhail Baryshnikov and former ABT dancer Lisa Rinehart, but the 23-year-old is determined to create a legacy of own starting at the Sundance Film Festival, where she costars in “Manchester-by-the-Sea,” the festival’s biggest hit thus far, acquired by Amazon on Sunday for $10 million. WWD caught up with the Northwestern University-trained actress as she walked the carpet alongside producer Matt Damon, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, and costars Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges.
WWD: You’ve guest-starred on CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” HBO’s “Doll & Em,” and NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura,” but this must feel like a big moment for you. What does it mean to you to be a part of “Manchester-by-the-Sea?”
Anna Baryshnikov: It has been an absolute dream. Kenneth Lonergan is one of those playwrights every aspiring actor dreams of working with. And to work with him as a writer and director and then to have that cast? I’m definitely not complaining. It was amazing. I feel like it’s been a “pinch me” moment for a few months. Everyone was so relaxed and incredibly personal. It was easy to lose sight of how exciting it was and then to see it in this context? I’m re-feeling that initial shock.
WWD: What are you tackling next?
A.B.: I have an indie coming up called “Fabulous Nobodies” [based on Lee Tulloch’s novel] that I’m really excited about. It’s a small project we’re shooting in New York about a girl who runs the front of a nightclub. And I’m her nerdy friend.
WWD: What would be a dream project for you?
A.B.: I feel like I just worked on a dream project, so I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I love doing both drama and comedy. I think “Manchester-by-the-Sea” is a good example that they often go hand in hand really well.
WWD: What advice has your father given you for navigating the industry?
A.B.: He’s incredibly disciplined, so it took him a while to accept that this is really what I wanted to do. Once he really realized that was happening, he would sit me down and say…[mimicking his Russian accent] “Well, you have to focus. You have to work incredibly hard every day.” Especially when I was little. He would be like, “You want to be an actress? You have to speak French. You want to be an actress? You have to play the piano.” Now, I’m older and I’m like, “I wish I spoke French and played the piano.”
WWD: Whose career would you love to emulate and who are some of your idols?
A.B.: It’s one of those things where you want to have a career that’s incredibly personal to what you do, but in terms of idols? There’s a handful of actresses to look up to. I grew up watching Patricia Clarkson, Allison Janney, Annette Bening [and] Julianne Moore.
WWD: How would you describe your style? Do you have a stylist?
A.B.: I don’t work with a stylist yet. I tend to wear really simple things. I know it’s probably cliché for actors to be like, “I like to consider myself fluid,” but I don’t try to choose one look because it’s fun to imagine yourself a lot of different ways. I tend to wear a lot of black-and-white and gray, pretty simple stuff. I’m wearing Rag & Bone right now. I really love them.