W Magazine
Posted by Veronique on January 5th, 2024

Talia Ryder Falls Down the Rabbit Hole in The Sweet East

At 21 years old, Talia Ryder may still be a fresh face in Hollywood, but the actor and trained dancer has been working since she landed a role on Broadway’s Matilda the Musical. She made her 2020 film debut in the critically acclaimed abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and since then has brought her down-to-earth acting style to West Side Story, Master, Do Revenge, and Craig Gillespie’s GameStop stock craze comedy, Dumb Money. But it’s her latest turn in Sean Price Williams’s psychedelic film, The Sweet East, that showcases her captivating stoicism.

The Sweet East is a little like Alice in Wonderland. Your character, Lillian, wanders into different situations, all involving complicated men who are like characters in a novel.

We never talked about Alice in Wonderland, but it’s a reference that keeps coming up in conversations about the film. Strangely, Simon Rex and I rehearsed our scenes right by the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park. So maybe she was watching over us.

You began your career on Broadway.

For my 12th birthday, my grandmother got us tickets to see Matilda the Musical on Broadway. After I saw it, I said, “I need to do that.” My sister and I convinced my mom to let us audition for Matilda. She drove us to New York, and we went to an open dance call. There were hundreds of kids, and then there were cuts and fewer kids, and more cuts. It felt like the longest process, but we were lucky enough to get cast. My sister was Matilda. I played a girl named Hortensia.

And your sister plays your sister in The Sweet East.

She technically plays my cousin. My sister’s never smoked in her life, and we’re smoking in the scene. And one of the producers was like, “Wait, should we tell her to inhale?” And Sean was like, “Leave it, leave it, leave it. It’s perfect.” It’s my favorite scene. It’s so sweet.

What was your first on-screen kiss?

Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

That character is almost like the sister to the character in your other movie, because there’s a survival aspect to both of them.

Totally. They are actually really similar.

Did you feel like you were constantly having to change personas when you were going through the different scenarios?

That was one of the really fun things about getting to play a character like Lillian—she wears many different hats and gets to try on these different personalities throughout the film. The constant about Lillian is that she’s always making decisions for the plot. She knows that she’s in a film. She’s very aware of the camera watching her. She likes being watched, and that is the driving force. While she may dress different and talk a little different depending on who she’s with, she’s the same girl.

You’re wearing a T-shirt that says “TikTok Sport.” Are you big into TikTok?

I had TikTok, but I deleted it. TikTok is awesome—I liked learning the dances. But the algorithm’s too good. I feel bad if I spend too much time on my phone.

Senior Style Editor: Allia Alliata di Montereale. Senior Fashion Market Editor and Menswear Director: Jenna Wojciechowski. Hair for portfolio by Mustafa Yanaz for Dyson at Art+Commerce; makeup for portfolio by Emi Kaneko for Tom Ford at Bryant Artists; manicures for portfolio by Michelle Saunders for Chanel. Set design by Peter Klein at Frank Reps. Special thanks to Ms. Bebe at Outfitters Wig Shop in Hollywood.

Source: wmagazine.com

Articles & Interviews - Gallery - Photoshoots - The Sweet East

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  • Since: 23 September 2021
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Current Projects

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