The Oscar frontrunner opens up about the parent she hasn't communicated with in a decade

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated February 09, 2016 01:25 PM
Credit: Terry Tsiolis for ELLE

Brie Larson movingly portrays a devoted parent in Room, but the Oscar frontrunner reveals that her real-life relationship with her own father couldn’t be more different.

Larson says they have not seen or spoken to one another in a decade.

“As I kid I tried to understand him and understand the situation. But he didn’t do himself any favors. I don’t think he ever really wanted to be a parent,” Larson, 26, tells ELLE for its March cover story.

Larson says her parents divorced when she was a young child and although she remained close with her mother, her relationship with her father became increasingly strained.

“When legally I didn’t have to have visitation with him anymore, I jumped on it,” she explains.

The star, who has already taken home a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Critics’ Choice Award for her role as a loving parent who aims to shield her son from their traumatic existence inside a squalid shed, also says that she now sees how her experience with her father has informed her career.

“It wasn’t until truly recently that I realized that’s why so much of my work was so volatile,” she says. “All of the stuff I wasn’t dealing with in my actual life – all of this anger, my fears and my vulnerabilities – I didn’t feel comfortable expressing because I felt like it was part of the human code that when we’re out in the public space, everyone’s perfect and good, and we’re all nice women, and we dress well and we brush our hair and agree with these customs.”

Speaking of other women, Larson also told Elle that despite her inclusion among the most celebrated actresses of the past year, she still can’t help but get starstruck around other veteran stars.

The actress admitted she was slightly overwhelmed while spending time with some of her fellow nominees during a pre-awards publicity push last November.

“It was crazy. It was pretty much, like, Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan, and me. Then Jennifer Lawrence came in for a little bit, and Kate Winslet, Carey Mulligan,” she recalls. “You’re having meals together, and doing these roundtables – I felt like I was hallucinating. Most of those people I’d never met before, so it was like the moment when you’re not at the kid’s table anymore.”

It didn’t hurt that a certain Oscar winner made her feel like part of the club.

“Kate Winslet saw me and ran across the room and grabbed me with such a beautiful intensity and said, ‘I am so f—ing excited for you!’ I love her.”