Lucas Hedges says he has become more confident in voicing his opinion and taking ownership over his career

By Jodi Guglielmi
December 12, 2018 04:34 PM

To say Lucas Hedges is busy is an understatement.

After earning an Oscar nomination for his breakout role in 2016’s Manchester By the Sea, the actor, 21, is solidifying his spot among Hollywood’s elite with three new buzzy films, along with a spot on Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan’s Waverly Gallery.

“I feel like I’ve found myself belonging in the world more,” Hedges tells PEOPLE of how his life has changed. “I feel like I really am finding my place.”

Hedges says he has become more confident in voicing his opinion and taking ownership over his career.

"Boy Erased" Portrait Session, New York, USA - 22 Oct 2018
Credit: Amy Sussman/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“I’ve spent so much time in rooms that I feel like I belong in, that the places I don’t feel like I belong, I don’t freak out now,” he says. “It’s all right if I don’t feel amazing around everyone sometimes. I know that I have my people now, and that’s really exciting.”

In his latest film, Ben Is Back, Hedges stars as a drug-addicted teen who returns home for Christmas, opposite Julia Roberts. The movie marks his first collaboration with his father, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Hedges, who wrote and directed the film.

julia roberts and lucas hedges in Ben is Back
Lucas Hedges and Julia Roberts in Ben Is Back
| Credit: Mark Schafer/LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions

“My dad is the reason why I’m an actor because he passed on his love of film to me and showed me what great film looks like,” he said. “This film adds to my legacy with my father and why my time on earth with him has been so special.”

The actor added that while they maintained a professional working relationship on set, his Dad occasionally referred to Hedges by a nickname.

“He actually kept slipping into calling me Bubba, which he does a lot. And I just told him that wasn’t allowed,” he said. “It’s hard to shake the feeling of that’s my dad. I’m his son.”