dob & age
Sadie Leah Klein
5 November 1984 & 32 years old
New York, NY
Stage mothers can have a bad rep, thanks to being immortalized by such iconic figures as Mama Rose -- but stage fathers, in many ways, are so much worse. And stage fathers who have failed youthful acting aspirations and have made a living as second-rate talent managers for those with more starry-eyed Broadway dreams than actual talent to back up those dreams? Those are the worst of all.
Let's be clear: neither David nor Rachel Klein were exactly fit to be parents: she was far more invested in travelling all over the world in her job as a photographer than settling down at home to work at cultivating a stable family life, which left her husband more or less in charge of their two girls, and his idea of childrearing was to push them into the spotlight as soon as they could walk, in the hopes of fanning any sparks of artistic talent into flames. Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for his girls), neither proved to be tone-deaf nor cursed with two left feet, and any inherent shyness was soon worn down to a studied polish by ceaseless rehearsing.
So this was how Sadie had made her debut on Broadway as Young Cosette in LES MISERABLES
-- not because she liked acting or singing or putting on costumes and stepping onto a stage beneath the blinding lights, but because that's what good girls did, and if you do anything enough times then you get reasonably good at it, and she did like being good at things, especially after she got her first taste of a major award nomination at 14. It was this sense of routine and that desire to be good at things that made Sadie absolutely willing to follow daddy's directives to audition for a spot at the highly competitive LaGuardia High School: she was aging into that awkward period of early adolescence that straddles "adorable little moppet" and "wide-eyed young ingénue" for which there weren't many roles, and if she couldn't act then she might as well "hone her skills".
To the surprise of absolutely no one who knew her, Sadie booked a spot. Boy, what a mistake that was. It turned out that the hyper-competitive environment would indeed spur Sadie on to hone her skills as an actress, sending her shooting up to the top of all performance-based classes and making her a fixture in school productions. It also became painfully apparent that she didn't know how to forge and maintain friendships that can withstand the tensions of competing for the same role or the awkwardness of having to stage-kiss another girl's boyfriend. The more successful she was on the academic and performance-based side of things, the more isolated and lonely she became.
But if high school was a nightmare, then Juilliard was veritably the ninth circle of Dante's Inferno.
Sadie landed her first film role before her first semester was finished, in MONA LISA SMILE
; it was as a glorified extra, true, but she could count Julia Roberts as a costar as a result. Successful auditions trickled in with surprising regularity even though the majority of her focus was still on school, and a year later, GARDEN STATE
took Sundance by storm... and promptly made her famous, a legitimate It Girl who young men fantasized about and magazines wanted to photograph. A lot of people would have killed to have had her luck; she in turn had a stress-related breakdown in the middle of an Alexander Technique group session, which gained her sympathy from approximately none of her peers. The isolation she had learnt to deal with grew to take on a more malicious edge as she kept working throughout her four years, and as a coping mechanism, Sadie became increasingly focused on achieving professional success in her burgeoning career as one of the only things in her life that she could control, once she unceremoniously divorced herself from her father's influence.
Within two year of graduating, like a true Cinderella story, she had Tony and Oscar nominations under her belt, a steadily rising profile in Hollywood as a serious young talent, and a deal with Chanel as the new face of COCO MADEMOISELLE
. And if she was an emotionally volatile, hypersensitive, insecure bundle of raw nerves beneath the chic outfits and enviable CV, well, what of it? So what if she was a walking stereotype of a high-strung Hollywood starlet? At least her professional reputation remained commendable and esteemed directors were happy to work with her. At least she kept doing exemplary work. At least it was easy to get people to recognize and admire her for her talent and her looks and her willingness to do SNL skits, even if it was harder to get them to like her as a person.
It didn't ever really seem to be a question of if Sadie would ever get an Oscar, but more a question of when and for what role. As it turned out, the role would be for a project that serendipitously hearkened back to the very beginnings of her career as an actress: LES MISERABLES
. For all that the media glibly claimed that she threw herself into the role of Fantine with the dedication of someone gunning hard for the Oscar, the truth was that she did it with the devotion of someone who had indelible emotional ties to the show from early childhood, as someone who didn't know how to hold anything back. So she got her statuettes, and she got roundly mocked for uncontrollably crying through her Oscar acceptance speech, and for a brief period in early 2013, it became en vogue to irrationally dislike Sadie Klein because she just tried so hard at everything.
But winning that Oscar seemed to have turned a corner in bolstering her self-confidence, because for the last year, Sadie has seemingly... mellowed. Her interviews are funnier and more lighthearted, she's seemingly come into her own as a budding playwright, and for the first time in a long time, she seems to be comfortable in her own skin. Because let's face it: haters gonna hate... but that doesn't change the fact that she has the world at her fingertips, and has barely entered her 30s.