How did she get her start?
After performing in school musicals such as Little Shop of Horrors and Annie as a kid in Los Angeles, Gideon Adlon decamped for Chicago to study photography at Columbia College. One semester in, though, she knew she had made the wrong choice. “I woke up one morning and was like, ‘I need to be an actor,’” the 25-year-old recalls. “I didn’t tell my mom until after I went to the admissions office.” Was she perhaps suppressing that desire because her mom is Pamela Adlon, the actress and cocreator of the beloved FX series Better Things? “Yeah, a part of me,” she admits, “because that’s my mom’s thing, but at the end of the day I followed my gut.”
Which projects has she worked on?
For her film debut, Adlon landed a lead role in the 2018 comedy Blockers, alongside Leslie Mann and John Cena. “I felt very intimidated because everyone on set was a comic,” she says. “Comedy is hard!” She proved her mettle, though, and went on to get parts in the critically acclaimed 2019 drama The Mustang and the 2020 horror flick The Craft: Legacy. Her rise to fame coincided with her mom’s show—which is based on her family—becoming a hit, and she admits that hasn’t always been easy. “I’m very proud of my mom, and I’m thankful that our stories have been able to help people,” she says, “but I can’t deny the fact that it’s been difficult.”
What’s her role in The Thing About Pam?
Adlon can currently be seen in the NBC limited series The Thing About Pam, about the real-life 2011 murder of Betsy Faria. Renée Zellweger (“one of my favorite people,” Adlon says) stars as Pamela Hupp, Faria’s best friend… who may not be what she seems. Adlon plays Faria’s grieving daughter, Mariah, whom she spoke with in preparation for the role. “She went through this really intense time at such a young age,” Adlon says. “She was very sweet and so open with me. Everybody on that show went at it with nothing but respect and understanding, wanting to portray these people in the proper way and bring justice for the innocent.”
Among Adlon’s future roles is the lead in Sick, “a pandemic thriller” that she filmed last summer in Utah. “It’ll be a hoot!” she says. Following her mom’s lead, she has also carved out a career as a voiceover artist, working on animated series including Pacific Rim: The Black. And she has a never-ending list of projects she’d like to tackle— such as playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre in London, because she’s “obsessed with Shakespeare”—and people she’d like to work with. “Oh my god: Florence Pugh, Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Meryl Streep, Sophia Loren, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro… I want to work with everybody!”
Next Up: Quinta Brunson: From Meme Fame to a Thriving Comedy Career