One of the greatest inspirations to the deaf children of modern times is the wonderful acting of Millicent ‘Millie’ Simmonds. This young lady, born in Utah, became deaf at a very young age. She never let her impairment slow her down, though. Millie Simmonds’ film debut was in Wonderstruck. She plays a young, deaf runaway in the 1920s. Her character is seeking her idol and mother, Lillian Mayhew (played by the illustrious Julianne Moore). This film was originally released at Cannes, but recently came to Amazon Prime and DVD.
Her upcoming role in A Quiet Place is also worth mentioning. This film will star her alongside other actors (including Emily Blunt) as a farming family who is hiding from a supernatural force. Because the entity is attracted to sound, they must stay as quiet as possible and use sign language to communicate. This young actress’ story is one of the best examples of finding success in the face of adversity. If you care to learn a little more about the Wonderstruck star, you have come to the right place. Keep reading to learn Five Things You Didn’t Know about Millicent Simmonds.
She Started Out In Plays
When she was younger, Simmonds began attending the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf. She soon joined the drama club there, and began practicing her acting. It was not long afterwards that she played her first role in the Utah Shakespeare Festival — Puck of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Also worth mentioning is a small role in Color the World, a video short.
She Inspires People to Learn ASL
When this actress was filming Wonderstruck, her co-star Julianne Moore and director Tod Haynes both learned a bit of ASL to improve their communication with Simmonds. John Krasinski also learned some for A Quiet Place. Not only does the filming process go more smoothly with easier communication, but Simmonds has inspired these famous people to learn a new and valuable skill.
She Was Recognized by Associated Press
In 2017, Millicent Simmonds was named as one of the Eight Breakthrough Entertainers in a list by the Associated Press. She was given this award due to her phenomenal acting — even Will Smith himself called it ‘amazing’. Plus, she has overcome a lot of adversity to get to the position she is in today.
She is an Academic
Millicent Simmonds includes her favorite school subject (i.e., History) when she is asked to describe herself. She also includes a love of reading on her list of traits. This marks her as quite intelligent, and we already knew she was talented. But she isn’t merely brains — she also likes to kickbox on the side after her schoolwork is done.
She Used Creative Methods While Filming
The inherent difficulty in filming as a deaf person comes because it is not possible to hear when the scene has begun filming. In Wonderstruck, her and Haynes overcame this issue with a variety of quick fixes. For example, they would hide her interpreter in a bookcase, who would then sign ‘action’ when the scene had begun. Another clever trick was to dress her mother up as an extra, who would also give Simmonds a subtle sign. We have to give credit to these tactics — without them, we may never have seen Millicent Simmonds on the silver screen.