Directed by Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man), Gifted centers on Mary (Mckenna Grace), a seven-year-old who is a mathematical genius. Though education wise Mary deserves the best schooling as possible, her concerned and loving uncle Frank (Chris Evans) is also a proponent of giving her the most normal childhood as possible.
The picture co-stars Jenny Slate, an actress who’s best known for her scene stealing comedic chops (as witnessed by the first rate 2014 feature Obvious Child). With Gifted, Slate plays a straight laced and focused teacher, so comedy wasn’t in the cards for this gratifying role.
“That’s the ultimate challenge is to lean on what you know works,” said Slate. “She’s sturdy and she’s not showcasing herself in any way. She sees herself as a facilitator and as someone who speaks the truth. Those are very simple things that need to be respected. And I’m usually called upon to be a more ‘character-y’ type of person and I really gravitated towards this character because she’s straightforward. She’s whole. She’s self-possessed. It’s very old-fashioned and clean and fresh to make education your first priority.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Slate talk about playing a teacher and working with kids on Gifted.
Gifted opens in select cities April 7 and opens nationwide April 21.