On the Verge: Brie Larson
Brie Larson shows off her comic chops opposite Jonah Hill in the big-screen version of 21 Jump Street.
Brie Larson was a rather precocious toddler. “I was 3 when I told my mom that I knew what my dharma was and that I wanted to be an actor,” says the Sacramento, California–born starlet. As the daughter of not Buddhist monks but two chiropractors, Larson isn’t sure where she found her inspiration, but at 22, she’s making good on her word. She’s already tested her dramatic chops—as Woody Harrelson’s daughter in Rampart, about the infamous Los Angeles police-corruption scandal. And this month she’s appearing in another type of cop film—as a student who befriends Jonah Hill, a baby-faced investigator infiltrating a high school in 21 Jump Street, a comedy inspired by the eighties TV series. The movie set was as close as Larson ever got to attending a high school, as she spent her youth starring in fake commercials (“Malibu Mudslide Barbie”) on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and becoming a bona fide pop star. She was handpicked by Tommy Mottola to make her own record and to open for Jesse McCartney on his Beautiful Soul tour. Now the multi-hyphenate Larson can add directing and writing to her résumé: Her short film, The Arm, was selected to show at Sundance. It’s enough to overwhelm most girls, but Larson is seemingly anxiety-free. “I’m so used to swimming with the piranhas,” she says. “And they’re really not that bad.”