Get to Know Grace Van Patten, the Breakout Star of ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’

In Hulu‘s new show Nine Perfect Strangers, Grace Van Patten plays, well, one of the strangers. Her character is Zoe Marconi, a 20-year-old who, along with her parents (Michael Shannon and Asher Keddie), travels to a wellness resort called Tranquillum in wake of a family tragedy. She meets the resort’s mysterious owner, Marsha (Nicole Kidman), and submits to treatments that are said to be life-changing. But soon, the Marconis and the other guests—who include characters played by Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, and Regina Hall—realize not everything at Tranquillum is what it seems. In fact, they could be in danger. 

It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a series, and Van Patten hits virtually every note possible as Zoe. At times, she’s heartbreaking, grappling with the devastating loss that brought her to Tranquillum. In other scenes, she’s sardonic, like how most college students would be if they were trapped in a kooky wellness center with their parents for 10 days. There are moment of joy, sadness, horror—you name it, Nine Perfect Strangers has it. The show is excellent—and Van Patten, hands down, is one of its breakout stars. 

The 24-year-old was born in New York City to a showbiz family. (Her dad, Tim Van Patten, is a director and producer; her mom, Wendy, is a model.) A slew of guest spots and small roles on shows like The Sopranos, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Maniac have led Van Patten to this moment. And there’s no stopping her from here. Get to know her now, because she’s about to be everywhere.

How did you get involved with Nine Perfect Strangers?

Grace Van Patten: So I just got a good old email audition for it and was so excited by everything I saw. Starting with [screenwriter] David E. Kelley’s name, [director] Jonathan Levine, who I was a huge fan of. I’m a huge fan of everybody. Nicole Kidman. I get these auditions, and I’m like, “Yeah, right. This is such a far-fetched thing that could happen.” I read Zoe’s character description and I remember thinking how beautiful it was. I had never read a character description that was so thoughtful and deep and layered. You just don’t see that often, especially with female roles. I was very intrigued by that. I didn’t get to read any scripts before I auditioned. And then once I got the part, I read the book. I did a whole book club with my friends.

My first audition was on tape and then my callback, I went into the room with Jonathan. He told me a little bit more about what Zoe had gone through. Then I found out a while after… I totally thought this was not going to happen. I found out right when we went into lockdown. So it was a very contrasting day of feelings.

What was that like? Receiving such good news during such a scary and confusing time?

I was in a Trader Joe’s stocking up, and I got the call when I was in a line that was out the door. I was so, so excited and could not believe it and was speechless. Then I hung up the phone and looked at where I was, and it was like, “Holy shit, this is…” That was a polarizing moment. Obviously, that time was just very hard for everyone and weird and uncertain, but I felt very lucky that I had this to look forward to.

Ari Michelson

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