Zen McGrath, who plays the lead in Florian Zeller's highly anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-winning debut
"The Father," talks about how he dealt with the emotional intensity of the drama. The 20-year-old Australian actor used to be pretty unknown,
but now he can hold his own next to Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern. Zen McGrath admits to stealing things from the set of The Son,
including a photo of a much younger version of himself on a beach with a happy Hugh Jackman. "It looked so funny, so I took it," he says. "I just thought to myself,
I need that for myself." The Son is the follow-up to Florian Zeller's Oscar-winning directorial debut, The Father, and another adaptation of one of Zeller's stage plays.
It has its world premiere in Venice, and McGrath plays Nicholas, a 17-year-old New Yorker whose deteriorating mental health starts to tear apart his deeply loving
but painfully powerless family, which includes his father (Jackman), mother (Laura Dern), and stepmother (Vanessa Kirby). It's an amazing and heartbreaking
performance by the young Australian actor, who was only 18 when Zeller over Zoom cast him to play his key role.
The two of them had only met three days before filming began in London. But the cleverly spliced photo of McGrath when he was young and Jackman when he was older shows how his career has gone so far
McGrath is now 20 years old. Because McGrath got his first role not long after the first shot was taken, when he was just 10 years old.
This set the wheels in motion. As he explains, in the early 2010s, his neuroscientist mother Heidi, anaesthetist father Craig, eldest brother Gully (short for Gulliver), middle child Zen
("this is a big secret, but that's my second name; my first name is actually Augustus"), and youngest brother Winta (actually Hudson Winta McGrath)