Once in a while, an indie movie comes along and tugs at our heartstrings. The winner of the Grand Jury and Audience Award for a Narrative Feature at the 2013 South by Southwest Festival, Short Term 12 is a great example. The film was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, director of the upcoming Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, who based the story on his own experience of working in a group facility for teenagers.
The movie stars Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson, in her very first leading role. She is Grace Howard, a young supervisor responsible for a group home for troubled teens. Committed to her job but haunted by her past, Grace struggles to help the kids who slip through the cracks of the system, and must dig deep to find the strength within herself to support the kids who look up to her.
The movie was listed by the National Board of Review as one of the Top Ten Independent Films of 2013. It also launched Larson’s movie career; she went on to deliver an Oscar-winning performance in Room. But did you know that she’s not the only familiar face from Short Term 12? The movie also stars another Oscar winner and other up-and-coming actors.
Here’s a look at the now stellar cast of Short Term 12.
She appeared out of nowhere to win an Oscar for Best Actress for her heartbreaking performance in 2015’s Room. Larson’s very first film role didn’t even have a name. She was just “six chick” in 13 Going on 30. She then scored bit parts in a handful of movies, including 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs the World. After her acclaimed performance in Short Term 12, Larson scored the role of a lifetime in Room, where she played a young woman being held captive by her sexual abuser, and grappling with returning to a normal life after she was rescued. Her raw and earnest portrayal easily won her multiple awards, including the most converted Oscar. Since then, she starred in high profile movies and blockbusters, including arguably her most famous role- as Captain Marvel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
While she is now a superstar, Larson still makes time for movies that tug at the heart. She teamed up with Short Term 12’s director, Cretton, in 2017’s The Glass Castle, where she takes on Jeannette Walls, based on the memoir of her nomadic childhood. Next up, Larson will helm Phase 4 of the MCU, bringing Captain Marvel to greater heights.
While Malek may not necessarily look like Freddie Mercury, his performance of the late Queen lead singer was stirring and stunning, and he deservedly took home the Best Actor Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody. Before this, he has starred in the acclaimed HBO mini-series Pacific, playing Merriel "Snafu" Shelton. Malek is best known for his role as a computer hacker in the TV series Mr Robot, which he won many accolades for, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Malek’s very first film role was in 2006’s Night at the Museum, where he played Pharaoh Ahkmenrah, opposite Ben Stiller and the late Robin Williams.
Since his award-winning performance as Freddie Mercury, Malek lent his voice to the monkey Chee-Chee in Dolittle. Doing voice acting is nothing new to him. Malek is a voice actor for popular video games such as Halo 2, Until Dawn and The Legend of Korra. Coming up, Malek plays the villain in the latest Bond movie, No Time to Die.
Stanfield impresses as troubled teen Marcus in Short Term 12, which marked his feature film debut. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his role. Since then, his acting career took off, appearing in roles in numerous notable movies, one of which is as civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson in 2014’s Selma. He went on to appear as Snoop Dogg in 2015’s Straight Outta Compton and as Patrick Haynes in 2016’s Snowden, all of which earned him recognition for his commendable performances.
Stanfield continuous the momentum, appearing in notable films, such as Get Out (2016), Sorry to Bother You (2018), Uncut Gems (2019) and Knives Out (2019). Next up, he will appear in Judas and the Black Messiah opposite Get Out co-star Daniel Kaluuya, slated for 2021.
LaKeith Stanfield in Knives Out
In Short Term 12, Dever plays Jayden, a sexual abuse victim whom Larson’s Grace saves. Dever got her breakout role in 2011’s FX series Justified. She then went on to star in another series- Last Man Standing, opposite Tim Allen. She also appeared in numerous TV series, such as Modern Family, The Mentalist and Curb Your Enthusiasm. For her role in Short Term 12, Dever was praised by critics for her portrayal of a girl suffering from abuse.
Since then, Dever continues to forge an acting career that sees her being nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries for her performance in 2019’s docudrama miniseries Unbelievable. In the same year, she also appeared in in the acclaimed Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde. Dever returns to TV, and will star series produced by HBO and Hulu.
Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart
He may be most noted for his role as Jim Harper in Aaron Sorkin’s series The Newsroom. Gallagher is not just an actor, but also a musician and stage actor as well. His foray in acting began on the small screen, in series such as Law and Order, The West Wing and NYPD Blue. 2003 saw him starring in his first film role in Pieces of April, with Katie Holmes in the leading role. Short Term 12 is Gallagher’s first leading film performance, and he didn’t disappoint, his chemistry with Larson is palpable and his delivery convincing.
In his stage career, Gallagher won critical acclaim for his Broadway debut in Rabbit Hole in 2006. After Short Term 12, Gallagher appeared in the thriller film 10 Cloverfield Lane (2014) and starred as the antagonist in 2016’s Hush. This year, he has a recurring role in the popular series Westworld.
John Gallagher Jr. in Newsroom