Sara Paxton has been making her mark in the film industry for most of her life. At only 30 years old, she is already a two-decade veteran of show business. Having been acting professionally since the age of six, it’s likely you’ll recognise her face. In her career, she’s curated a smart mix of projects, showing her versatility as an actress. Whether charming in her role as a mermaid in teen flick Aquamarine, playing depraved games in the dark comedy Cheap Thrills or being brutally murdered in The Last House on the Left, Paxton seamlessly traverses each genre with extraordinary skill. Not many child stars can speak of carrying on with such a zealous consistency in the ruthless business of acting but speaking to Paxton, it’s clear that she has never been phased by the bright lights.
Paxton tells us the unlikely story of how she came to acting. “When I was a little kid, my cousins and I would do print ads for the paper modelling the clothes. The photographer gave my cousins and I a business card for a commercial agent. My mom didn’t think twice about it but my cousin went and started taking acting classes! This made me insanely jealous and so I begged my mom to go too!” Years on, she was balancing a serious acting career with school, but Paxton remained level-headed about it. “I didn’t think of what I was doing as a career. I thought of it as my after-school activity that I loved. It was tough at times but being in regular school was very important to me,” she says. Paxton stuck to school of her own volition, even if it meant putting in extra work when she was off working on sets, going so far as to ask her friends to fax her all the homework and notes she missed. “I auditioned and fought for everything I worked on in my teen years and I am very proud of that and am so grateful that I was able to be a kid but still have those amazing experiences.” Ultimately, the love of acting eclipsed everything else.
The latest instalment in Paxton’s multifaceted career holds up a mirror to America. This year she returns to the big screen in the political drama The Front Runner. The film tells the true story of Senator Gary Hart, who was set to run as the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination until this was upended by an allegation of an affair with model Donna Rice. “[It] was the first scandal of its kind and changed the trajectory of politics forever,” Paxton explains. As she promotes the film the political situation in the States seems to be the elephant in the room. With the last presidential campaign and current White House being marred by similar (and even more shocking) scandals, the film is understandably causing a stir. “I think this is an important story because it is so relevant to today. It’s a moment in our history that surprisingly isn’t well known but is the story of how we got to now. It marks a turning point in the relationship between politicians and the media and the breakdown of preexisting barriers between personal and professional reporting,” the actress tells us.
In the film, Paxton takes up the role of the infamous Donna Rice, who was vilified by the American press when images of her surfaced with the senator (played in the film by Hugh Jackman). “I think that at the time, Donna was portrayed as a one-dimensional person. A caricature.” It seems 30 years later, Rice is finally getting her due. “The reason why I loved the script so much upon reading it was because of how Donna was written. With dignity and respect and as a real person,” she goes on, “I think this film finally gives Donna the voice she never had.” In 2018, the conversation on women in sexual misconduct cases has evolved and with the revival of the Hart-scandal, Paxton felt the immense pressure to do Rice justice. “When I got the role of Donna, I suddenly realized I had a huge responsibility of playing a real person! A woman who is alive today and can see what I say about the film and my performance. This was extremely intimidating […] I wasn’t looking to mimic her in anyway. My only concern was capturing the empathy of this woman in this terrible situation.”
What can we expect to see next from Sara Paxton? Right now, she’s really set on returning to music. Paxton has shown her vocal talent with brief musical stints in the past and she now has her eyes cast on taking this to the next level. “I love musicals! So I think big dream come true would be able to sing in a film!” With an impressive list of roles under her belt, we know Paxton can do it all. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for what she brings us next.
Photoshoots > Session #41
Role: Donna Rice
Release Date: November 21st (USA)
American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.
Movies >  The Front Runner > Still
Candids > 2008 > [October 24] Out in West Hollywood, CA
Candids > 2008 > [October 31] At Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, CA
Candids > 2008 > [October 07] Leaving Apple Club in Los Angeles, CA
Candids > 2008 > [October 15] Arriving at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, CA
Candids > 2008 > [October 02] Out in West Hollywood, CA
Candids > 2008 > [October 06] Leaving Nobu Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA
Sara plays Donna Rice in the upcoming movie, “The Front Runner”. It releases in theaters on November 21st. 😀
“Donna Rice was a broken human being whose life had been stolen,” Reitman said. “You returned home to find out that you can’t walk outside. You can’t buy groceries. The world feels as though it deserves to know everything about you. People thought of Donna Rice as a blonde object on a boat, not a human being. She didn’t sign up for any of that.”
As Bai wrote, “Donna Rice was an attractive blonde only in the sense that the Sistine Chapel had some pretty good artwork.” She was, he said, “positively breathtaking.” Sara Paxton, who plays Rice, has the same angelic aura.
In a key scene, Paxton’s Rice begins to cry during a lengthy crisis-management session, as she tries to explain to a Hart adviser that the reason she worked so hard was so that people wouldn’t look at her like she was “some stupid bimbo,” just the way he was looking at her.
Noting that this was Paxton’s audition scene, Reitman recalled, “Her performance just annihilated me. You see all her aspirations being crushed. I cast her then and there.”
He showed the film first to Rice Hughes, who has not talked publicly about Hart in decades. “Donna thought Hugh [Jackman] was amazing, and she was moved by the decency with which Sara played her,” the director said.
The 30-year-old Paxton was born in 1988, just after Hart’s candidacy exploded. “The name had never crossed my ears,” she said. “In a lot of ways, Hart was a man who was ahead of his time, but he was also a man who was behind the time because he did not realize the political landscape was changing right beneath his feet.”
“On the one hand, the media have a moral obligation,” she mused, “but on the other hand, are they doing more harm than good?” She said she felt an enormous responsibility because she had never played a real person before, much less one “in the darkest moment of her life.”
“The job of Gary’s people was to protect Gary,” Paxton said. “There was no one there to protect Donna.”
Photoshoots > Session #37
At any given moment in any mans life there are always three women involved…
Movies >  Three Women > Screen Captures
A chance online dating encounter brings two very different people together for an adventure through the Los Angeles night and an unexpected outcome – the possibility of true love.
Movies >  First Date > Screen Captures