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Lily Gladstone on her crazy year and new film, Fancy Dance

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Lily Gladstone stars in Erica Tremblay‘s feature directorial debut, Fancy Dance, opening theatrically on Friday. Gladstone plays Jax Goodiron, a member of Oklahoma’s Seneca-Cayuga tribe who is searching for her missing sister.

Gladstone is coming off of a big year that culminated in an Oscar nomination for the film Killers of the Flower Moon. However, she tells ABC Audio that you can say her year ended up the way it started.

“There’s a perception it started when Killers of the Flower Moon premiered at Cannes. It started when Fancy Dance premiered at Sundance in January,” she says. “So, it’s been a really lovely bookend to start this wild journey that led into Killers of the Flower Moon and is now kind of beautifully wrapping up.”

Fancy Dance finds Gladstone’s character struggling to maintain hope, while dealing with the harsh reality that her sister, Tawi, may never turn up — as much for herself as for her niece, Roki.

“Jax pretty much knows that Tawi’s not coming back. … Roki’s at that point where she’s smart … and still innocent enough that she can believe that, yeah, mom takes off once in a while,” she says. “And Jax kind of curates an environment and lies to her face to keep that belief high, because she needs it as much as (Roki) does.”

Roki is portrayed by newcomer Isabel Deroy-Olson, who went on to play the younger version of Gladstone’s character Cam in the Hulu docudrama Under the Bridge. Isabel tells ABC Audio there was an instant chemistry between the two.

“When we first met, we didn’t have a chemistry read,” she recalls. “We met in the production office, you know, and the immediate familiarity with each other was so uncanny. It was kind of jarring.”

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