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Oh, Soph! Billy & Ray’s Sophie von Haselberg on Growing Up With Bette, Craving TV & Her Five-Year Plan
INTERVIEWS By Paul Wontorek November 6, 2014 – 3:48PM

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Age: 27—“But I turn 28 next week!”

Hometown: Although she was born and spent a chunk of her childhood in Los Angeles, von Haselberg calls New York City home.

Current Role: Helen, the sassy and smart secretary to legendary Hollywood director Billy Wilder in the Vineyard Theater’s Billy & Ray, her New York stage debut.

Stage & Screen Cred: Many credits at Yale School of Drama, where she got her MFA earlier this year, including Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre and Wendy in a “really crazy” adaptation of Peter Pan. On camera, she just shot Woody Allen’s next as-of-yet untitled film and, as a toddler, appeared in mom Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” music video.

“‘What’s it like growing up with somebody famous?’ is probably my least favorite question. I mean, what kind of question is that? I know who my mother is, I’m aware that I’ll be asked about her, but the vagueness of ‘What’s it like?’ Uh well, she’s my mom, so to me it was normal!”

“It must be weird to send your kid to Yale and tell everyone, ‘She’s a sociology major and wants to live in China,’ and then all of the sudden be like, ‘Now she’s an actor.’ My parents are still curious about how this happened. But if I wasn’t doing this, I would just be flitting around trying a bunch of things as opposed to really being in the right place.”

“It was no TV, no junk food when I was a kid. I would go to friends’ houses and literally be like, I just want to sit on front of your TV for the next ten hours, eat Gushers and, like, pet on My Little Pony.”

“Mom’s friends are incredibly creative people. They’re writers, designers, choreographers… People who are completely themselves and have no interest in being anybody else. That’s a wonderful thing to grow up around because it made me want to be myself and not fit the mold of what anybody else imagined me to be.”

“Some Like It Hot has been my favorite movie since I was four, so Billy Wilder has a very special place in my heart. I watched a lot of black-and-white movies and foreign films. When I read Billy & Ray, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is a world that I’ve always loved.'”

“I want to play Margaret in both parts of Henry IV at some point in my life. My five-year dream plan would be to do a ton of theater, do a ton of film, do a ton of TV and do anything with Mark Rylance—like every other actor! Who knows what will happen. I’ll go wherever the wind takes me.”

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