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
Age: 27â€”â€œBut I turn 28 next week!”
Current Role: Helen, the sassy and smart secretary to legendary Hollywood director Billy Wilder in the Vineyard Theaterâ€™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 Williamsâ€™ Vieux Carre and Wendy in a â€œreally crazyâ€ adaptation of Peter Pan. On camera, she just shot Woody Allenâ€™s next as-of-yet untitled film and, as a toddler, appeared in mom Bette Midlerâ€™s â€œFrom a Distanceâ€ music video.
â€œâ€˜Whatâ€™s it like growing up with somebody famous?â€™ is probably my least favorite question. I mean, what kind of question is that? I know who my mother is, Iâ€™m aware that Iâ€™ll be asked about her, but the vagueness of ‘Whatâ€™s it like?’ Uh well, sheâ€™s my mom, so to me it was normal!”
â€œIt must be weird to send your kid to Yale and tell everyone, ‘Sheâ€™s a sociology major and wants to live in China,’ and then all of the sudden be like, ‘Now sheâ€™s an actor.’ My parents are still curious about how this happened. But if I wasnâ€™t doing this, I would just be flitting around trying a bunch of things as opposed to really being in the right place.”
â€œIt 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.”
â€œMomâ€™s friends are incredibly creative people. Theyâ€™re writers, designers, choreographersâ€¦ People who are completely themselves and have no interest in being anybody else. Thatâ€™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.”
â€œSome 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, â€˜Oh yeah, this is a world that Iâ€™ve always loved.'”
â€œI 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 Rylanceâ€”like every other actor! Who knows what will happen. Iâ€™ll go wherever the wind takes me.”