If you say that someone is “no shrinking violet,” you mean that the person is not at all shy: a great asset if that same person has aspirations to be a performer. While Violet …
If you say that someone is “no shrinking violet,” you mean that the person is not at all shy: a great asset if that same person has aspirations to be a performer. While Violet Adams—11-year-old daughter to her parents, Ramsay and Ananda, and twin sister to brother, John—might be undecided about what her future holds, one thing is sure for this local lass: she is a young lady to be reckoned with. Student, athlete, dancer, artist and singer, Adams is always on the move and in constant pursuit of creative challenges. Last week, Adams made her television debut in a new HBO production titled “I Know This Much Is True” (IKTMIT).
HBO’s website states that “the limited [six-episode] series follows Dominick Birdsey as he struggles to care for his twin brother, Thomas, while discovering the truth about his own family history.”
The series, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, is based on the 1998 bestselling book by Wally Lamb and stars Mark Ruffalo, who plays the double role of both identical twins. IKTMIT also features Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis and Rosie O’Donnell.
Entertainment reporter Jonathan Charles Fox recently spoke with Violet Adams about her film debut in the high-profile production, shot on location in Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls and Kingston, NY.
Fox: Well, this has to be thrilling. How do you think you did?
Adams: It’s so exciting. There are only six episodes and I’m in two of them, but it’s also frustrating because we don’t even have HBO. I’m hearing everyone saying things like, “Violet, you did so good! How do you feel?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.”
Sitting off to one side during the interview, Ramsay Adams reminds Violet that some of the content is also “very adult” and not suitable for 11 year olds.
Adams: Oh, yeah, that too, but of course, not in the scenes I’m in. I play the character Bunny... a schoolgirl in third grade in the 1950s. The scene is a flashback and I’m with a bunch of kids in a school bus; I had three lines.
Fox: Did you get to act with Mark Ruffalo?
Adams: No, because Mark plays both of the brothers as adults and my scenes take place in the past. They had four sets of twins on set to play [the young twins] so they would switch back and forth between days... I never knew [who] was who on any given day.
Fox: How did you get involved with the series?
Adams: Back in 2019, [family friend] Mark told us that they were looking for a young background dancer for one of the scenes. He knew that I used to go to Hurleyville dance and I had a great teacher named Courtney Evans. She helped me put together an audition tape with just some basic steps and we sent it to the casting people. About two weeks later, I got a callback and they said they were interested in me for a different... even bigger role. My mom took me to New York City for the audition.
Fox: What was that like?
Adams: There were three casting people there and they were really nice. I had been in school plays before and auditioned for the Forestburgh Playhouse, but I think they knew that it was my first audition for a [televised production]. I was super nervous, but luckily they let my mom come in with me. I thought I was terrible, I stumbled on my lines two times, but after the audition, the casting director said “Violet, that was really great and I would love to help you find an agent.” I didn’t even know what that meant.
Four or five days later, we went back and I got to meet the director. He asked me about school and my twin brother and, after a break, they came out and said, “We can’t wait to see you on set.” I looked at my mom and said, “What the heck is ‘set’? Did I get the part?” And Mom said, “Yeah! We have to celebrate.” And we went to Serendipity [world-famous for its ice cream] for the first time.
Fox: Is acting a career that you’re looking to pursue?
Adams: I don’t really know. When I was little I wanted to be a singer. When I was six, I wanted to be a painter. When this all happened, I realized that, oh my gosh, this is an opportunity to become a real artist, to have a future. I didn’t know what to think. It’s stressful when you’re 11 years old. So, right now, I’m just having fun with it.
Fox: Does acting come easily to you?
Adams: I thought acting was an easy job, but it’s not! I had to wake up at four in the morning one day to get ready and I felt like a hard-working kid. There are strict laws that say how long kids can work at one time, and one scene [shot over different periods] took seven hours to complete. After we [were finished] for the day, my friends and I kind of wanted to hang out, but we said, “We gotta get up at five, so, there’s not a lot of time to have fun.” So, yeah, it’s fun, but it’s also work. It’s a job.
Fox: It’s clear that your parents have supported your acting career. What does your twin brother think about all this?
Adams: Oh, he’s really supportive. Of course, I’m supportive of him, too, but he’s better. He is just really, really good at it!
Fox: Did I hear that you were already in another movie?
Adams: Yes. Following my role in IKTMIT, I got a part in a movie called “Lapsis,” which is a futuristic sci-fi story. I played the head of a kids club. We were called “the ruffians” and I played the only girl in the club. Oh, and I did a photoshoot with a really great photographer named David Noles, and a web-commercial for Theraflu.
Fox: Two movies and a commercial in two years? That’s already an impressive resume for an 11 year old! I’m guessing that things have slowed down for you now because of the pandemic. It’s not like you can keep going into the city for auditions.
Adams: I’ve actually had tons of auditions. I got a callback yesterday for the film version of [the 1970 novel by Judy Blume] “Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.” They send us the script in email and I memorize the lines and send them a tape.
Fox: Wow. Even the pandemic hasn’t slowed you down. What’s next for Violet Adams?
Adams: Hopefully “Margaret”; I’m up for the role of Nancy. It’s an amazing book and I really hope that they want me to play this character. Plus, I’m also hoping that we can go back to school next fall.
Fox: Where can readers see your work?
Adams: “Lapsis” [written and directed by Noah Hutton] is scheduled for its world premiere later in 2020 and “I Know This Much Is True” is playing now on HBO.
Fox: Well, it’s pretty clear that you’re no “shrinking violet.” Sounds like you’re really going places, kid.
Follow young Violet’s budding career on her YouTube channel (under the pseudonym Thor Whiting) where she creates videos about recipes, cooking and family fun and look for her private, parental-approved and maintained Instagram account @Thor_Whiting.