14-year-old Mattea Conforti may not have started out with acting on her agenda but it seems the entertainment industry had other ideas. From Broadway (Matilda the Musical, Sunday in the Park with George) and the Big Screen (Frozen 2 voice of young Elsa) to TV series (Starz Power), Mattea has quickly established herself as a multi-talented force. Next month she will return as Millie Manx, daughter of the deviously charming Charlie Manx, in AMC’s hit series NOS4A2.
Fan Fest News had the opportunity to chat with Mattea about her role on NOS4A2, her journey into acting and so much more.
Linda: I’m excited to talk with you. Broadway, movies and TV series, you’re already establishing quite a resume. I mean, can you talk a little bit about how all that started for you and what inspired you?
Mattea: I started out as a competitive dancer, so I didn’t have any formal acting or voice training. This one time I went to an open call for Matilda and they called me six months after my audition and said I had a callback. So really when I got into all this Broadway stuff I didn’t have any experience and I was just doing something that I thought I was going to love doing. It turned out I did.
Linda: What was that like working on Broadway?
Mattea: Oh, it was a really fun experience. I love performing on the stage and I love making people happy. And I think that when I’m in front of a big audience every night for eight shows a week, it really just makes me love what I’m doing.
Linda: I’ve been to several Broadway shows myself. It looks like a lot of work goes into everything. You know, it seems like a really tough life.
Mattea: Yeah. People don’t realize it. Behind the scenes, everybody is working together and they’re all trying to help each other. And it really shows in the performance.
Linda: Had you seen a Broadway show prior to Matilda.
Mattea: I actually did see the show Matilda before and I really… I just wanted to do it. I thought that they completely forgot about me [though]. I was upset because I thought I could really love doing something like that.
Linda: Well, you’re doing a great job.
Mattea: Thank you.
Linda: Do you have a preference between being on stage and being on TV?
Mattea: You know, they’re both so different, I can’t really choose because [with] Broadway, you get to do it live and you have to convey a message to the audience in one night. But with television, you get multiple takes and you can travel in and out of characters. They’re both very different experiences. I just couldn’t choose.
Linda: What was your favorite thing about being on stage performing live like that?
Mattea: I think my most favorite thing about being on stage is probably connecting with the audience. There’s moments when you know that the audience understands what you’re trying to say to them. And it just all clicks when you’re on stage and it just makes you love performing. That’s why I kept doing all this stuff because I realized that I love doing this. I know keep saying that, that it’s a fun experience to be able to connect with the audience while you’re performing. You may not be doing something that’s true, but you still have a way of connecting with people.
Linda: You get that immediate feedback.
Mattea: Right. Yeah.
Linda: I’ve only recently binged NOS4A2. It had been on my list for a while, but I finally had a chance to do it. It’s an amazing series. Can you tell me a little bit about how that came about?
Mattea: I saw that my agent hooked me up with an audition for NOS4A2. I didn’t really know what it was about because they didn’t have enough time to read the book because the book is really long. But pretty much, NOS4A2 is a dark fancy show with some horror and drama mixed into it. It’s focused on this character, Charlie Manx who is evil, but his intentions are not as evil as you really think that they are.
Linda: That’s the feeling I kind of got about it. I was going to ask you about the relationship with your on-screen dad. I think while he is the bad guy, you’re right… you almost feel a sense that he’s trying to do something good.
Mattea: Yeah. I mean, this land in his eyes is a safe haven for children. It’s a safe place for children in neglected homes to go and he just wants to make sure that everyone feels loved and to give them a special childhood that he never had, but he doesn’t do that in the best way.
Linda: I know Season 2 is starting up next month. I’m excited about that. Is there anything you can tell me about the progression of Millie, going into season two?
Mattea: So Millie Manx is Charlie Manx’s daughter. And throughout both seasons, she loves her father unconditionally and she loves being loyal to him and she loves making him happy. All she wants to do is have him be around her all the time. In season one, her father was her world and still is her world. Her father is everything to her, but in season two, he starts to go on more adventures and she starts to think about things that she maybe didn’t think about before season one.
Linda: Oh, that’s exciting. You talk about [the show] being dark, it being horror-related. Are you a fan of this genre? What went into your preparation for playing Millie?
Mattea: I mean, obviously before NOS4A2, I didn’t have much experience with doing horror. It was definitely something new for me, but I was excited to challenge myself because I love challenging myself and seeing how far I can go. Millie Manx is a character that’s very different from all the other characters that I’ve played, but this shows my range and how far I can act. And it shows how much I can give the audience. If that makes sense.
Linda: It does. Were you given any advice from your fellow castmates?
Mattea: Not really. I just got some notes and some suggestions from the directors and crew members, to help the show really come to life.
Linda: Do you like this scary stuff? I mean, this is Joe Hill. This is Stephen King’s kid. There’s quite a reputation there.
Mattea: I do. I enjoy those stories a lot, to see how much work and effort goes into bringing a horror genre movie to life. And once you see it on the big screen, it’s crazy to think how much the work really paid off because you see all of these crazy green screen effects as we’re filming. It’s like, wow, I was in that.
Linda: What other things are you watching? What else do you enjoy?
Mattea: Well, I enjoy shows on Disney Plus. I kind of get scared whenever I’m watching horror stuff. So I kind of get away from all that but I like more upbeat movies, drama. Yeah.
Linda: What do your friends think about all this?
Mattea: They think it’s really cool. I actually just moved here so I had to restart with all my friends. All my friends at my old school, they were all fine with it, but you don’t know how the new kids at your school are going to react to what you do, but it’s really nice to see how much support I get here.
Linda: That’s fantastic. Are there other genres you would like to work in? Are you wanting to do something say in comedy or…
Mattea: Yeah, I’m open to anything. As long as I just have fun with it. Comedies are definitely very fun. So are drama and horror, and as long as I’m just giving myself a wide range of all these genres, then I’ll be happy.
Linda: Well, you’re multi-talented that’s for sure, and [successful] in just a brief amount of time. That’s very impressive. Going back to NOS4A2 for a second… what is it like working with the other cast members? Do you have special relationships with anybody?
Mattea: Oh yeah. So Ashleigh [Cummings] who plays Vic McQueen, she the best. She’s like a big sister. She’s always cared about how I was feeling on set. She cared about how the crew was feeling and all the other castmates. One time after we finished shooting a scene together, where I was actually not in the camera shot but they needed me there for her eye line, she came up to me right after we wrapped and apologized for me having to stay later than I really needed. That really stuck with me because she didn’t need to apologize, but it showed me what a thoughtful and good person that she is. It really shows how much of a great role model she is to young actors, older actors, anybody that really wants to get into the business.
Linda: That’s really sweet. I enjoy hearing people supporting one another. Now that you’ve brought that up, are there other actors or actresses that you’ve looked up to that maybe you’d want to work with in the future?
Mattea: Yeah. I mean, this one actress that I really admire her work, Elle Fanning. I did a movie with her a while back and she’s come to some shows that I’ve performed in, but I’ve always admired her work ethic. She’s very professional and she knows how to get into character and how to get out of character very easily. And she’s just a great person to be around.
Linda: She sounds like a perfect role model.
Mattea: She is. And a great friend.
Linda: Aw, that’s very sweet. With all of this stuff that you’re doing, you’re clearly very busy. What do you do for fun outside of acting?
Mattea: For hobbies, I really enjoy dancing. I’ve competitively danced before I started doing Broadway, I really enjoy dancing. I’m good at tumbling, like gymnastic stuff. I’m going to get into the cheer team at my high school, so I’m excited to start with that. I like to play piano, I take voice lessons, I enjoy reading sometimes. And I’m also obsessed with TikTok, which I’m sure everyone else is. Yeah.
Linda: Can you tell me what’s next on your agenda? Do you have anything in the works?
Mattea: Mm-hmm (affirmative). First, I am going to finish eighth grade and start my summer. But after that, I have a really cool project coming out, but I just can’t tell you about that yet. I will as soon as I can. We were just about to start re-shoots for that right before everything shut down. I hope that we can get back to that soon because it’s a really fun project to film.
Linda: That sounds great. I look forward to learning more about it, very exciting. You have a bright future in front of you and I wish you much success. I cannot wait for NOS4A2 Season 2.
Mattea: Thank you.
Be sure to check out NOS4A2 Season 2 premiering Sunday, June 21 at 10 PM EST. on AMC and BBC America. Merry Christmas! 😉