Jena Malone is an up-and-coming actress who has numerous accomplishments despite her young years. She is growing into being a substantial presence in the movie industry.
Beginning as a child actress, and now stepping up to roles as a young adult, Malone's career path has been compared to that of Jodie Foster, herself a former child actress and who has co-starred with Malone in two movies. Jena is often described as having a maturity beyond her years and, in her career thus far, she has often tackled roles that are difficult and are not standard fare for actors her age.
Malone's first claim to fame was in performing the title role in Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) for which she won the Young Artist Award, and which she filmed when she was merely ten years old. This movie dealt with issues of child abuse, violence and sex. Jena has said in later interviews that this movie and her participation in it continue to influence her life substantially.
Showing self-assurance and a clear vision of personal goals from an early age, Jena, at age 14, was encouraged to try out for Air Force One (1997), a movie that was virtually guaranteed to be a success since box-office king Harrison Ford was cast in the lead, but Jena said she'd prefer to seek other roles that were of more interest to her.
In the following years, Malone appeared in several made-for-TV movies for which she won or was nominated for many awards. In 1997, she lucked in to being cast in the blockbuster Contact (1997) where she portrayed the child version of Jodie Foster's lead character. Foster stated that she built her character by mimicking Jena. And, in 1998, Jena was cast in the major film Stepmom (1998) where she co-starred with Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris. Jena was given what was likely the best line in that movie where her character, bitter over her parents' divorce, confronts her father who has returned home briefly; at a moment of crisis, her dad tells her "You do NOT run out on your mother", and the rueful Malone exclaims "No -- that's YOUR job".
Also, in 1998, Malone appeared in a two-part episode of the critically acclaimed TV series "Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993). Contrary to what might usually be expected of a teenage actress, in this episode, Jena played the complex role of the perpetrator of a crime, which she portrayed with subtlety.
At age 15, Jena was legally emancipated and thus took direct control of her finances and her career. Malone began getting more attention and acclaim in her next set of films: the artistic cult film Donnie Darko (2001); the teenage journey The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) where she again co-starred with Jodie Foster; and the satirical Saved! (2004) which debuted Jena as the lead in a movie.
Jena has expressed an interest in directing some day, and so she is preparing for roles behind the camera as well as in front. In 2002, she co-produced American Girl (2002) while also starring in it. And, in 2003, she undertook a formal study of photography.
In early 2006, Malone debuted on the Broadway stage in the play "Doubt". A review by Broadway.com characterized her performance as "astonishing".
Many people in Hollywood have jobs as actors. Watch for Jena Malone. She is an artist.
Usually portrays teenage girls in problems or from dysfunctional families
Won legal emancipation from her mother, who is now barred from interfering with Jena's career and earnings. [January 2000]
Filed suit against mother Debbie, charging mismanagement of her earnings, failure to pay taxes, and seeking emancipation 
Studied photography at a community college in northern California beginning in the fall 2002.
Half-sister, Madison Mae, born August 1997.
Briefly attended the Professional Children's School in Manhattan.
She lived in Lake Tahoe until age 10
Mom's name is Debbie (born 1962)
At the age of 12, she was the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) until 2001 when 7 year old Dakota Fanning was nominated for I Am Sam (2001).
Turned down auditioning for Air Force One (1997).
Plays the accordion and guitar.
Auditioned for a role in 127 Hours (2010).
I started acting as a child because I loved stories and wanted to be part of them. I thought it would be something I could do for a few years, but it shows no sign of going away.
I get to play a lot of teenage girls with supposed problems. But I don't see them as problems - just part of the process of growing up.
[When told by an interviewer that she has a good head on her shoulders for someone who's grown up in the scary world of Hollywood:] But the scary world is all around us. Whether the walls are Hollywood or the walls are New York or the walls are Afghanistan. It's just a scary world, you have to know what you want from it, what your intentions are, and know that those things continually change.
[In reference to growing up without a father figure but rather with two mothers] I grew up with two moms. They were lovers until I was nine. Then they split up. I was the product of a one-night stand. But I met my father once when I was four. He lives somewhere in Reno. The thing is, I had two loving parents. Love in any shape or form is a beautiful thing. I didn't grow up missing my father.
What's the point of doing anything without music?
I have this camera so I just taped myself doing this little piece of voice-over and I sent [director Sean Penn] a DVD. Four days later, he called me back and said he usually never hires anyone without meeting them, but could I do it? Literally, I would wash the floor for him. I just respect every part of what he's done with his career. (On landing her role in Into the Wild (2007)).
(January 2006) In a Broadway play "Doubt".
(2007) Living in Lake Tahoe, where her favorite outdoor sport is snow sledding.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.