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Mattea Conforti Talks NOS4A2 Season 2, Broadway, And Frozen - Exclusive Interview

14-year-old NOS4A2 actor Mattea Conforti is no stranger to the spotlight. She snagged her first role at age nine, playing Mia in Elle Fanning's 3 Generations — developing an admiration for the actor who would go on to become an inspiration for young Conforti. That same year, Conforti made her Broadway debut in Matilda, launching a vibrant theater and film/TV career. 

In her budding catalog of roles, Conforti has already taken on voice acting, Broadway, TV, and film. She made such a splash in her role as young Anna in Disney's Broadway production of Frozen that she clinched the role of young Elsa in the film's blockbuster sequel, Frozen 2

While Conforti already has a significant amount of acting credits, her most recognizable role is the villainous Millicent "Millie" Manx on AMC's NOS4A2, where she plays the immortal daughter of Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto). For anyone who can't decide whether Christmas or Halloween is their favorite holiday, NOS4A2 is the show to binge. As her bloodthirsty father travels around the country searching for children's souls to consume, Millie holds down the fort in Christmasland — Charlie's warped Christmas village where his kidnapped kids eat humans instead of gingerbread. 

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Mattea Conforti dishes on what it was like to work with big names like Zachary Quinto and Jake Gyllenhaal, growing up in the spotlight, and what's next for Millie Manx in NOS4A2

The two sides of Millie Manx

What was it like working alongside Zachary Quinto? Do you have any favorite moments with him on set?

Well, I mean, he's definitely a very professional actor. He can be serious when he needs to be, but he also knows how to [put] everyone in a good mood, and he knows how to include cast and crew, which is very important in the industry.

I remember on set, we would always talk about my school work because I would never want to go to tutoring after I was filming scenes. So he would kind of like encourage me to go do that stuff.

Did he give you any good tips?

I mean, he didn't necessarily say this stuff, but I could tell from his work ethic that it's always good to work hard no matter what and to always show everyone that you are professional and you're here to do what you need to do. And it's also okay to include everybody in what you're doing.

In season 2 of NOS4A2, we're getting some backstory on Charlie and Millie. It's almost kind of like playing two different characters. How did you navigate that switch?

Do you mean like the relationship, like how it was changed between season one and season two?

We can talk about that, but this is specifically about the flashback scene, where you're basically playing a human version of Millie.

Oh, right, right, right. So, I mean, the emotions are still there for flashback Millie Manx and for Christmasland Millie Manx, just because Millie... she's still as loving and loyal to her father as she was before she turns into a demon. But she's definitely a lot more innocent, not as mature as she is in Christmasland.

Did you approach acting those sort of separate characters differently?

Yeah! I mean, sort of. It's not really a huge change, just because the emotions are all still there, but Millie Manx is definitely more dangerous and scarier.

The immortal Millie rebels

It seems like Millie is starting to question some of the blind loyalty she has towards Charlie in his absence. How would you say their dynamic has changed from the first season, and how does Millie view her father's actions?

So even from the first season, their relationship really isn't all that different in the first episode of season two — but she's still always going to be loyal to him. She's still gonna love him no matter what. But the viewer can see that she's not sure if Christmasland is going to be stable without him anymore, just because he's been gone for so long. And even though she's starting to have a little bit of doubt, she still loves her father a lot.

What do you think fans will like most about season two?

I think that they'll like seeing Millie go on a lot more adventures, and they'll like seeing Millie find out more about her past.

Are you going to have a larger role in the second half of the season?

Yes, I am! I'm very excited to see those episodes, actually. I remember filming them, and it was something I'd never really done before, and I can't wait to see them on TV.

What do you want to see from Millie in the future? Do you hope she turns things around and joins the good guys, or do you prefer playing the villain?

I mean, I always liked playing the villain better than being a good guy, just because there's so much more intense moments for me. And it really helps me get something different than what I've done before because Disney is more of like good people. And I think it would be fun to be a villain, but I'm not really sure what's in store for Millie Manx, because... well, you'll see at the end of the season. (Laughs)

Elle Fanning, hit up AMC

Are there any other actors you'd like to see added to the show?

I'm not sure right now. I mean, right now, I'm focused on everybody returning, hopefully, back to the show, healthy and safe. I'm sure the show would be happy to have anyone. I'm sure that anyone on the show would be happy to have any other actors on the show, too. I mean, the more experienced and the more actors on the show, the better, I guess.

Do you have a favorite actor?

I mean, I've always really aspired to her work ethic and stuff like that: Elle Fanning. She's always kind of been a hard worker, and she's always inspired me to work hard and be in a good mood on set.

If she were added to the show, what kind of role do you think she would have? How could she fit into the NOS4A2 universe?

I think she might be... maybe she'd be someone from the past. I think she definitely would be someone from either Millie's past or Manx's past, just because I just don't see her being a demon just because she's so pretty. I would never see her get like gory and stuff.

What are teeth and makeup applications like for Millie's vampiric look?

So the veins are actually airbrushed onto me. They look so real. They're airbrushed with blue and red. And the teeth are kind of like retainers, so they pop in, and then they're just hanging down from there.

How long does that process take usually? 

It takes about 30, 45 minutes.

Is it rough sitting in the chair for that long, getting your face touched?

A little bit (laughs) because you're going from doing makeup into your wig, and it's just a lot of sitting. But I've got a lot of time to review my lines. I like talking to the makeup and hair people.

Is it annoying to talk with the teeth?

A little bit. I mean, you can sometimes see in the season, I have trouble speaking, but I think it's a really cool experience to talk with them or have them in.

How do you prepare yourself to get into the villainous persona of Millie?

You kind of have to be in an environment that's dark, and you're really thinking about yourself and your actions. But also, her emotions are like the same as mine. Like she can feel love for other people, and she can be loyal to others. So there's not much of a transformation that needs to be done. It's just the dangerous and gory parts.

NOS4A2 is TV-14 and up, so what do you think other teenagers your age can take away from the show?

Probably to always follow your dreams in a way, just because... not that their dreams were bad in the show, but I think you'll see what I'm saying later in the season. But probably to always work hard. And if someone is telling you something that you may not like to hear, you always need to just do whatever you need to do to either get a message across or to do the right thing.

Growing up in the spotlight

What has it been like growing up in the spotlight? Is there anything that you see other teenagers your age getting to do that you don't?

I mean, I've never really focused on that, just because I love working in this industry so much. And being on stage and performing for other people, it's what I love to do, and it's always what I'd love to do. And I just live by "do whatever you love and don't let anyone ever change that."

That's a fantastic motto to go by. So how does the whole school/homework situation work? Do you go to school sometimes and then get homeschooled other times?

So throughout this whole journey of mine, I've always gone to public school. So I would always go into school and then maybe do filming during the day or a show at night. But if I couldn't make it to school and the schedule was during the whole day or the morning, I would do tutoring on set and then go back to school whenever I [could].

Is it hard going back to school when you've missed stuff, or is it just sort of like seeing your friends again, and it's awesome?

Sometimes it can be [hard], it depends on if it's going to be a crazy week, or if I'm ahead in tutoring than all the other kids in my school. But overall, my friends are really supportive of me, and they always support me whenever I come back.

A young Disney star

You've done a lot of Broadway roles like Anna in Frozen, and now you're really delving into the Hollywood scene with the voice acting work you did as young Elsa in Frozen 2, and your series regular role as Millie in NOS4A2. What are some of the biggest differences and challenges you face in each medium?

Well, theater, you have to perform every night, and you have to make sure that your voice is vocally ready and not vocally tired, which can be a little hard because you have to warm it up every day. You can't be strained. You have to go on vocal rests right after your show. But it's a fun experience because you get to see how different each audience is every night.

When you're filming, it's a little hard to convey a message to an audience, just because the only person that you're talking to is the camera, and you have to kind of assume that audience's reaction when you're filming.

And when you're doing voice acting, it's harder to get a message across, because you can't use facial expressions or body language that you can use in-person with other people.

You have a big relationship with Disney, having acted in Frozen 2 and Frozen on Broadway. Did you have a favorite Disney character or Disney role model growing up?

I mean, I used to grow up and watch the Frozen movie all the time, and I actually have a sister too, so people would compare us to Anna and Elsa. So I guess that I would really like to look up to Anna and Elsa's relationship with each other and also with my sister. And then I never thought that one day I could potentially be a Disney princess, you know?

Do you have a specific that you gear towards more or that your sister gears towards more?

Yeah, I mean, I'm definitely more of an Anna I would say, just because I'm more free-spirited, and I'll do more daring stuff — but she's definitely a little [quieter] than I am, but she's also really loving and caring.

Let the nerd flag fly

You did a Broadway show [Sunday in the Park with George] with Jake Gyllenhaal. What was that experience like?

He's a very fun actor to work with. He knows how to like... also get everyone in good moods [on] the stage, because we're all there all the time with each other — so we're around each other so much. And he knows to be professional when we're working, but he knows how to [put] everyone else in a good mood behind the scenes.

Is there anyone in the Broadway or movie industry you're eager to work with? Is there a franchise or genre you'd like to break into?

Well, I mean, I'm eager to really work on anything at this point, just because we've been shut down for a while. And whatever really comes my way, I will do, because I love working in this industry, and I love being on the stage. And as long as I'm able to perform, then I'll be happy.

Do you have a favorite franchise that's out, like The Avengers, Star Wars, or Harry Potter? Anything like that that you'd like to dip into?

(Laughs) I'm a nerd. I really liked Star Wars. I'm really into that series. I was re-watching all the movies again the other night, and it's crazy how much they've evolved into today. You know?

If you could be in an upcoming project, what would that be for Star Wars? What would you like to dip into within the series?

I don't know. As long as I get to hold a lightsaber, I guess.

(Laughs) So you want to be a Jedi. That's good. Do you have a favorite character from the series?

Probably Han Solo. Or Chewie.

If you could play any other character in NOS4A2, who would it be?

Oh, I have to think. I think I would probably play Lou Carmody just because he's so unproblematic, and he's always so happy all the time, and he's always supporting everybody, and he's always going to be there no matter what. And he's just a person that you can depend on.

And he's a nerd, so that's good too.

(Laughs) Yes.

Preparing for a bright future

Do you have anything you want to bring up, any projects you'd like to talk about?

I mean, I would love to talk about this new project that I have coming out, but I can't yet. Hopefully, it will come out soon. But yeah. Also, stay tuned for the rest of season 2, because it's going to get really good really soon.

How are you holding up in quarantine?

I mean, I'm thankful for all that I have right now, just because I'm in a great situation for being stuck here with my family. But it would be nice to get out and start working again. So hopefully, everyone can get back to their jobs safely, and everyone can stay healthy.

NOS4A2 airs new episodes of season 2 on Sundays at 10/9c on AMC. Episode 4, "The Lake House," will premiere on Sunday, July 12. All 10 episodes of season 1 and the first three episodes of season 2 are available for streaming now.