Jena Malone is an American actress who is known for her roles in films, such as 'Bastard Out of Carolina' and 'Sucker Punch'. She is a musician and a photographer as well. Born in Sparks, Nevada, in the US, Malone was inspired to become an actress after watching her mother who worked for community theatre. At the age of twelve, she made her TV film debut with 'Bastard Out of Carolina' where she played the role of a girl who was physically abused and molested. Her role was appreciated and she was nominated for multiple awards. Other roles that brought her fame include her role in the comedy drama film 'Stepmom'. The film was a huge hit and it won Malone two awards. She also played the lead role in 'American Girl', where she portrayed a suicidal teenage girl. Her most recent works include her role in the psychological horror film 'The Neon Demon'. The film was a commercial failure. However Malone won the 'BloodGuts UK Horror Awards' for her outstanding performance. She was also cast in the hit film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' where she portrayed a scientist. Her scenes were excluded from the theatrical release but were included in the home video release.
Childhood & Early Life
Jena Malone was born on 21st November 1984, in Sparks, Nevada, in the US to mother Deborah Malone and father Edward Berge. She had a very unconventional upbringing. Malone was raised by her mother and her girlfriend, and she mostly grew up impoverished. Not only her family relocated frequently, but they were at times, homeless, as well.
After Malone was inspired to pursue a career in acting, she started taking acting classes. Later, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. Initially, she appeared in a Michael Jackson music video and in an episode of the TV show named ‘Chicago Hope’.
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Jena Malone began her acting career with the 1996 TV film 'Bastard Out of Carolina'. Directed by Anjelica Huston, the film received wide appreciation and won an Emmy Award. Malone was nominated for multiple awards for her role of a poor and abused girl.
The following year, she appeared in films such as 'Ellen Foster' and 'Contact'. She also played an important role in the TV movie 'Hope', directed by Goldie Hawn. It won her a nomination for the Golden Globe Award.
In 1998, she appeared in the comedy drama film 'Stepmom'. Directed by Chris Columbus, the movie starred famous Hollywood actress Julia Roberts in the lead role. The film was a huge commercial hit. It received mixed reviews from critics.
She played a main role in the 2001 American sci-fi thriller 'Donnie Darko'. Written and directed by Richard Kelly, the film earned critical acclaim, though it was not very successful commercially. It also won multiple awards. The following year, she co-produced and played the lead role in the film 'American Girl'.
In the next few years, she appeared in the films 'The United States of Leland' (2003), 'Saved!' (2004), 'The Ballad of Jack and Rose' (2005), and 'Lying' (2006). She made her Broadway debut in 2006, appearing in a production of the play 'Doubt' which won the Tony award.
She played a lead role in the 2008 supernatural horror film 'The Ruins'. Directed by Carter Smith, the film was a commercial success. It was met with mixed reviews. The movies she appeared in over the next few years include ‘The Messenger’ (2009), 'Sucker Punch' (2011), 'In Our Nature' (2012), '10 Cent Pistol' (2014) and 'Angelica' (2015).
In 2016, she was cast in a minor role in the hit superhero film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'. Malone's scenes were only included in the home video release. Directed by Zack Synder, the film was a huge success commercially. However it was met with mostly negative reviews.
The same year, she played a supporting role in the psychological horror film 'The Neon Demon'. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the movie was about a beautiful model in Los Angeles whose success kindles jealousy in the others in the industry. The film was a commercial failure and received mixed reviews. She was latest seen in the 2017 drama film 'Bottom of the World' playing the lead role.
‘Stepmom’, one of Malone’s early works, is a 1998 comedy drama film directed by Chris Columbus. The movie starred Hollywood star Julia Roberts in the lead role, along with other actors like Susan Sarandon, Ed Haris, Liam Alken and Jena Malone. The film was a commercial success, and earned more than three times its budget. It received mostly mixed reviews. In 2010, it was adapted into a Hindi film named ‘We Are Family’.
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Malone played the lead role in ‘Donnie Darko’, a 2001 American science fiction film, which was written and directed by Richard Kelly. Other actors in the film included Jake Gyllenhaal, James Duval, Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne. The film didn’t do too well commercially. However, it received critical acclaim and was also appreciated for its soundtrack.
She played an important role in the 2011 American action fantasy film ‘Sucker Punch’. The story revolved around a woman’s escape from a mental asylum. Along with Malone, the film starred Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung. Despite getting negative reviews, it was nominated for two awards.
‘The Neon Demon’ a psychological horror film, is one of Jena Malone’s recent works. The film was directed by Nicholas Winding Refn. It starred several actors like Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee alongside Malone. The story revolved around a young woman who moves to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling. However, things don’t work out right as her beauty and youth create jealousy among others in the industry.
Awards & Achievements
Jena Malone won a ‘Young Artist Award’ in 1997 for her role in ‘Bastard Out of Carolina’.
In 1998, she won the ‘Saturn Award’ for her brilliant performance in the film ‘Contact’. The same year, she won another ‘Young Artist Award’ for her role in ‘Ellen Foster’.
In 1999, she won a ‘Youngstar Award’ and a ‘Young Artist Award’ for her role in ‘Stepmom’.
In 2001, she received the ‘DVD Exclusive Award’ for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film ‘The Book of Stars’.
She won the Imagery Honors at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival in 2004.
In 2016, she won the ‘Teen Choice Award’, as well as the ‘BloodGuts UK Horror Award’ for her roles in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ and ‘The Neon Demon’ respectively.
Jena Malone is engaged to Ethan DeLorenzo, who is a photographer. The couple has a son who was born in May 2016.