Mickey Sumner is an English actor who has delivered remarkable performances in masterful comedies such as ‘Frances Ha’ and ‘Mistress America.’ Her family name might not give it away, but Mickey is the oldest daughter of rockstar Sting and British actor-turned-director Trudie Styler. Born into a family surrounded by fame, money, and artistic recognition, Mickey was not raised with those things in sight. Her parents always emphasized on the importance of work and personal achievements, and by choosing to find her own place in the world of acting, Sumner followed the values that her parents instilled in her. She was raised in London and schooled alongside royalty. However, she was a reserved person who could not tell her parents about her desire to act until after she completed college. Since then, Sumner has garnered immense critical acclaim through her performances.
Childhood & Early Days
Born Brigitte Michael Sumner, on January 19, 1984, in London, to rockstar Sting (or Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner) and famous British actor Trudie Styler, Sumner was an unlikely celebrity child who, for the longest period of time, could not tell to her parents her desire to be an actor.
Sumner has three younger siblings, Jake, Eliot, and Giacomo. She grew up in London, watching her father from the backstage, realizing at age 6, that she wanted to be in front of an audience. Shortly after this, Sumner thought of becoming an actor for the first time at a production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ She interned as costume designer Colleen Atwood’s assistant.
While studying at the prestigious ‘Marlborough College’ in Wiltshire, Sumner fruitlessly tried to keep her real identity a secret. Though taught to be polite to others, Sumner was unsure of people around her, partly because she thought being Sting’s daughter made her more interesting to people. That changed when she went to Paris to study art.
Upon her return from Paris, Sumner moved to New York and joined the ‘Parsons School of Design’ in 2004. Till then, Sumner had not revealed to her parents that she wished to build a career in acting. However, she had started attending night classes with acting coach Sondra Lee in New York.
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Sumner started her acting career in 2006, while still in college, with a series of shorts and theater performances. After graduating in 2007, Sumner finally gathered the courage to tell her parents about her interest in acting. She ventured into the world of TV with the ‘Showtime’s period-drama series ‘The Borgias.’ She was featured as a guest artist in four of its episodes, in 2011.
In 2012, Sumner appeared in a series of feature films, starting with the romantic comedy ‘Missed Connections.’ One of her most notable roles so far was as ‘Sophie Levee,’ opposite actor Greta Gerwig as her best friend, in Noah Baumbach’s comedy–drama ‘Frances Ha.’ The movie was shot in black and white and filmed among the everyday crowd. The film was unique because the actors were kept in the dark about the script and were given only the daily bits. Sumner’s remarkable performance was noted by many.
She soon earned a recurring role, as ‘Katia,’ in ‘AMC’s short-lived but significant crime–drama series ‘Low Winter Sun,’ in 2013. Though the series was canceled after the first season, after it received mixed reviews from critics, it was seminal to Sumner’s limited TV career so far. The same year, she made a cameo appearance as Patti Smith, a real-life punk-rock icon of the 1970s, in the historical film ‘CBGB.’
In 2014, she appeared in the comedy ‘The Mend,’ directed by John Magary. She had a starring role in it, alongside Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, and Lucy Owen. Her association with Noah Baumbach brought her more projects, such as ‘Mistress America’ (2015), ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ (2017), and ‘Marriage Story’ (2019). ‘Marriage Story’ will have a limited release in November 2019. However, the film has already had its premiere at the ‘Venice Film Festival,’ on August 29, 2019.
Some of Sumner’s other movies are David Foster Wallace’s biopic ‘The End of the Tour’ (2015), the Tim Blake Nelson-directed indie drama ‘Anesthesia’ (2015), the indie comedy ‘This Is Happening’ (2015) by Ryan Jaffe, and the comedy–drama ‘Freak Show’ (2017). ‘Freak Show’ was directed by Sumner’s mother, Trudie Styler.
In March 2013, Sumner made her ‘off–Broadway’ debut in Craig Lucas’s ‘The Lying Lesson,’ opposite Carol Kane, at the ‘Atlantic Theatre.’ She also appeared in ‘The Seagull,’ which was part of the ‘Culture Project’ workshop in New York.
Other than Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story,’ Sumner is currently working on the upcoming drama–thriller series ‘Snowpiercer,’ which is set to be aired in 2020, after being in the production stage for 3 years (due to creative differences). The show is based on the Korean–Czech film of the same name from 2013 and the French graphic novel ‘Le Transperceneige’ from 1982.
Personal & Family Life
Mickey Sumner married California-based tech entrepreneur Chris Kantrowitz in July 2017, in Tuscany, after being engaged to him for a year. Their son, Akira Rogue Kantrowitz, was born 6 months before they officially tied the knot. Their wedding was held at a beach house in California, owned by Sumner’s parents.
Sumner considers her career fulfilling and likes the pace in which it is progressing. Sumner believes “it’s a cliche” to think that “if you haven’t made it by 30, you’re a failure.”
Each scene of ‘Frances Ha’ was retaken 40 to 70 times, leaving Sumner perplexed about her performance in the beginning, only to realize that Noah Baumbach’s style of filmmaking was unique.