Simmonds at Cannes in 2017
|Born||March 6, 2003|
Utah, United States
Millicent "Millie" Simmonds (born teen actress who starred in the 2017 drama film Wonderstruck and the 2018 horror film A Quiet Place. For both films, she was nominated for several awards for best youth performance. In television, she appeared in Andi Mack in 2018 and in This Close in 2019. She will appear in A Quiet Place Part II in 2020.March 6, 2003) is a deaf American
Simmonds is a native of the US state of Utah. She lives in Bountiful, Utah. She has four siblings; two older and two younger than her. Prior to turning 12 months old, Simmonds lost her hearing due to a medication overdose. Her mother learned American Sign Language and taught the family so they could communicate with her. Simmonds's mother also encouraged her to read books extensively. When Simmonds was three years old, she started attending the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf, where she participated in its drama club. Her first play was in A Midsummer Night's Dream as Puck. After completing sixth grade, she mainstreamed at the Mueller Park Junior High School in the fall of 2015. She has performed at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah, and her primary film experience before Wonderstruck was a deaf student's short, "Color the World". Simmonds has a cochlear implant. With it, she listens to Father John Misty and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Her favorite film to date is The Truman Show (1998).
Simmonds was 12 years old when she first acted in Wonderstruck (2017). She had read the deaf-themed juvenile novel Wonderstruck when it was published in 2011. When open casting for the film began, her former drama teacher shared the news with her, and she auditioned for a role in the film. She competed with over 250 others. When she won the role, she moved to New York City with her mother and her younger siblings to film Wonderstruck. She used American Sign Language interpreters to communicate on set and also received a tutor to continue schoolwork while filming. Vanity Fair's Charles Bramesco said of her casting, "A Utah native without any major film credits to her name, young Simmonds is expected to make quite a splash both as a new face in the industry as well as an icon for deaf and otherwise sensory-disabled actors." When Wonderstruck premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, the Associated Press's Jake Coyle said Simmonds's screen debut was "hailed as a breakthrough". Simmonds was subsequently nominated for several awards for best youth performance (see accolades). The Associated Press also recognized Simmonds as one of eight actors who were Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017.
KSL.com's Liesl Nielsen reported in May 2017, "Millie plans to continue both acting and advocating for the deaf community." In 2018, she starred in the horror film A Quiet Place as the deaf daughter of a hearing couple, played by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. While the producers did not specifically plan to cast a deaf actress to play the deaf daughter, Krasinski, who was also the director, pushed to have a deaf actress. Simmonds and her family answered Krasinski's questions for writing a screenplay about a family with a deaf child. The filmmakers hired an ASL interpreter for Simmonds, so that spoken and signed language could be interpreted back and forth on set. Simmonds helped teach her fellow actors to sign.
In 2018, Simmonds appeared in a two-episode arc in the third season of the Disney Channel television series Andi Mack. She first appeared as an extra in the first season, and the series creators invited her back for a recurring role. For her arc, Simmonds taught the other actors how to use ASL, and the showrunners decided to show her scenes involving ASL without providing subtitles so viewers could focus on figuring out the sign language. In one of the episodes, Simmonds also spoke for the first time ever on-camera, responding audibly "I like you" in response to Asher Angel's character Jonah signing "I like you" to her character. Simmonds said of the spoken dialogue, "I can't even remember how it was brought up or who had the idea, but I remember my mom asking me how I felt about it, and I told her I thought I could try. I was actually pretty nervous about it. I don't use my voice a lot in public."
In February 2019, following the box-office success of A Quiet Place, Simmonds entered talks to reprise her role for the sequel in development. In the following June, Simmonds received the Greenwich International Film Festival's Make An Impact Award and participated on the festival's panel to discuss cinematic representation of people with disabilities. In October, Simmonds was cast in a lead role in the pilot for the TV series Close Up on Freeform.
|2018||A Quiet Place||Film||Regan Abbott|||
|2018–2019||Andi Mack||Television||Libby||Two-episode arc in season 3|||
|2019||"Wanted a Name"||Music video||Self||Music video by Frenship|||
|2019||This Close||Television||Emmaline||Episode: "No Place Like Home"|||
|2020||A Quiet Place Part II||Film||Regan Abbott|||
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