Lou Taylor Pucci

Lou Taylor Pucci

Born in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Lou Taylor Pucci is the son of former model Linda Farver and her husband, musician Louis Pucci. Though initially uninterested in acting, he was convinced by an aunt to appear in a community-theater production of "Oliver!" The experience convinced him to pursue performing as a career, and within two years, Pucci was appearing on Broadway in "The Sound of Music." He made his feature debut as a wayward teenager in the 2002 independent drama "Personal Velocity: Three Portraits," which won both the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film and the Cinematography Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. The project earned Pucci a manager and agent, who guided him through a fruitless two-year period of auditions for films, television, educational projects and commercials. Finally, he landed his breakout role in Mike Mills' comedy-drama "Thumbsucker" (2005) as a shy teenager who discovered newfound confidence - as well as conflict - while attempting to break the habit. Pucci won rave reviews for his performance, which claimed both the Special Jury Prize for Acting at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and the Silver Bear Award for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival that same year. The acclaim afforded to Pucci by "Thumbsucker" led to several high-profile projects, including the award-winning HBO miniseries "Empire Falls" (2005) with Ed Harris and Paul Newman, and a pair of music videos for Green Day's 2005 single "Jesus of Suburbia," which was released as both a 12-minute short film co-starring Pucci's "Thumbsucker" castmate, Kelli Garner, and as a six-minute video consisting solely of the song. Pucci worked steadily in independent features over the next half-decade, playing earnest if frequently misguided young men in "Fifty Pills" (2006), Richard Linklater's "Fast Food Nation" (2006), Richard Kelly's pilloried "Southland Tales" (2006), and John Krasinski's directorial debut "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" (2009). Few, if any of these efforts generated the same degree of interest as "Thumbsucker," which reduced Pucci's profile on the independent feature scene for a brief period. In 2010, he was the victim of an apparently unmotivated assault in New Jersey that required reconstructive surgery and insertion of a titanium plate in his face. Pucci rebounded with a minor turn as a magician - an avocation he also pursued in real life - in the well-regarded "Beginners" (2010), and a critically praised leading role as a young man with a brain tumor in "The Music Never Stopped" (2011). He also received the lion's share of praise for his turn as a young man with autism who sought to lead a normal life in "The Story of Luke" (2012), which reaped numerous awards at various independent film festivals. His most high-profile picture was "Evil Dead" (2013), director Fede Alvarez's re-imagining of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult horror film. The movie, which cast Pucci as a young schoolteacher who unwittingly released malevolent spirits by reading a book of black magic, topped the box-office charts in its opening weekend of release and received mostly positive reviews.