What Does 9 Year-Old Actress Jillian Lebling Have in Common With Tom Hanks?

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9 year-old Jillian Lebling loves her job!
Photo by Emily Soto.

I love interviewing young performers in show business. It's so refreshing, you know?!

Jillian Lebling wrapped up a film with Tom Hanks and Amy Ryan called Bridge of Spies. From personal experience, I can tell you that working with Tom Hanks is an absolute joy!

This kid, Jillian, has been working with some A-listers so let's get right to the interview!

How old are you and when is your birthday?

I am 9 years old and my birthday is March 15th.

Tell us about your audition for the film Bridge of Spies which hits theaters October 16.

I auditioned for Bridge of Spies in person in New York City. There were sides [piece of script] that I memorized for the audition. I felt really good about my audition and found out about a week later that I was one of Mr. Spielberg's top choices. It was a few weeks after that, that I was offered the role of Mary Ellen Donovan!

Tell us about your character in Bridge of Spies.

I play Peggy Donovan, the youngest daughter to James Donovan (Tom Hanks) and Mary Donovan (Amy Ryan).

On NBC's The Blacklist, you play a younger version of Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). What was it like working with her? Did you get to work with James Spader?

I had a great time playing Elizabeth Keen's younger version. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to work along side her in a few scenes. She was very kind and we joked around a lot with each other in between takes. I did not get the opportunity to work with James Spader, however I was able to say a quick "hi" to him as we crossed paths.

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Jillian Lebling on set.

Please share two behind the scenes stories: one from The Blacklist and another from the Tony award winning Broadway musical Once.

An exciting behind the scenes moment from The Blacklist was in the "Luther Braxton (No.21): Conclusion" episode, where I was able to perform in the fire scene myself. They had a body double on set to do the scene, but the Director, Michael Watkins, walked me through the scene carefully and showed me exactly what I had to do around the fire. It worked out great and now I like to say, "I do all my own stunts!"

I got to meet some really cool people while performing on Broadway in Once, but meeting the Vice President, Joe Biden had to have been the best visitor to see the show!

You were raised in Delaware. Do you still live there now? How did you get started in the business?

I still live in Delaware. I got started in the business because a friend of my mother's had told her about a workshop that an agent in New York City was putting on called "A Day in the Life." It was a full day of getting an inside look at what it was like to be an actress. I learned scenes and performed them for different casting directors. I was hooked! My mom was contacted by the agency a few days later because they were interested in working with me. I was so excited to start auditioning! Just a few months after that workshop, I booked the role of "Ivanka" in the Broadway musical Once.

What's your favorite thing about acting?

I really enjoy acting because I get the chance to play different characters and get to act with a lot of different emotions.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Aside from acting, I love to go fishing, geocache, play soccer and hang out with my family and friends!