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She’s Starring Opposite Tom Hanks. She’d Never Heard of Him.

She’s Starring Reverse Tom Hanks. She’d By no means Heard of Him.

Talking by way of Zoom not too long ago, Ms. Zengel was far gigglier and chattier — which is to say, much more like an everyday 12-year-old — than her latest roles would possibly counsel. She stated that, like most kids in Germany, she had spent most of this 12 months at dwelling, and that she was presently quarantined as a result of classmates had examined constructive for the coronavirus.

Earlier than being solid within the movie, she stated, she had by no means heard of Hanks. “I believe I’d seen ‘The Da Vinci Code’ earlier than, however I didn’t know who he was,” she stated. “I assumed it was just a few actor.”

In an e mail, Hanks praised Zengel’s talent of performing “with no buildup, no apprehension and no self-consciousness,” and stated he wished he had “her identical ease, her simplicity.”

Zengel stated she had by no means taken an performing class, “as a result of I’m undecided if there was a lot for me to study.”

“I stand in entrance of the digital camera, I do know what I need, and I do it,” she stated, matter-of-factly.

This focus and willpower, her mom, Anne Zengel, defined, has been her daughter’s hallmark ever since she was a toddler. Her earliest forays into performing, at age 4, had emerged largely out of parental frustration, she stated, as a result of her daughter had “thrice as a lot depth” as different kids and would act out if she was denied one thing she wished.

“She needed to operate in society, so we had to determine find out how to redirect her vitality,” she stated.

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