Hannah Alligood, right, of Hoover will be on the big screen this summer as young Margo Roth Spiegelman in the movie Paper Towns, based on a novel by John Green, best-selling author of The Fault In Our Stars. Photo courtesy of Clay Alligood.
Hoover residents can expect to see a familiar face when author John Green’s second novel-turned-movie, Paper Towns, hits theaters in June. The city’s own Hannah Alligood will play the lead character, Margo Roth Spiegelman, in her childhood years.
Of her time on set, Alligood said one of her favorite moments was when Paper Towns author Green caught her taking a selfie with Cara Delevingne, the actress who plays Margo in the present day.
“John Green comes up and says, ‘Aw! Look at Margo and Little Margo!’ and Cara said, ‘Shh! John, don’t creep me out!’ in her lovely British accent. Being around a bunch of actors, there’s always something funny and silly happening.”
Long before she was taking selfies with lead actresses, Alligood’s experience was akin to many other children her age. It primarily included music and related arts programs through her church community. By the time she was six, however, Alligood had taken her first deliberate step in drama training through a local course.
“As long as I can remember I always loved performing,” she said. “I would see other kids on TV and then wonder, ‘How do I do that? How do I get there?’”
By age 8, Alligood showed interest in and the aptitude for a summer movie camp through Meg Deusner’s Acting Out Academy. Post-camp, she was hooked. After receiving additional training through the Virginia Samford Theatre STARS Academy, Alligood worked up the courage to begin auditioning.
“Auditioning is definitely the hardest part,” she said. “Once you book the job, it’s really easy because they’ve chosen you and you aren’t competing against the hundreds of other actors who have also auditioned for that same role anymore. But then again, I’m learning that it’s not really a competition. It ultimately comes down to who’s right for the part.”
In her body of professional work, which spans both television and film, Alligood has amassed experience in sci-fi/drama and mystery/romance.
“I enjoy everything about acting so I guess I don’t have a favorite part, genre or style, but I really like comedy and mystery,” said Alligood. “I like comedy because it’s really easy and very comfortable for me, and I like mystery/drama because you really can’t always expect a happily-ever-after ending. Once I’ve been able to work on several more projects, maybe I’ll figure out what I like best. But for now I just want to focus on getting more experience and developing as an actor.”
Alligood is home-schooled, which she said affords her the flexibility to be on set without falling behind in her studies. Still, she said it’s a challenge.
“The honest answer is that I’m still trying to figure it all out,” she said. “Sometimes it’s really hard and I don’t balance all of it. Depending on the project, I’m required to have school for a certain amount of time every day I’m on set. It’s definitely something that I’m still working through to find balance with all of it. But if you want my fictional answer, a winged panda does all my schoolwork for me and flies me everywhere I need to be at any given moment.”
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