The Craft – Getting Witchy With Gideon Adlon

Photography:
Leo Johnson
Styling:
Lucy Warren
Words:
Gemma Lacey

There’s a refreshing curiosity about Gideon Adlon that makes it easy to see why even relatively early in her career she’s tackled a diverse range of roles from a closeted lesbian teen in the SXSW smash Blockers, to a powerful teen witch in Zoe Lister-Jones reprise of The Craft. A varied performer, there’s one thing that ties her roles together though, an unashamed vulnerability and uniquely feminine strength which make for compelling performances.

Part of this she credits with a studious approach to acting, “I really like taking notes but I do it on my own time” but with The Craft, the process was like “we went to school for our characters and had to really learn about witchcraft and dive deep into that” she shares anecdotes about the witches brought to advise on set. “They would open up the set for the day, call upon four corners and welcome the gods and goddesses, then at the end of the day, they’d close the circle because magic doesn’t know you’re acting, even if they wrote the spells for the film and the spells in the film were not real, it’s still technically a spell.”
This version of The Craft has definitely put a new spin on the 90s classic, for a start there’s a distinctly female lens thanks to director Zoe Lister Jones, and this version is also more “woke” than its predecessor tackling periods, masturbation and trans rights. Gideon is definitely someone who’s aware of the power she and her counterparts wield in the public eye, “I think nowadays, if you have a platform and an opportunity to make something that’s going to reach a wide audience, you need to include matter relevant to the time, so what’s going on now are subjects that need to be talked about on, on screen.” The grace of their delivery though she credits to Lister Jones, who she says was masterful at finding “smart and important ways to include them.”
That’s not to say on set was all seriousness, and one of her new found skills discovered during filming was a tarot reading, including giving the director what Zoe described as “a bone chillingly accurate reading,” Gideon discusses this with her signature modesty ”Honestly, I don’t even remember what the reading was, but I remember her face being like, ‘Holy crap, this is crazy. How do you know these things? But that’s why Tarot was so cool, because it kind of shows you, your present, and what’s happened in your past and how you can change your future. It’s like spiritual guidance cards, you know?”
However this sense of intuition isn’t specific to her work in The Craft but rather part of her personality and the way she approaches her work. In this movie, her character Frankie, was strong and sassy and the way she developed was very organic. Gideon channeled her, as she puts it” I didn’t go into and be like, okay, I’m going to say this here.It kind of comes out like word vomit and I think that’s when it’s the best, because that really shows you’re in it with the character, like you’re really that person in the moment.” It’s this approach and her ability to immerse herself that lends all her performances an authenticity which captures the audience.
Her vulnerability is a huge part of this and we discuss her background including being bullied in high school, a parallel shared by her character Frankie. “I’ve always been very nice to everybody, and there were still these girls that were not nice to me and would try and start things with me and would try to start drama with me over a boy that I liked or saying like, I’m not allowed to like them, or, you know, just really stupid.” She recounts being pushed up against lockers and says, “It’s heartbreaking to look back on it, but being bullied like that really shaped me and, you know, I never bullied anybody because of it. And I’m glad, but seeing these girls take their revenge back and not try and be something else and not scurry away and cry that’s inspiring” I ask her why this is so valuable to her and she says, “I just want young girls, young boys, older women, older men, people in their mid twenties, people in their late teens to watch this movie and be like, you know what? I know who I am, and I’m going to show up and I’m going to stick to my guns because who you are is the best thing, because it’s unique.” 
Uniqueness has been something of a trademark in Adlon’s life, growing up with a famous parent- her mom voices Bobby Hill in King of The Hill and raised her and her sisters to be strong and politically active, something which informs how Adlon functions to this day. “Every time I had a birthday party, I would never get presents or anything I would ask for donations and I’d send them to different charities. And I remember I would go to foster home if I did get presents and I would bring my presents to those kids and hang out with them.” Currently she’s passionate about stopping child marriage and is involved in work with UNICEF but closer to home in Los Angeles she’s been exploring the legislature around the homeless crisis and figuring out ways to help.
Another passion of Gideons’ is vintage clothing and her voice audibly lights up when we begin to talk about it. “I started collecting back in middle school and I don’t fit into anything I got back then, but that’s when I became obsessed with it. My mom took me to Jet Rag and that was the first vintage store I ever went to and my obsession just ran deep from then on. In the last year and a half, I was like, Oh my God, I’ve accumulated so many clothes.” What followed was a couple of creative collaborations including a shoot with her friend Juliette Wolf and then some pop-up shows. “ I’ve done two pop-up shows and both gone really well. It’s been so fun cause the vintage community is so awesome as well.” I ask what she loves about it and she says “ It’s just such a fun thing to do on the side because finding these beautiful pieces is the most satisfying thing on the planet. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of them, but then you see someone try it on and then I think – Oh my god! That belongs to you! “ 
With the pandemic putting plans for more shows on hold and a pause on filming, she plans to set up a Depop but meanwhile, she’s been focused on her other creative hobbies like photography and music. “My photography it’s definitely something that I  haven’t really paid attention to in a while, but it makes me so happy. Taking photographs when I travel and little video clips of things I find. Ordinary moments like dirty cityscapes can be so beautiful. I see beauty in so many little things and I’m passionate about catching little snippets of everyday life intentionally.” Her singing is something she hasn’t spoken much about. “ I stopped performing a while ago, but I’m getting back into it and that’s something I really, really, really love.” Her influences are wide-reaching and she cites everyone from  Simon and Garfunkel, through Otis Redding and Mac DeMarco.  “ I always found it boring when people would shove themselves off to one genre because it’s not cool to like pop or it’s not cool to like this and that, that’s boring! It’s always so much better to just dive deep and, you know, absorb everything you can, and that’s the beauty of music.”
Her laser focus in this way defines her strength as an artist and performer and she has her sights set on ever expanding horizons in the future.  “ I would love to do a period piece. I want to do a real scary horror movie.  A silent movie, because it would be so important to be expressive.” With expressions such a focus of our conversation I ask her what advice she’d give others in this respect and her response is matter of fact  “Don’t compare yourself to other people! That’s something I wish I never did because I look back on photos and I’m like, “Oh my God, look at you!” Why were you freaking out? “
And her antidote to this? It’s back to celebrating your difference “Don’t shy away from who you are, you’re unique, this is what makes you, you. I think being different is exactly what you should be and  think being just like everyone else is boring.” One thing’s for sure with her myriad of talents Adlon is unlikely to be bored anytime soon.
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Photographer: Leo Johnson
Styling: Lucy Warren
Makeup: Carol Choi