'The Leftovers'' Nora Durst (AKA Your New Favorite Character) Is Played By The Talented Carrie Coon
Almost every character on HBO's The Leftovers seems to have gone at least a little bit insane (if not a lot insane). There's obviously Chief Kevin Garvey and his magical disappearing bagels and vanishing dry cleaning; but there's also his depressed daughter Jill, his brainwashed son Tom, that maniacal dog-killer Dean, and every single last member of the Guilty Remnant. The Garveys' grief is especially confounding, since they didn't actually lose anybody in The Sudden Departure. Why, then, does it seem like the sanest person in the entire town of Mapleton is Nora Durst?
If you remember, Nora is (in)famous in Mapleton for being the woman who lost the most in The Departure: Her entire family — husband, son, and daughter — all disappeared in front of her eyes. And yet, other than carrying a pistol around in her purse and knocking coffee mugs off of tables, she seems to have her life remarkably together three years later. Is this because she's just made of stronger stuff than literally everyone else in Mapleton? Or is it because actress Carrie Coon is just so damn good that we can't help but relate to her onscreen alter ego? (Some combination of both, most likely.)
33-year-old Coon is an Ohio native mostly known for her work onstage in Chicago. She received her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006 and then spent three seasons as a resident at the American Players Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin before moving to the Windy City. She immediately found success in the larger city, appearing in productions at the likes of the Goodman and Remy Bumppo Theatres.
Coon's biggest break came when she was cast as Honey in the 2010 production of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. That production, directed by Pam MacKinnon and starring Steppenwolf ensemble members Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as the dysfunctional George and Martha, garnered great acclaim and ended up transferring to the Big Apple for a five-month run on Broadway from October 2012 through March 2013. At the 67th Annual Tony Awards, the show took home trophies for Best Revival of a Play, Best Direction of a Play, and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, and also earned nominations for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Coon herself. (Coincidentally, another compelling TV actress was nominated for the same role in a different revival eight years earlier: Mireille Enos of Netflix's The Killing.)
2013 continued to be a great year for Coon when she married Woolf co-star Tracy Letts. The couple actually got hitched in a hospital room when Letts had to have emergency gallbladder surgery on the night before they were supposed to head to the courthouse. When he's not acting, Letts is also a playwright: he's most famous for the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County, which also premiered at Steppenwolf (starring Woolf's Amy Morton) before transferring to Broadway... and then, of course being adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
The Leftovers is Coon's first major television role — prior to this, her only small screen credits were guest starring parts on The Playboy Club, Law & Order: SVU, Ironside, and Intelligence. She will make her feature film debut later this year in David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel, Gone Girl, in which she gets to play Batman's sister (or, rather, Margo — the twin of Ben Affleck's accused murderer Nick Dunne).
But before she can appear in that popular mystery, she has to wrap up Season 1 of HBO's even more infuriating head-scratcher. Thanks to the promo for this Sunday's episode of The Leftovers, we know that "Guest" is all about Nora Durst, just as "Two Boats And A Helicopter" was all about her brother Reverend Matt Jamison. The episode revolves around Nora's trip to the big city for a work conference (she's employed with the Department of the Sudden Departure), and the hour looks like quite a doozy: in the thirty-second promo alone there's paranoia, grenades, guns, and quite a lot of shouting. Is Nora finally going to break and join the rest of Mapleton in Crazyland? Or is there actually someone after her? Will anyone get stoned to death this week? (God, we hope not.) Check out the action-packed promo here:
Images: HBO (2)