Playing a vampire can be challenging, but NOS4A2‘s Mattea Conforti is having a blast. Mattea portrays Millie Manx, the daughter of Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) on AMC’s NOS4A2. She is a vampire and leader of the children of Christmasland. She appeared in a guest role during season one and became a series regular in season two.
14 year old Mattea started her acting career as the lead on the Broadway musical Matilda. She appeared in three Broadway plays including Frozen. That role led to a voice role for Disney’s Frozen 2 as young Elsa. Mattea’s television credits include The Ollie and Moon Show, STARZ’s Power, NOS4A2 and more. I chatted with Mattea about the new season of NOS4A2 and her experiences as an actor.
Noetta Harjo: First of all, I think you’re amazing in NOS4A2. Congratulations on the role and getting bumped up to series regular.
Mattea Conforti: Thank you, ma’am.
NH: I’m very interested to hear what’s in store for Millie Manx, but first, tell me how you got into show business.
MC: I didn’t have any experience with acting or singing before I got started. I was mainly a competition dancer to start. I was more focused on dance roles when I was going on auditions first. So, when we heard about this open call for Matilda the Musical, I went in mainly focused on dance roles, not really focused on my singing or acting career. Six months later, they actually called me back for the lead role in Matilda. Which was crazy because the most singing I’ve ever done in my life was in the shower.
NH: What inspired you to go to television?
MC: Nothing really inspired me to go into television. I just love being around the acting field, and I love performing for other people. My first audition for a TV role was a huge deal for me just because I’d never done anything like that. I love being in that environment, so I’ll do whatever comes up for me
NH: How different is it from stage?
MC: Television and stage are very different because when you’re on the stage, you have to do everything live and you only get one chance to really fix any suggestions or maybe mistakes that you made last time. You get another day to do it. And when you’re filming, you have multiple chances, and you can get in and out of character easily when you’re on set.
NH: Do you have a preference?
MC: I don’t really have a preference just because they’re both so different. I love being on stage and in front of the camera. And I would gladly work on either again.
NH: Were you still working in stage productions before the shutdown?
MC: The last thing I did on stage was last summer at The Muny. I haven’t done anything on stage since then, but I would love to do more stuff on stage. Other than Matilda, I did two other shows on Broadway.
NH: Let’s talk about NOS4A2. How did you get the role?
MC: Well, I actually auditioned with a self-tape, which is very different and very challenging to land a role. With a self-tape, you’re not sure if the casting agents are going to watch it, and you’re not really sure about their feedback just because you’re not in the room with them. I was in New York at the time, so I sent it into the casting agency in Los Angeles. And they called me back from there.
NH: Did you know anything about NOS4A2 by Joe Hill before you got the role?
MC: I haven’t read the book, but I researched a bit about it just so that I could get a feel for the character, so that I would know what Millie Manx was like.
NH: Describe in your own words, who is Millie Manx?
MC: Millie Manx is the daughter of Charlie Manx. The viewers may see her as hardcore, and scary, and dangerous. But really when you’re playing Millie Manx, she’s very emotional, and she really has emotions like a real human. She can be happy and sad. She’s loving, and caring, and she wants to please everybody around her.
NH: I did notice that, actually, because in season one I see Millie taunting Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) a little bit, trying to antagonize her to get to Christmasland. Then in the season two premiere, there was a bit of a change. There’s worry in her eyes. Going into season two, are we going to get to the different sides of Millie?
MC: We’re definitely going to see different sides of Millie. She’s going to explore a lot more about her father and a lot more about herself. She’s going to learn a lot more about the things she didn’t know last season.
NH: Millie is such an interesting character. I saw a sneak peek of the season and it looks like we will see some of Charlie and Millie’s backstory. What can you tell me about that?
MC: Yes. I’m so excited for that. Millie’s backstory is definitely not something that you would expect. It’s definitely going to throw some curves into Millie’s adventures and her feelings for her father and Christmasland.
NH: Oh yay! I’m excited to see that. After the season premiere, I kind of get the feeling that Millie is struggling with how she feels about her father.
MC: Right. She’s torn. She doesn’t know what to do yet in Christmasland. She kind of assumed the role of being a leader while he’s gone.
NH: In the NOS4A2 season premiere, we started off in Christmasland, and the kids are playing. And they see this barrier to the other world. I kind of got the feeling that Millie may use that barrier to have her own adventures. At least, I hope she does.
MC: Well. Maybe she will. Maybe she won’t.
NH: Fair enough. Let’s go back to last night’s episode. Have the kids been just playing games the past eight years?
MC: Well, you can kind of assume that. Nothing really has changed from last season just because her father hasn’t been home. The kids are trying to make the best of what they have. You can assume that they have been making up more games, and maybe making up new games, and playing with each other just to make Christmasland seem more enjoyable for them.
NH: When the power goes off, Millie assumes Vic has something to do with it. Why?
MC: She’s probably judging from what happened last season between Vic and Charlie just because their relationship is so intense. They don’t have the best feelings for each other. So, when she sees the lights go out, she feels threatened by Vic. Millie knows that she could have done something wrong, but that’s really what she just assumes. It’s a feeling in her gut.
NH: How do you like working with Zachary Quinto?
MC: He’s been a very fun actor to work with. He’s definitely professional, and he can definitely be serious when he needs to be. But he also knows how to be in a good mood. He knows how to get everyone else into character around him.
NH: That’s awesome. He seems like a great guy. I’m going to switch gears a little bit here. Tell me about your character on the show Power.
MC: I love filming that show. Elisa Marie is the daughter of Joe Proctor (Jerry Ferrara) on that show. She’s definitely one of the more serious, mature characters that I’ve had to play. She’s learning more about her father’s past on the show. How she deals and copes with it is very advanced for her just because she’s so young in that show. Elisa has to deal with a lot of serious adult material which isn’t something that’s normal for 10 or 11-year-olds. They normally wouldn’t have to deal with such things.
NH: How do you deal with some of the heavy material of a drama series?
MC: Well, it’s not a big challenge for me just because I know how to transition from the acting world to my real-life world. If I had any questions, I would ask my parents about it. They would tell me about it, and they would try to help me figure out the best way for me to get into character with that.
NH: Let’s switch gears again. Tell me about doing voice work for on Frozen 2.
MC: Frozen 2 is very different from anything I’ve ever done just because it was voice acting. So the audience doesn’t really see my face. It’s crazy to be a part of such a big Disney movie, and to play such a huge role in that. It was such an amazing opportunity for me.
NH: How did that come about? Did they find you maybe from your Broadway, or did you go audition?
MC: Well, the creators and the producers knew me from when I performed in FROZEN, the musical on Broadway. I still had to audition like everybody else, but they knew me. They knew my personality, and they knew how to work with me, which definitely helped during the process of making it.
NH: How much different is it being a voice actor, working behind the scenes in the studio instead of in front of a camera?
MC: It’s definitely different from being on screen. When you’re on screen, you get to portray your messages with your face. You can use facial expressions rather than just using your voice and your voice indicators when you’re asking a question or when you’re being excited. It’s definitely a change for me, but it’s definitely not something that I cannot do.
NH: Just some final questions. What is a genre you would like to work in that you haven’t had a chance to yet.?
MC: Well, I’m happy with doing any genre right now, given with our current circumstances. I’m just hoping that everything can open up safely, and that everybody can still do what they need to do to get on with life. But whatever I’m given is a great opportunity for me, and I would love to do anything.
NH: Is there a particular actor or director you’d like to work with?
MC: One actress that really inspires me is Elle Fanning, just because of her work ethic and how hard she works. But at this moment, I’d be grateful to work with anybody.
NH: Are there any projects you have in the works for once everything gets back to normal?
MC: There is actually a project that I have in the works. It’s a very cool project, something I’ve never done before. We were actually in the middle of doing reshoots right before everything shut down. So, just stay tuned for that.I hope it comes out soon.
NH: I will definitely be looking out for you. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate all of your time. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
MC: Thank you!
NOS4A2 season two is currently airing on AMC on Sunday nights at 10 PM Eastern/8 PM Pacific
This article was originally posted 6/25/20