Jena Malone (/ˈdʒiːnə məˈloʊn/; born November 21, 1984) is an American actress and musician. She made her film debut in Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) and has appeared in films including Ellen Foster (1997), Contact (1997), Stepmom (1998), Donnie Darko (2001), Saved! (2004), Pride & Prejudice (2005), Into the Wild (2007), The Ruins (2008), Sucker Punch (2011), and The Hunger Games film series (2013–15). Malone is also an experimental musician who has released music both under her own name and as The Shoe.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Filmography
- 4.1 Film
- 4.2 Television
- 5 Stage
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early life and education
Malone was born in Sparks, Nevada the daughter of Deborah “Debbie” Malone and Edward Berge. She was raised by her mother and her mother’s girlfriend at the time, whom she has called “Godmom”. Her paternal grandfather was Karl Berge, former owner of the Bourbon Square Casino casino. Her father is of part Norwegian descent; she also has Irish ancestry. By the time she was 9 years old, she had already lived in 27 different locations. Malone began taking an interest in acting after watching her mother, who was involved in community theatre. In 1995, she moved to Las Vegas, and later persuaded her mother to move to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career in acting.
Malone has stated that she and her mother struggled with money while living in Los Angeles. She was homeschooled from sixth to eighth grade, and attended the Professional Children’s School in New York City for ninth grade. Malone quit school a year later, when she became legally emancipated in January 2000. At some later point, she obtained her General Educational Development (GED). She has one younger maternal half-sister, Madison Mae Malone (born 1997).
Malone progressed to professional acting with the 1996 film Bastard Out of Carolina. She was nominated at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards for Best Debut Performance and at the 3rd Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her role in the film. From there, her roles have grown to include several Hollywood features. In 1997, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film, for her role in Hope.
After working on various TV projects, and as a supporting actress in films such as Contact and Stepmom, Malone had her first cinematic leading role in the 2001 cult hit Donnie Darko as Gretchen Ross, the new girl in town who becomes the girlfriend of Jake Gyllenhaal’s title character. Malone co-produced the 2002 film American Girl, a drama in which she also acted. In the 2004 film Saved!, she got top billing in her first role as the primary star. In 2005, she played the spoiled fifth Bennet daughter Lydia in the film Pride and Prejudice. In 2006, she made her Broadway stage debut in a production of the Tony Award-winning play Doubt.
In 2007, it was announced that Malone was releasing her first single on The Social Registry, a New York City experimental music label. A number of tracks were posted to her MySpace page. Pitchfork Media has described Malone’s music as “pretty out-there – bedroom electronics, spaced-out keyboards, and Malone’s spare vocals.” Malone’s more recent musical work is performed as/with The Shoe. Malone appeared in the horror film, The Ruins, which was released on April 4, 2008, and co-starred Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, and Jonathan Tucker. She played Lavinia in an off-Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s play Mourning Becomes Electra in 2009.