ESCAPE ARTIST
ACTRESS SOPHIE KENNEDY CLARK IS A SOCIAL ACROBAT. BY LISA MISCHIANTI. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DAVID TITLOW

“I grew up a feral child,” says Sophie Kennedy Clark with an accent that reveals her Scottish roots, “climbing trees, building dens, and creating my own fun in the countryside.” She makes an offhanded Robinson Crusoe reference and returns to reminiscing. “When I was five, we had career day,” she recalls. “And I came home saying that I just wanted to tell stories
as a job.” 

Luckily, a flair for entertaining is in her blood: Both her mother and late grandfather were musical artists and on-screen stars in Scotland. Miss Kennedy Clark certainly belongs in the family business, with three interesting and diverse new projects lined up. This November saw the release of Philomena, a sentimental and smart drama based on the true story of the namesake woman’s search for her illegitimate son who was forced into adoption decades prior. Kennedy Clark appears alongside Judi Dench and Steve Coogan to portray young Philomena, a role she executes poignantly. She will also be seen in the upcoming controversially risqué Lars von Trier film Nymphomaniac and the thriller Eliza Graves, which is based on an Edgar Allan Poe story and features Kennedy Clark as a patient in a mental institution. “‘Girl next door’ is a rite of passage that I’ve somehow bypassed!” she says. “I tend to get unusual parts, and I’m thankful, because you’re free to be weird and people will think it’s great.”

But Kennedy Clark’s profession isn’t the only place her creative imagination continues to come in handy. “I can wriggle my way out of most tough situations,” she boasts. Here, she helps us slip away from some tight spots unscathed. 

1. Answer a difficult question with another question. 
Observe the confused look and swift subject change that follows.

2. To deliver bad news, say something positive, followed by the bad news, then good news. 
For example: sandwich, bad news, good news.

3. To avoid missing your flight, turn to theatrics. 
When running late, if on the cusp of not being let aboard, I have been known to drop to the floor in despair. For guys, I would recommend maybe a trusty jaw clench and a fist slam upon the counter declaring that you just can’t leave your fiancée standing at the altar. 

4. If you forget your ID at home, go musical. 
Last time I was a victim of my own forgetfulness, I told the bar’s doorman that I would recite the Spice Girls’ entire first album to prove that I was born before 1995. I started with “Wannabe” and was admitted out of sheer terror. For men, I’d recommend a different, but equally absurd, album.