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Brie Larson built for long 'Term' success

Brie Larson and Keith Stanfield star in “Short

Brie Larson and Keith Stanfield star in “Short Term 12.” Credit: Brie Larson and Keith Stanfield star in “Short Term 12.”

Few moviegoing sensations are more exciting than the thrill of a new discovery, the realization that you’re watching an unexpected actor in an under-the-radar movie give a performance that achieves greatness.

Brie Larson is 23 now. She’s been acting since her preteens, in movies such as “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” She’s having a terrific 2013, with roles in summer darling “The Spectacular Now” and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s upcoming “Don Jon.”

But her role as Grace in the small drama “Short Term 12,” a film about 20-somethings working in a foster care facility for teens, is in a class by itself, a work filled with such complicated emotions that it’s clearly indicative of a star in the making.

The movie, out Friday, won top prizes at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival. The accolades have poured in, and an Oscar push for Larson seems likely.

So what does she make of it all?

“It feels nice in the way that humans enjoy feeling respected and they enjoy feeling love and accepted,” she says. “It’s bizarre. I don’t know if I really understand... what’s happening, I feel kind of like a different person.

“I don’t know,” the actress continues. “I think it’s something I won’t really know how to explain or talk about until much later in my life. Right now, I feel excited and confused and wonderment and fearful. I’m a little tentative about all of it, but I’m also trying to be accepting and enjoy this moment and this process.”

There’s no such ambiguity when it comes to Larson’s reasons for taking part in this labor of love or what she says she looks for in roles.

“It’s just as simple as reading something that’s so powerful and speaks to you in a way that’s very strong,” Larson says.

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