Three Great Things: Brooklynn Prince

The popular young actor, who's currently starring in the coming-of-age film Little Wing, on her love of comic books, pigeons and Doc Martens.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the current release on Paramount Plus of the coming-of-age movie Little Wing, starring Brooklynn Prince, Kelly Reilly and Brian Cox, the 13-year-old Prince – who had her breakthrough role aged six, when she starred in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project shared some of the things she’s most passionate about. — N.D.

Comic Books
Comic books are one of the main things I love. It started with manga: on Cocaine Bear, my co-star Christian Convery told me, “You need to get into anime,” so I started watching some shows and really loved Demon Slayer, The Promised Neverland, Oshi No Ko and Bungo Stray Dogs. And then I found out there were graphic novels as well, so I went to a comic-book store to do a bunch of research. From there, that “research” turned into an addiction to comic books. I discovered favorite comic book artists like Zoe Thorogood and Emma Kubert. I now have a drawer in my room, just stacked full of comic books, a bunch of subscriptions and an Amazon list full of all the books I want.

Before this, I was never a big reader. If there are too many words on a page, I get stressed out, so I would start books and not finish them. When I was younger, I really loved Roald Dahl books like The BFG and Matilda, and also the Percy Jackson series, but those were pretty much the only books I’d ever read. I really love graphic novels and comic books, though, how the story plays out in the panels.

My favorite anime series is The Promised Neverland, and within the first two books, I was hooked. The second book ends on a cliffhanger and I thought, “No, this can’t be happening – I need more!” So I told my mom, “There’s a full set of five, and that’s the only thing I want for Christmas.” It cost a lot of money, but my mom got me that set for Christmas. I don’t think I talked to people very much over the holiday, and just would say, “Oh yeah, that’s great,” and then dive back into my book to find out what happened next!

In just a couple of years, my obsession has progressed to where my own comic book, Misfortune’s Eyes, is coming out on March 20. One day, I had an idea – about a girl who can see human auras – and ended up selling the idea to Sumerian Comics. Making Misfortune’s Eyes was a little nerve-wracking at first, as it was definitely a step out of my comfort zone, but I got used to it. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for a long time – I’ve been acting since the age of three and I got my first movie when I was six – but I knew nothing about the comic-book industry and am still establishing myself as a creator. I’ve been really blessed, though, with the people who’ve helped. My illustrator Aliz Fernandez has been in comics for a long time, so she was really good at helping us, as were the folks at Sumerian. And Ruben Romero, who made the comic Illusion Witch, was amazing at telling me and my family about the comic-book world, too.

After making Little Wing, I love pigeons. This might be a really weird statement, but I’d never realized before that pigeons were really cute. Lauren Henry and Roland Sonneburg, who were the amazing bird handlers on Little Wing, taught me everything about pigeons. When they are cold, pigeons will shrink up, retract their neck and surround themself with their body. They end up curling into a little ball – their face is just a little knob on the top of this furry ball and their eyes shrink, almost like they’re falling asleep. The moment I saw that, I realized just how adorable pigeons are. And not only that, they are also one of the smartest creatures I’ve worked with or been around.

I’ve worked with animals quite a bit in the past. There were no real bears in Cocaine Bear, but I did work with wolves on The Marsh King’s Daughter which were really sweet, and the half wolf-half dog on Home Before Dark was the sweetest dog I’ve ever met. (Even sweeter than my Siberian husky, Mooney, but don’t tell her I said that!) I’d had a lot of experience with dogs, rather than with birds, so I was nervous going into making Little Wing. But pigeons are so amazing – they just find a way into your heart.

It’s so crazy, because before when I’d walk by pigeons on the street, I’d just think, “Oh, pigeons – they’re gonna steal my French fries.” But working with the pigeons, I really came to love them. They remembered me, and some of the pigeons bonded to me. Needy, who played Juliet, and Apollo, who played the Granger, knew me and would fly to me from across the room. They knew I liked to cuddle them, so they would let me cuddle them more than the other pigeons. They’re just incredibly smart, cute animals.

Now, when I see pigeons out in the world, I don’t think, “They’re just street vermin in the air,” instead I wonder, “Ooh, maybe that’s a homing pigeon. Maybe they’re flying home,” or “Maybe that one has a name. Maybe it has a life.”

Doc Martens
I have an obsession with Doc Martens, and it’s a little bit of an unhealthy obsession. I created a Pinterest board just for Doc Martens and I have five pairs of Docs. I own purple pairs, I have the fabric loafers and I always think, “OK, which pair do I want to wear today?” I also have about four other shoe styles that look like Doc Martens.

I’m definitely Gen Alpha, but I feel like I’m a ’90s kid at heart. My mom told me the story about how for her 12th or 13th birthday, she took a trip to Washington, D.C., and her parents gave her Doc Martens, which was the shoe she wanted more than anything. I think I got my obsession with Doc Martens from my mom, and I’m still trying to convince her to get us matching pairs of Doc Martens!

I love the way Doc Martens look. I love the way they feel. I love the way they can spunk up any outfit. I would wear Doc Martens with literally anything. I definitely want to wear Doc Martens on a red carpet, but I’m slowly transitioning into wearing them more for events and have worn them a lot to press junkets.

I got my first pair when I was about nine; my mom bought them for me and said, “Just trust me, you’ll like them.” I didn’t want to wear them initially, because when you first put them on, they feel stiff and you really have to break them in. But then later, I rediscovered them in my closet, dug them out and put them on. And I just loved them.

Each night, I go through my prayers and say, “God, please protect my family and keep me safe … Also, if Doc Martens wants to sponsor me and have me wear their shoes, I wouldn’t be too upset about that. OK, thank you. Good night.” So, yeah, I’m putting it out in the universe. I’m sure something will come back!

Featured image showing Brooklynn Prince in Little Wing by Alysson Riggs/Paramount+.

Brooklynn Prince is currently starring in the coming-of-age drama Little Wing, opposite Kelly Reilly and Brian Cox, which is now streaming on Paramount Plus. She had her breakout role aged six in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, for which she won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Young Performer. Her recent projects Neil Burger’s film The Marsh King’s Daughter for Lionsgate Films, alongside Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn, Elizabeth Banks’ crowd-pleasing hit Cocaine Bear, and the AppleTV+ series Home Before Dark. Brooklynn’s previous credits include starring in Settlers with Sofia Boutella and Jonny Lee Miller and The Turning, opposite Mackenzie Davis and Finn Wolfhard. and voicing roles in in Lord and Miller’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Disney’s The One and Only Ivan, alongside Angelina Jolie, and The Angry Birds Movie 2.