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Natural Talent

ASK INDUSTRY INSIDERS and entertainment critics to name today’s most promising young Hollywood star, and you’ll hear Kaitlyn Dever’s name over and over. The 23-year-old actress—who has the dry wit, worried shrug, and Gala-apple cheeks of a young Geena Davis—wowed viewers with daring turns in three projects last year alone and has become an awards-season red carpet fixture.

For Netflix’s miniseries Unbelievable, she earned Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. For the big-screen high school hit Booksmart, she landed an award from the Hollywood Critics Association. The Austin Film Society crowned Dever their Rising Star. And the National Association of Theatre Owners—the trade organization that relies on its stardom-predicting prowess to help rack up big bucks at the box office—named her one of the world’s Female Stars of Tomorrow.

It’s easy to understand the hubbub. In , a true-crime drama based on an acclaimed podcast, she’s heartbreakingly raw as Marie Adler, a Washington state teen in foster care who is raped but has trouble getting anyone to believe her until two female detectives, played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, latch on to the case. “Wait,” a legion of sitcom diehards no doubt said, “ the girl who played?!”

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