‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star McKenna Grace Confirmed for New Gymnastics Biopic

Many remember former child stars such as Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin. These two climbed to the top of their acting careers as adults. Now, a new generation is here, and Mckenna Grace is one of the up-and-coming stars. The young actor has appeared in multiple roles so far in her career. Most saw her in the dark, dystopian series, The Handmaid’s Tale. But Grace’s career was just getting started.

A biographical flick based on the Olympic gymnast, Kerri Strug, is in development, and Grace is set to star. Here’s what we know so far about the young actor’s upcoming movie.

McKenna Grace talking on The Kelly Clarkson Show
McKenna Grace appears on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ | Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

What is Mckenna Grace known for?

Grace started on Disney XD’s puppet-based series, Crash & Bernstein. However, the actor didn’t gain much traction until she starred in Fuller House as Rose Harbenberger, C.J’s daughter and Max’s love interest. Grace embodied Rose’s sassy yet sweet demeanor on the show, and she quickly gained another, more significant TV role.

Next to Kiefer Sutherland, Tanner Buchanan, and Seth Right, Grace portrayed Penny Kirkman on Designated Survivor. The show focuses on Tom Kirkman’s performance as the new president, a job he never wanted. Grace gave an emotional performance in the Netflix-acquired Season 3 when Penny cries over the disheartening tabloid rumors surrounding her mother’s death.

Afterward, Grace appeared in several episodes of The Haunting of Hill House as the young Theodora Crain and Young Sheldon as Paige. Finally, she was cast for The Handmaid’s Tale as Esther Keyes. Although Grace was only in a few episodes of Season 4, her performance was strong.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Grace observed that, for the Hulu show, it was “important that they chose an actual 14-year-old to play the role, and I’m really glad I got to be that girl.”

Regarding her growing recognition, Grace recounted a moment when someone acknowledged her performance. “The night after [The Handmaid’s Tale] episode came out, I was at dinner with some people, and one of the waitresses said, ‘I just watched your episode,'” the actor recalled. “I was so excited because it had just come out. I was super happy that people were already watching my work because I’m proud of what I did in Handmaid’s.”

The Handmaid’s Tale alum has also starred in several movies, such as Gifted, Amityville: The Awakening, Captain Marvel, and Annabelle Comes Home. Her role in I, Tonya as the young Tonya Harding garnered countless positive reviews.

Grace will star in ‘Perfect,’ biopic about Kerri Strug

Perfect will concentrate on the story of the infamous gymnast who broke her ankle vaulting for Team USA at the 1996 Olympics–Kerri Strug.

According to Deadline, the movie is scheduled to start filming in 2022. Based on Strug’s book, Landing on My Feet, A Diary of Dreams, the flick will examine the young Olympian’s path to earning the gold medal at the Olympics.

Strug is considered a hero for her sacrifice; however, the former gymnast publicly supported Simone Biles when she withdrew from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Now that Biles reinforced the importance of mental health in athletics, Strug’s and others’ support for the gymnast could indicate a new beginning for the sport. Therefore, the film could reveal a different perspective on Strug’s sacrifice. But an official plot synopsis has yet to be unveiled.

Searchlight Pictures will distribute the biopic.

Who will Mckenna Grace portray in the movie?

Grace will not portray the famous gymnast; her role is unknown at the moment. New Zealand actor, Thomasin McKenzie, is set to play Strug in the movie.


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McKenzie is known for her role as Elsa in the Academy-Award-winning movie Jojo Rabbit. The movie went on to win Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards and was nominated for Best Picture.

While Grace’s character has not been revealed yet, she could receive further critical acclaim from the upcoming sports drama. The Young Sheldon star is the youngest actor to be nominated for an Emmy for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale.