Julia Roberts and Jena Malone star in 1998’s “Stepmom.” (Photo: Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)”I think I was about 12 when I started being recognized,” Malone says. “I think it was Stepmom that really changed that moment for me. I’m glad that I experienced it when I was tiny, because then I got to have a bigger conversation with it. It didn’t throw me off.”Story continuesBy the time she was 15, in real life, a court had granted Malone emancipation from her parents, after she said her mother had “squandered” her earnings through “excessive spending and mismanagement,” according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press.She also managed to stay professionally successful during that tricky transitioning-child star period, appearing in movies such as cult favorite Donnie Darko (2001), Civil War drama Cold Mountain (2003) and Saved!, a 2004 teen comedy, as she reached adulthood. Now 37, she’s co-starred in several movies in the Hunger Games franchise, the 2016 thrillers Nocturnal Animals and The Neon Demon, as well as on Billy Bob Thorton’s Amazon show, Goliath, last year.
Jena Malone, middle, attends a party following the “Saved!” premiere, with her co-stars Macaulay Culkin and Mandy Moore, on May 13, 2004, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)In her new movie Adopting Audrey — out Aug. 26 — she plays an adult woman who puts herself up for adoption.”I find that Audrey’s conundrum or rather place that she’s questioning is, What do I need as an adult from the relationship with my parents?” Malone asks. “Because that seems like a pretty normal part of the human conundrum. I think it was that that drew me in.”Malone has reconciled with her own parents since that court case.”I have a better relationship with my parents now than I ever did,” she says.