Grapevine's Mckenna Grace Finds Success in ‘Gifted'

A little girl from Texas earned top billing in the movie, "Gifted."

Mckenna Grace plays 7-year-old math prodigy Mary Adler. Mary lives with Frank, her uncle, who tries to give his gifted niece the normal life his deceased sister would have wanted.

Grace shares credits with Chris Evans, of Captain America fame, who stars as Frank. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer has the role of Evelyn, the landlord who loves Mary as if she were her own.

Evans and Spencer are big draws, yet a review in USA Today said, "any scene with Grace is worthwhile. She's the rare child actor who doesn't seem like she's trying to hit emotional marks - she seems as if she's really feeling the joy, the frustration, the anger, the sadness and the fear that Mary faces."

Mckenna Grace, of Grapevine, plays 7-year-old math prodigy Mary Adler in upcoming movie, "Gifted."

"It's my first movie that's gotten really, really recognized," said Grace during a weekend visit home in North Texas. "Other movies I've done have gotten recognized but not like this. I'm just so excited for this."

Mckenna filmed the movie in 2015 when she was in single digits. She's now 10, going on 11. And with 41 projects on her resume, she's a pro at handling interviews.

This is clear with her answer to a question about working opposite hunky Chris Evans.

"A lot of people ask me about Chris. 'Don't you think he's cute?' He's too old for me," she says. I don't have feelings besides him being a friend. He's a grownup. I'm a kid."

Mckenna is a kid who was born in Texas and is proud of it. 

"I was born in Grapevine. And I lived in Colleyville for five years," she said. "I went to preschool here and kindergarten."

Mckenna, her mom and dad moved to California five years ago so her dad could do a residency in orthopedic surgery and she could pursue acting.

Mckenna's connection to Texas stays strong. You hear it when she slips a "y'all" into conversation and you saw it on her face during a visit home last week.

Her grandparents Darrell and Tracey Sulak (Papa and Lollie, to Mckenna) rented a theater in her native Grapevine for friends and family to see her new movie.

"It's just really special movie to me because I worked so hard. And, I'm so happy it's finally coming out and people are starting to watch it," she said during an interview with NBC 5.

The trip home to Texas also meant Mckenna got to have her favorite fast food.

"I miss Whataburger or my mom misses Whataburger. I miss their french fries and their chocolate malts," she said.

She also skipped her way to the mound at Globe Life Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Texas Rangers game.

And, high on her list was seeing her bestie from pre-school, Kenzie Pallone, an 11-year-old fifth grader who also has acting credits to her name.

"She's my best friend. We Facetime every weekend. We love each other," said Mckenna.

And, Mckenna loves her home state. California feeds her passion for acting. Texas keeps her grounded.

"It's just a special place in my heart that I always want to be in. It's where my family is. It's where my heart is."

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