Isabela Merced Is Pushing Herself to New Limits

When Isabela Merced arrives at the West Hollywood studio where her Who What Wear shoot is taking place on a sunny day in March, she takes the time to introduce herself to every single person on set. “Hi, I’m Isabela,” she says kindly, bouncing from one end of the room to the other and making sure to shake hands with each of the near 20 people waiting for her. It’s a small but thoughtful gesture that immediately endears me to the actor. We happen to be catching Merced on a rare day off from simultaneously filming two major Warner Brothers projects, Superman and The Last of Us, and the fact that she’s not void of energy at this point is mind-boggling. As she shuffles into her fitting complete with a colorful rack full of looks from Miu Miu, Chanel, Gucci, and more, I can tell we are in for a great day. I was not wrong.

The following week, I meet Merced again, this time via Zoom. She greets me with that same warm, inviting energy as last time, and we quickly settle in to talk about, among other things, Turtles All the Way Down, her new film that lands on Max today.

Isabela Merced poses wearing black sunglasses and Chanel black and white stripe dress.

(Image credit: Emman Montalvan; Styling: Chanel dress, briefs, and shoes; Chanel Fine Jewelry earrings and rings; Bottega Veneta sunglasses)

Turtles All the Way Down is the anticipated screen adaptation of John Green’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same name. The story centers on Aza Holmes (Merced), a 16-year-old living with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. With the help of her fearless best friend Daisy (Cree Cicchino), Aza attempts to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett and is reunited with Pickett’s son and her old friend Davis (Felix Mallard). Along the way, Aza must work through grief, spiraling thoughts that limit her everyday life, a friendship on the rocks, and growing romantic feelings for Davis.