Category Archives: actor profile

Featured Actor: Canada’s Nathan Mitchell!

nm
Canadian Actor Nathan Mitchell shot by Rebecca Eady

 

For Canadian born actor Nathan Mitchell, who is known for his roles in an impressive list of hit films such as “Twist of Fate,” “Newlywed and Dead” and Lifetime’s “The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story,” as well as the multi-award winning series “Arrow” and “Motive,” the acting bug bit at a young age, and he hasn’t turned back since.

Mitchell says, “What’s appealing about acting for me is that it’s an art form that requires genuine connection with other people. You really have to listen; you really have to let yourself be affected by the other person to create something dynamic. When you’re that tuned into someone else you have this fun, meaningful experience.”

Starting out in the industry nearly a decade ago, Mitchell skyrocketed to the top of the Canadian TV scene almost immediately when he took on the recurring lead role of Jeffrey on The CW’s comedy “Aliens in America.” Mitchell’s character Jeffrey is the on-and-off boyfriend of lead character Claire Tolchuck, played by Lindsay Shaw from the multi-award winning series “Pretty Little Liars.”

A coming of age comedy about a Pakistani exchange student who moves to America to live with the Tolchuck family and attend high school in a foreign country, “Aliens in America” was an immediate fan favorite thanks to the way it wove together relatable storylines about the dramatic experiences of being a teenager in a way that left viewers feeling good.

One of Mitchell’s funniest and most unforgettable moments in the series was in the second episode when Claire tries to break up with him. Instead of fading out, he stands on her front lawn with a boombox on his shoulder blasting ‘In Your Eyes,’ an icon and effective move on his part.

While “Aliens in America” was the perfect venue for Mitchell to show off his comedy side, but what audiences have come to know the actor best for is his unparalleled skill in drama.

Over the years he’s given numerous memorable performances on hit TV series such as the Golden Globe nominated crime series “Covert Affairs,” the two-time Primetime Emmy nominated sci-fi series “Falling Skies,” the Gemini and Canadian Screen Award winning series “How to Be Indie,” the Joey Award winning series “The Tomorrow People” and more.

motive-2
Nathan Mitchell in a dramatic moment as Russell Bowman in “Motive”

In season 4 of the dramatic crime series “Motive” Mitchell took on a starring role as famed BC Furies quarterback Russell Bowman, a distraught husband mourning the loss of his murdered wife.

“There was a weight to this character because he is dealing with the most monumental loss of his life. We get to see some of the happy times they had as a couple. But then you’re dealing with the heaviness of going through such a deep loss,” recalls Mitchell about playing Russell Bowman on the series.

“He has to deal with losing the most important person in his life. Seeing how he handles that is just as interesting as solving the murder itself. Those two parts of the narrative keep you on your toes.”

Nathan Mitchell
Kristin Lehman (left), Nathan Mitchell (center) & Brendan Penny (right) in “Motive”

Mitchell’s riveting performance as Bowman is emotional, honest and impossible to peel our eyes away from, the actor definitely has a gift for bringing challenging and multi-layered characters to life on screen.

With the craze of comic book inspired blockbuster films and hit television series that have swept the entertainment industry over the last few years, it’s not at all surprising that Mitchell is a part of that world too, the DC Universe to be specific.

In season 3 of The CW’s “Arrow,” Mitchell guest starred as Isaac Stanzler, a key character in the developing plot between Oliver aka Arrow, played by Stephen Amell (“The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow”), and Roy aka Arsenal, played by Colton Hayes (“San Andreas,” “Teen Wolf”).

The abandoned protege of Wildcat (J.R. Ramirez), Isaac appears on the scene embittered from the betrayal and ready to make Wildcat pay by framing him for a string of mysterious murders.

Mitchell explains, “I came out of the shadows to frame Wild Cat for giving up on me and leaving me in the hands of criminals. It was exhilarating getting to be a part of the DC Comics Universe and bring comic book lore to life.”

A critical subplot in “Arrow’s” overall story arc, the relationship between Isaac and Wildcat reveal what could happen to Arrow if he were to be abandoned by Arsenal in the future; but only time will tell how that plays out.

Nailing the mark with his performance in “Arrow,” Mitchell brings his character to life seamlessly by tapping into the hurt and resentment Isaac has towards Wildcat. In the heart pumping fight scene where Isaac takes on Arsenal, Mitchell makes it’s clear that what’s driving his character is the need for vengeance, which makes him a relatable villain that we hate and feel sorry for at the same time.

As an actor, Nathan Mitchell brings a rare level of diversity to the table thanks to his ability to find the root of what drives each of his characters, an asset that has allowed him to play a wide range roles across practically every genre.

He explains, “The more I truly explore my roles the more I become aware of different facets of myself. There’s a huge psychological component to it. You’re taking the script and deducing how one would act based on the circumstances. You’re always learning about human nature. It’s very fulfilling.”

Nathan Mitchell
Rose McIver (left), Nathan Mitchell (center) & Malcolm Goodwin (right) in the season 2 finale of “iZombie”

Up next for Nathan Mitchell is season 3 of the TV series “iZombie,” which airs in 2017, as well as the upcoming sci-fi film “Scorched Earth,” where he takes on the critical role of Zee. Audiences will also be able to catch him in the upcoming film “The Marine 5: Battleground,” where he takes on the key role of Cole.

 

SEBASTIAN SACCO PORTRAY’S THE CREATIVE STRUGGLE IN “THE PATH”

Art imitates life and life imitates art. Whether it is in the artistic presentation of the real life experience, people are fascinated by passion. Love, hate, greed, altruism, faith, family, all of these involve this provocative emotion. Some enjoy a calm lifestyle while others are driven to the flame by their desires. Either can be a soothing or precarious scenario. For actors like Sebastian Sacco, he cannot deny his pursuit of a creative lifestyle. It’s not all red-carpet premiers and adoring fans. Quite often it means freezing in the rain while being shot with (paintball) bullets on a war film (as he did in Tommy), or being held underwater for long periods of time (in the Flawes music video “Don’t Wait For Me”). Even when he is given a less physically demanding role to play, it is often emotionally taxing, as in the film The Path. This film delves into the mindset and emotional obstacles of someone who pursues a life as an actor and the everyday securities with which they must forego; it’s a role which Sacco is ideally suited to play. He stars as Seb in the film by writer Harry Chadwick and directed by Tobias Brebner. This 2015 film investigates the sacrifices and uncertainties made in the pursuit of a dream, and the measures it takes to stay on that path.

If you transferred the same fixation and enthusiasm that one might have for say…futbol (or football, depending on your place of origin) you would have an indication of what dancers, writers, musicians, actors, and other creative types feel for their vocation. The true immersion of your joys and pains, fixated on one specific thing…it can be overpowering. Many entertainers profess their love of their creative pursuits while also recognizing the fact that it often requires them to forego a “normal” life and relationships. These careers are never 9 to 5 jobs. Witnessing Sacco’s performance as Seb feels like watching a new form of audience-viewable intense therapy. His character deals with the same doubt, drive, insecurities, and relationship struggles that undoubtedly almost every creative centered individual experiences. Specifically, this film focuses on a relationship. The Path is the story of an actor pursuing his dream. In this pursuit, he meets and falls in love with someone. Seb is constantly divided in his motivation between love and the demands of pursuing his career. He desperately wants the relationship to work but he can’t help but become diverted from it by the focus needed to pursue his dream. Seb realizes that he can only pursue one end and must choose between her or his passion. He takes the plunge and heads back on his path towards his dream.

the-path6

Sebastian has played many leading roles. It’s any easy conclusion to make that the reason so many critics and viewers found his portrayal of Seb in The Path so authentic is because it is so close to his own life experience. He confirms, “I’m very close to who this character is and what he has lived. Seb really has to deal with one big question. Life is filled with so many little decisions that dictate the path we follow but this film wanted to focus on just the big stuff for Seb; the huge pull for a loved one or for your dream and passion. It’s a sad fact that sometimes the two cannot work together. Towing the line in-between just makes both unhappy. I denied this fact in my own life for a long time. I had wanted to be an actor ever since I was a kid. I didn’t allow myself to consider it as a real possibility for such a long time. As I grew up and felt pressures from other factors, I just slowly pretended I wanted other things. I tried to forget about acting or tell myself I’d do it later. I attempted to use other things to occupy my attention rather than allowing myself to pursue my true desire. Eventually, when I made the decision… nothing else mattered. I wasn’t going back. I wasn’t going to deny myself again. That’s the exact struggle my character endures. I’m certain that most people who pursue creative lives relate to this, I was just fortunate that I found a film which allowed me to tell the story that many of us relate to.”

the-path5

Many of the scenes in The Path are emotionally taxing but one scene in particular depicts a physical representation of Seb’s turmoil. It’s somewhat humorous that Sacco has had a number of roles in his career that require submersion in water for long periods of time. It’s not a scenario or achievement which one regularly associates with a particular actor. Director Tobias Brebner (who has worked with such acclaimed actors as Kevin Spacey) notes, “We had to shoot Sebastian in the freezing wind and rain in Scotland as he traversed through the wilderness. On top of all that, he had to perform a sequence in which he had to jump into a freezing cold lake in the lake district during each take. Despite the obvious physical discomfort he was in, Sebastian performed each take with the utmost professionalism, never complaining about the conditions and always able to stay in character. His performance is a testament to the theme of the film – always enduring and working toward a goal regardless of the external circumstances. The success we achieved would not have been possible without his amazing talent and commitment to the film. In fact, I would go so far as to say he is the film.”

Sebastian agrees that he is quite close to his character in The Path. While he may not have made immense personal discoveries working on this production, it reinforced a pillar of his beliefs as he comments, “Seb reminded me to always follow your dream. The path might change or you might go in a different direction than you thought but, always keep following your dream.”

the-path11

BRAZIL’S VICTOR LUCENA GAINS CRITICAL ACCLAIM AND FANS IN “ARRUFOS”

Stage actor Victor Lucena knows a great deal about love. Yes, he has leading man looks and charisma but that’s not the reason. As a lead actor in the play Arrufos (translated as “Tiffs” in English) by XIX Theater Group in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lucena explored various representation of love. Every actor uses a part of themselves and takes something with them from a role. As a celebrated theater actor in Brazil, Victor is recognized for his willingness to take on complicated roles as he did in Arrufos. The play received awards from the Shell Theatre Awards, the Sao Paulo Art Critics Association Awards, the Sao Paulo Theatre Co-Op Association, and countless others. As the lead actor in this production, Lucena’s ability to emote and relate to the three different characters he performs as in Arrufos was the driving force which led to these achievements. We all know about love but to communicate its various representations in a way that we can all relate to takes an actor of great skill and sensitivity. This Brazilian thespian’s decision to focus on theater rather than film is because of the changing nature of each performance that he thrives upon. Rather than embracing the security of a perfect take, Victor basks in the uncertainty that performing in front of a live audience grants. This is an appropriate metaphor for the changing aspects of love in each of our lives, which again points directly to Lucena’s astute attitude and ability at performing his roles in Arrufos.

arrufos_picture_3

Victor’s work with the XIX Theater Group has driven them to become one of the most beloved and respected of their kind in Brazil; it’s an attribute that Luiz Fernando Marquez (director of XIX Theater Group) does not take lightly. Marques declares, “Victor has an endless collection of credits. There can be no question that our incredible critical acclaim and commercial success is entirely thanks to Mr. Lucena’s leading role. Arrufos consistently achieved massive commercial success through sold out shows with large audiences, resulting in numerous awards. Victor’s unprecedented skillset allowed him to convey three extraordinarily different and crucial characters in such a way that the audience was able to understand the overarching theme of the production. Victor’s versatility as an actor was an invaluable asset to the creation of this production.” Lucena is the type of actor who delights both his peers and his audience, a testament to his talent and his professionalism. He is also quick to throw accolades to his director and co-stars as reasons behind the acclaim that Arrufos received. The actor notes, “Luiz Fernando Marques is truly talented, particularly in the way that he is able to take on the audience’s perspective. He is able to approach it with a fresh set of eyes each time and understand how the audience will see things, rather than getting lost in a director’s mind. My co-stars: Rodolfo Amorim, Ronaldo Serruya, Juliana Sanches and Janaina Leite…they all have such passion and presence! I’m fortunate that their performances challenged me to work at such a high level. Working with the best forces you to become even better…which is why I do it.”

One of the reasons that Victor was so lauded for his work in Arrufos is in regards to his multiple performances in the play and their believability. The production is a research into the history of love in Brazil, and was written into numerous skits and sketches which show the differing ways love can be perceived, given, and received. Despite wildly different depictions of this highly complex emotion, the overall theme of the play is the strength and prevalence of love across time and space. As a leading actor for Arrufos, Mr. Lucena performed three leading characters: The Priest, The Doctor, and The Lonely. Each character is a different look into various aspects of love. The Priest acts as a conduit of the influence of the Catholic Church in the 1700’s on love and faith, the Doctor establishes opposition to the church and the science of love, and the Lonely represents the lack of hope in life when loneliness is prominent and how love conquers it. Victor explains the acts of the play, “It is a really fascinating emotional curve for the actors involved in this play. The first act is so deep, dark, and heavy. Regardless of all the speeches we all have in it; it seems too silent. In order to create that atmosphere, we all would breathe together for a few minutes and then, about 15 minutes before play starts, each actor and actress would get quiet and start concentrating for it. The second act is much lighter. We took the heaviness off of the atmosphere to break away from the First Act, which is kind of relief for the actors and the audience. The Third Act was a joy! It was especially fun because we break the fourth wall; that was something that I felt really confident and comfortable with. A play is a live organism and as so it is always varying. While a song can be performed in the same way night after night in an orchestra, that’s impossible for a play; it depends on so many different variables. I think consistency is the most important achievement for a good performance but you have to explore new places at the same time.”

arrufos_picture_2

When a performance is as recognized by both consumers and critics, it’s natural to be curious about the preparation of the actor. For his roles in Arrufos, Lucena immersed himself with inspiration for the mood by reading books and watching films about the different presentations of love. He even created a specific playlist which he would listen to for 30 minutes prior to each performance. This gives credence to the idea that art inspires art. While Victor admits to ignoring critics during the run of the play, he admits to one self-congratulatory moment. He reveals, “During the First Act, as the Priest, I’d have to hide under a tiny bed, change clothes and “sing” a prayer in the complete darkness. To do all this, I had only about two and a half minutes, which is the time the character of the father had to give his speech. I’m 5’11’’ and the bed is about 5’5”. I truly believed that there was no way I could do all of this in such a cramped space, but I did and every time. When  I finished I’d secretly celebrate.” Perhaps it is this attitude, that of a man who focuses on the little things rather than worrying about grand acceptance from critics, that communicates Lucena’s joy of the stage and all its possibilities to a welcoming group of admirers.

Australia’s Karen Mitchell Displays Unparalleled Diversity

 

nikwilliamson2
Actress Karen Mitchell shot by Nik Williamson

 

Multi-talented Australian actress Karen Mitchell has proven herself to be a performer with unlimited range. After more than a decade of landing lead roles in award-winning films and highly watched television shows, it’s clear that the caliber of her gift for performing will keep her on our radar for years to come.

Originally from Sandringham, Victoria, Mitchell spent several years honing her skills on the stages of Australia where she starred in a long list of high-profile productions in roles that include Clara Eynsford Hill in the Peridot Theatre Company’s presentation of “Pygmalion,” Adelaide Adams in the Hampton Theatre Company’s presentation of “Calamity Jane,” Nora in “The Mouse that Roared” and others.

While her stage presence captivated audiences across the country, Mitchell was destined for the screen and in 2010 she landed the starring role of Twila Busby on the Investigation Discovery crime series “Facing Evil.”

 

facing-evil
Karen Mitchell as Twila Busby in “Facing Evil”

 

She went on to star in several more television series taking on roles such as Pia & Rena in the 10-episode fantasy series “Atomic Kingdom” directed by James Peniata (“Silent Eyes,” “Dead Moon Circus”), Catherine in “Nameless: Blood and Chains” alongside Gary Boulter from “Silent Majority” and “Bedlam,” and the villainous Tracey Grissman in “Deadly Women.”

Mitchell admits, “I am passionate about working as an actor because it is constantly changing and always challenging. I am allowed to breathe life into different roles, develop new characters and work with different people. No one day is ever the same.”

With such a diverse range of characters already under her belt, Mitchell’s passion for challenging her craft with roles that are completely different from those she’s taken on in the past is easy to see.

Through her dramatic roles in films such as Sage Benishay’s “About A Husband,” which earned recognition at the Colortape International Film Festival, and “Torn Devotion” where she acts alongside Sontaan Hopson (“The Newtown Girls,” “Dark Temptations”) and Richard Cotter (“Dog’s Breakfast,” “All Saints”), Karen Mitchell has left an indelible mark in the minds of viewers as an actress who masterfully takes on deeply layered characters.

When asked about her favorite genre to work in, Mitchell admits, “If you would’ve asked me this question five years ago, I probably would’ve said drama, because I relish giving justice to a person’s story so that people learn something about themselves or humanity when watching it, whether it be a TV series or feature film.”

In recent years though, Mitchell has been landing more and more lead roles in comedy series and films, a genre where she has carved out a place for herself as the kind of actress who seems to effortlessly make us laugh out loud. Some of her recent comedies include the film “The Tail Job,” which was nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival and chosen as an Official Selection of the CATE Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the series “It’s A Dole Life” where she played the critical role of Megan, a quirky manager who runs the government benefits office.

Karen also appeared in comedic roles in the series “Skit Box” alongside the creators of the viral “ActiveWear” video which amassed 17 million views and was featured on Perez Hilton’s website. Other comedy roles include the lead character Evelyn in the series “Greg,” Hazel in “Aging Gracefully,” Julie in “Love That Car” and Mariah in “The Final Year.”

When it comes to working on a comedy project, she says, “I’ve always been asked to employ my own unique personality into the role, and that’s what audiences and critics respond to, being me! It’s funny how easy it might sound but it’s very difficult being yourself, being loyal to the script and making it all work together so that people laugh.”

Her work as a commercial actress is another area where ‘just being herself’ has contributed to Mitchell’s success. Over the years she’s amassed an astonishing list of credits as a featured actress in commercials for Coles, Commonwealth Bank, Eurobed, Shark Sonic Duo, Pack & Send, Smart Cleanse, Dollars Direct, Ruby Radar and more. She is also featured in the music video for D-Block & S-te-Fan & Isaac’s hit song “Alive” feat. Chris Madin, which has garnered more than three million views on YouTube. The music video paints the story of a dying teenage girl in the hospital with Mitchell taking on the role of her heartbroken mother. Even without speaking, Mitchell’s emotional expressions in the video are palpable. Check it out below.

 

Hot on the Radar: Q & A with Actress Tatiana Romao

Tatiana Romao
Actress Tatiana Romao

We recently caught up with actress Tatiana Romao for an interview about what drives her to perform and how she got started in the industry. Romao, who is known internationally for her performances in the films Lips, Disruption, Corinne, The Red House, Abberation and many more, recently wrapped production on the upcoming film The Process. Set to hit the festival circuit in 2017, The Process is a powerful drama written and directed by Chinese director Apple Ng, whose film 1 Corinthians 13 screened at the Nevada Women’s Film Fest earlier this year. Taking on the starring role of Lindsey in the film, Romao acts alongside Kathy Wu from Chris Nahon’s (Kiss of the Dragon) 2016 film Lady Bloodfight and the secen-time Hong Kong Film Award winning film Port of Call, Yisrael Dubov from the films The Petulant, Scapegoat and the series Z Fever, and Jasmine Hill from the film Highland and the series Princess in Di-Stress.

Romao also recently wrapped production on the upcoming horror film Valentine DayZ from director Mark Allen Michaels, the director of the horror film The Fiance with Carrie Keagan from the films Dead 7, Sharknado 4D: The Fourth Awakens and Father Vs. Son, and Douglas Tait from the films Star Trek, Land of the Lost and the hit Primetime Emmy nominated series Grimm. Romao takes on the lead role of Diana in Valentine DayZ, which also stars Carrie Keagan, FANtastic Award nominee Robert Allen Mukes from the film House of 1000 Corpses and the series Westworld and Weeds, and Dallaz Valdez from The Fiance. An apocalyptic zombie horror film Valentine DayZ, which is due for release in 2017, follows a group of unsavory characters who get a rude awakening when a zombie outbreak plagues earth. In the film Romao’s character Diana, and Max played by Valdez, join forces to battle the undead.

To find out more about actress Tatiana Romao, make sure to check out our interview below!

Where are you from? 

I’m from Sao Paulo, Brazil

When and how did you get into acting?

I started acting when I was 12 years old. I come from a family of all doctors. That includes both my parents, my siblings, my cousins, uncles, aunts and even one of my grandfathers used to be one. Acting has been my passion and a need in my life since I’ve come to know myself as a person. It all started as an after school, extracurricular activity and as time went by it became my goal in life. I went through all my years of school taking acting classes, first amateur and eventually a full professional acting program at one of the most respected schools in Brazil, Escola Celia-Helena. After finishing school I went to college for marketing. In Brazil it is almost something you HAVE to do if you want to get somewhere and coming from a family of doctors there wasn’t much discussion on that. During college I kept on working in small plays and small projects, worked with Fatima Toledo, one of the most respected acting coaches in Brazil (she worked on City of God, Elite Squad I and II, Alice and so many other very big movies and tv series in Brazil), went through her film program, organized myself and my life and moved to LA 2 years after graduation, in 2009.

What is it about acting that drives you to perform?

Acting is a need in my life, it’s not an option of whether or not I will do it, it is what I have to do, it is what I do and a great part of who am. Acting has shaped my life. The feeling, the emotion, hearing from the audience how you moved them, how you touched them, it is indescribable.

Can you tell us about the upcoming film “Valentine DayZ”?

“Valentine DayZ” was likely one of the most fun sets I’ve ever been to. I played Diana, a girl that, with Max (Dallas Valdez), has to defend the world and everything they hold dear from a zombie apocalypse that recently burst. We also had Carrie Keagan as part of our cast playing Sara. It was my second time on a horror/ thriller film (the first was ‘The Red House’) and besides what people may believe the energy on set is just so light and everyone just becomes this one big family. When I was at the beginning of my acting career I used to believe that even the filming of a horror film had to be somewhat scary, I remember reading stories of things that some people said happened on their sets and so I had in my mind that I was never going to be in one, well…that has changed a lot. Of course we have our very tense moments depending on the scene that we are filming but we had so much fun, we were always trying to scare each other and would burst into laughter right after. It was so much fun, I miss it a lot honestly. The film is still yet to be released and we are all very anxious and excited to watch the final version.

How about the film “The Process”?

“The Process” is a comedy about the day to day life in an office space and how frustrated people get in the normal 9-5 jobs. It’s centered on Lindsey (myself), Carter (Jasmine Hill) and Dwayne (Matt Pena). They are best friends and Carter’s life is falling apart. She just got divorced, after catching her husband cheating on her with an older woman, she can’t stand her boss anymore and she wants to sell all her things and move to Hawaii. Lindsey has a kid and almost lost her job twice for being so tired of it she just doesn’t deliver almost anything anymore, she is always stalling and was caught sleeping at a meeting. Dwayne is the nerd one, always afraid to lose his job as he lives from paycheck to paycheck and even though he is miserable and is always being relocated from different areas in the office as his boss doesn’t want him there anymore but don’t want to have to fire him and pay all the fees. The three decide to then find reasons to blackmail their boss Colton Ellis (Yisrael Dubov).

“The Process” was a fun light movie to be a part of. It barely felt like we were working. It was a thrill to play Lindsey. It’s so good to feel like we can let loose of everything that holds us back in life and just do exactly what we want, and that’s what Lindsey does in the end. I related a lot to Julia Roberts role in “Eat Pray Love.” When you hit that point in your life that you have to rediscover yourself, when you see yourself living a routine that was never what you planned or even though it was, you discover that money and stability don’t necessarily fulfill you in the way that you need. It was a most delightful role to play.

You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?

It varies but sometimes it’s a director I’ve always wanted to work with like Mark Michaels and Giulio Poidomani, or the role is a challenge for me, it can be something so different than what I normally play that I am always dying to try, but one way or another the story has to move me in some way. I have to either relate to the role or the story and if it has a deeper message to the world or is a subject that we all have to start talking about, I’m all in straight away.

Do you feel that you get cast to play a certain type of character more than others?

I do. I feel like I am emotionally open for deep and dramatic characters and I tend to always be a part of those projects and I always end up getting the more serious, responsible roles. I’ve always wanted to play a comic book villain or some sort of superhero, I feel like it would be perfect for me.

Out of all your productions both in the theatre and on screen, what has been your favorite project, or projects, so far and why?

Oh wow, that’s a hard one. I have to say I have an undeniable passion for theatre. I loved all the plays I was in. The thrill of not being able to mess up your lines or a mark, cut and do it again, having the audience right there, being able to play with the audience and the amazing connection you always end up having with those people that you are rehearsing with 24/7 for God know’s how long is such an amazing feeling that even though I love doing films and I know I can achieve a wider audience with those, plays are always going to be my number one passion. On that note, that are 2 plays I did back in Brazil that were certainly some of the best moments. One is called “The Exception and The Rule” by the german playwright Bertolt Brecht and the other one is “Rosita Letters and Poems”  by Federico Garcia Lorca. They were both extremely acclaimed at the time… Our group just worked so so hard on both of them, we became a big close family. We would rehearse all day long at times, we had so many struggles during the process that we didn’t think that we were going to be able to present them in the end. Both stories are absolutely beautiful. “Rosita Letters and Poems” is such a delicate story about a teenage girl and “The Exception and The Rule” is one of my favorites because the role I played was so different from me. I played a tour guide in the desert, had to eat with my hands, was dirty all the time. During this last one we were also a very small group, it was only 4 of us so if was definitely a great great time.

What has been your most challenging role?

My most challenging role I think I’ll have to say was when I played Sarah in “Disruption.” I had never played a mom and that was one of my first bigger roles in the US. That was actually an amazing experience because Giulio, the director, wrote the script and the role for me, so it was an honor to be a part of the project. It was the first time I was dealing with a kid and had to work with him, I’ve learnt that I’m not that good at it hahah. Also I had a lot of experience with roles that are emotionally deep and Sarah was more of a stay at home mom dealing with an unbalanced husband. I never knew that holding back was actually going to be a bit of a struggle for me but Giulio guided me and helped me out in understanding how to approach it. It’s funny, we understand that “being pushed” is only for something somewhat extreme, but that role for me was completely out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot from it.  

What is your favorite genre to work in as an actor?

It’s a lot “ lighter” to do comedy, even though it’s super hard, but I have to say that my favorite is drama. I just connect with the stories straight away and I feel like I can give the weight necessary. I am very emotional and I feel like my emotions are very deep so I am able to give the depth needed for more dramatic roles.

ACTOR VISHAL ARORA IS ALWAYS UP FOR A CREATIVE CHALLENGE

Actor Vishal Arora’s career is a fascinating study in multi-culturally informed artistic disciplines. An accomplished stage, film and television player, his professional background as a full time Bollywood actor and subsequent training in Los Angeles at the famed Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute provide him a world class foundation of technique and experience. Arora’s broad international palette of skill and training also includes youthful participation in the rich Indian tradition of street plays, a sort of guerilla theater, performed in public, which often examine pointedly topical themes.

Ambitious, enthusiastic and always upbeat, Arora, now based in Los Angeles, spent his life working to reach this point.  “From childhood I have been very active on stage and in street plays,” Arora said. “It’s a form of theater all about society, an activity that creates an awareness among people about ongoing problems—things that, with the help of street plays, we can change.”

“I love to live different lives, and acting is the best way to do that,” he said. “And, doing television, I get the chance to play a different character every week, it’s like having another person’s experience, an entirely new life span, one different from your own.”

The handsome young actor’s resume includes appearances in the Fox Star Studio’s hit feature “Neerja,” a tense thriller centered on an airline hijacking, parts in numerous television crime, comedy and soap opera series, short films and pop music videos. Arora’s soul deep passion and drive him allows him to not just seek out, but spontaneously discover unexpected roles. This was exactly the case with Kis Din Mera Vyah Howega, a popular Indian TV comedy series.

“I went in to give an audition for a particular role on the show,” Arora said. “But, on the spot, the casting director gave me another script, I wasn’t expecting this, because I’d been called for a different character but, of course, I read for them. After a few days I got the call saying that I have been finalized for this particular role, so I accepted the challenge of playing Gay character.”

The Indian LGBTQ community routinely faces significant opposition; homosexuality is largely considered taboo and is illegal, but Arora, with his grounding in topical street plays, didn’t hesitate to take this opportunity.

“I have to do my work and make sure I put 100% of my efforts while on set” Arora said. “So, I spent some time with one of my gay friends, to observe how, as a person, he was different from straight guys. I just see things internally and then apply that to myself—‘if I were gay, what would my feelings and reactions will be?’ That’s how I did my homework for this role.”

“This particular character is the one who really brings comedy to the show,” Arora said. “I was doing a scene with a guy in drag, who I turned into a girl with makeup, saying  Now, if you  stay at my place, people will talk!’ Because in Asian countries, without a marriage, guys just don’t stay with girls, and so, having a gay character saying that was really a different, funny twist.”

“Working on the show was a really fun experience,” Arora said. “I took the challenge, learned new things, l and made some good friends while we were working together. This was a good character for me and it did very well in towns all over India, people liked the comedy and my character.”

Kis Din Mera Vyah Howega represented another upshift for the talented, restless Arora. It was a significant achievement that underscores his natural ability to inhabit any role with a truthful. instinctive skill, and this natural talent has steadily heightened his professional profile. A success in Bollywood, Arora’s now poised to storm Hollywood with his same measured combination of hard work and priceless intuition.

“The part was a challenge in the beginning, but then I let it go, and got over that pressure,” Arora said. “And I was very natural with it. These challenges are one of the factors which led me to pursue acting in the first place, and when you have the whole country watching you, when you are a part of big successful project, it provides a  good platform to make a name for yourself and your family.”

 

BRIDGING THE GAP: CALEB CHERNYSH

gap-1

Childhood, for most of us, is a wonderful time when we are provided for and loved unconditionally; we have the feeling that anything is possible. This is the spring from which the ideas that make up fairytales flows. The world seems to be such a welcoming and magical place that almost anything is possible…even the magically impossible. Adulthood is quite a different place. The real-world practicality and day to day of surviving and providing is the experience of most adults. Still, children often give the adults the motivation and joy to accept a sense of selflessness. There is a space between these two worlds and this is the inspiration for Mark Pedlow’s film The Gap. This film is comprised of three different tales about the curveballs life can sometimes throw us which begins to pull our life experience from this comforting fairytale world into the realities (and dangers) of the real world. The Gap has a lofty goal in its attempt to link the world we aspire to with the one we are forced to accept. The unique approach of The Gap is what first interested actor Caleb Chernysh to the film. Chernysh has played a heroin addict (in Mule), a serial killer (Fractured), even a  father of twin sons…one whom “sees” his dead brother everywhere (James in Sea Change), but never before has he been a young father.

As a student of the Actor’s Centre (the same Australian school which has produced actors such as Hugh Jackman), Caleb continually searches out varied and challenging roles by which to challenge himself and increase his palette of experience. Chernysh recalls how he came to the film, “Mark Pedlow, creator and director of The Gap, was holding auditions for John, the father in one of the three stories contained in The Gap. I was attracted by the script, as I’ve never played a young father and it would involve fight training. When I got the script, I fell in love with it and begged Mark to let me audition. I wasn’t aware of this fact but Mark already knew that he wanted me for the part. I’m thankful that he was aware of my work and abilities but he didn’t want me to know that. He wanted me to audition, not to see if I would be good enough, but to confirm that I seriously wanted to do whatever it took to get the role of John. After the audition, I was thrilled when he said I would be John in The Gap.” Pedlow states, “I had a lot of applicants, but Caleb’s resume stood out the most. I decided to meet him and asked him what he thought of John. When Caleb described his version of John, it felt like he brought more layers to the character then I even thought of.gap-5

Getting the part may have been the easiest facet of his involvement as Caleb had to venture into a completely unknown area for him, fight training. Chernysh was excited to train but admits that it had its uncomfortable moments. He notes, “The Gap was the first movie which I was in that had fight choreography. I was so excited! There were nights where we had to train leading up to production and I would come home bruised and sore…but with a smile on my face. When it came to the shoot, we added some more fight sequences. I still remember getting an uppercut from one of the thugs and I literally picked myself up and threw my body backwards onto a box. It must have been impressive, because I remember people gasping when I crashed into the box. When I got up, people were saying ‘Geez, you’ll do anything for your performance!’ It looked like the uppercut was real and had a powerful force behind it.”

gap-4

That uppercut comes courtesy of one of the attempted kidnappers of John’s daughter. In one of the tensest parts of the film, Caleb’s character John (one of the lead character’s in this film) has gone to a café with his young daughter and, while she wanders downstairs, two men attempt to kidnap her. This particular scene which so clearly states the film’s theme of the difference between the fantasy life’s abrupt collision with reality, was highly motivating to Caleb. Though not a father himself, Chernysh believes that in each man resides the protective fatherly instinct towards his children. It was that character trait that he unearthed for John commenting, “I’ve never played a young father before. So I really needed to put myself into the role and imagine that I have created this beautiful life and have raised it for 8 years. This beautiful life is the most treasured being in my world and I would not let anyone or anything harm it. That was my mindset in the performance, which also helped the fight scene.”

Caleb Chernysh is currently working on a webseries in which he plays Boris Djerkich, a man who want to be the next Eurovision star. One character is Bosnian born Boris Djerkich who has moved to Australia and wants to be the next Eurovision star. Caleb also plays Cameron Tomes, a flamboyant ex-dancer who goes to a job interview and it bombs! Caleb is working on extending his series with more characters.You can subscribe and view on YouTube.

THIS ACTRESS IS OUT FOR BLOOD

Here’s a statement you won’t often read; this woman is really happy about becoming a vampire. Well…okay, actress Ana Roza Cimperman is quite happy about her role in Nympho’s Diary and all of the attention and praise the film is receiving. The title may be slightly misleading about this bad girl turned into a completely different type of bad girl, but the film has many unexpected turns; such as leading the audience into rooting for a cold blooded killer. Filmmakers and fans alike are always searching for a new twist or angle in the tried and true vampire formula; Savvas Christou has successfully achieved it in Nympho’s Diary. This film is a modern day yarn which introduces us to Amy and the pitfalls of romance, promiscuity, and the Nosferatu lineage. Many of the recent tales of vampires and their social interaction with humanity border on the ridiculous; often using excessive gore to make an impact. Nympho’s Diary takes a personal view of a vampire’s victim, addressing the mental and physical partition between mankind and the walking undead. The result is a film much more about how the transformation from human into vampire affects someone at the core of their being, in multiple ways. Cimperman’s performance in the lead role of Amy requires a level of physical movements and contortions that escalate throughout the course of the film, partnered with the emotionally agonizing process her psyche undergoes.

13995428_10157292208795416_7420048776891475710_o

Nympho’s Diary has already accomplished a major achievement. Within less than three months of being released, the film has been accepted into 6 festivals including; the Roma Cinema DOC, Hellfire Film Festival, Arctic Monthly LIVE, Cyprus Comic Con Film Fest, Los Angeles CineFest, and the Fright Night Film fest. The good reactions of industry insiders who have viewed the film has led to a great deal of excitement surrounding Nympho’s Diary. Ana Roza Cimperman is particularly pleased as Nympho’s Diary is only her third US film and her very first filming experience in Los Angeles. It seems like a quick ascension for this Slovenian actress who only recently made up her mind to roll the dice and take the gamble on a career in Hollywood. Ana states, “I have been thinking about it for years but could never make that final decision because there were just so many things involved, including leaving behind people I care deeply about. Just before my birthday, I realized it was now or never and within two months I managed to sort out everything including finding a place in Hollywood, renting out my apartment in Ljubljana and getting the paperwork to transport my dog whom I just couldn’t leave behind.” Her entry into Nympho’s Diary was anything but normal for Hollywood films as she recalls, “I was invited to audition for the role. It was an audition with no dialogue but with very specific instructions so I was immediately intrigued. I had to prepare a one-minute performance of the character of Amy waking up and realizing she has a bite on her neck and then slowly starting to turn into a vampire-like monster.” Nympho Diary’s writer and director Savvas Christou was immediately taken with Cimperman’s interpretation and quick implementation of his specific directions. He confirms, “Not only is Ana a talented, inspiring, and passionate actress but she is one of the easiest to work with…even when situations are less than ideal. We had an overnight shoot in the cold and it was raining. Rather than complaining, she delivered the same high level performance with the attitude an approach of a consummate professional, which is exactly what she is. Any director would hope for such an actress in the lead role.”

Nympho’s Diary is the story of Amy wakes up in the middle of a parking lot with a strange mark on her back. She can’t remember what happened the previous night. She soon starts feeling sick. Her body starts changing and within minutes she is transformed into a vampire. Amy is not in control of her body and some unknown force compels her to go to her boyfriend’s house where she attacks and kills him. For the remainder of the night she walks around aimlessly. While eating her next victim, the memory comes back of the tall stranger that she brought home the night before and she suddenly remembers that it is he who made her into the creature she has become. Ana found Amy to be very intriguing and multidimensional rather than simplistic. The arc of this character allowed Ana to investigate and emote a discovery into an individual’s motivations and social interaction through Amy’s journey. Cimperman concludes, “Amy is a nymphomaniac who picks up men in bars and takes them home even though she is in a committed relationship. She is selfish and reckless. She keeps a diary of her conquests which later turns into a diary of her victims. She’s a very sexual person who enjoys being admired and wanted. Her transformation strips her of this and we see her as the lost, scared girl she really is. I wanted to show different layers of her personality and what is underneath it all – the basic human need to survive. I liked how free she was in pursuing her desires and her independence but she sometimes treats people like objects, simply there to satisfy her needs. Portraying Amy as vapid would be too simplistic; she is much more interesting if the audience finds a way to care about her. This film reminded me how we shouldn’t judge people but instead, try to think what it would take for us to end up in their place. That is what I took away from Amy and I feel it is also what the viewer can take away from it. In the beginning Amy is the antagonist but by the end of the movie we are all rooting for her.”

13173029_913812275405361_7239476031238026884_o

Even though Nympho’s Diary is a horror movie which focuses on character development, this genre always involves experiences during filming which actors don’t get anywhere else. Ana Roza lauds praise upon the crew and cast members she worked closely with (Kartik Garimella, Kevin Gordon – Dave the vampire who turns Amy), but tells of a uniquely horror movie experience with Onur Tekin who played Josh/Amy’s boyfriend. Cimperman reveals, “Onur is the Turkish actor who plays my boyfriend, whom I unintentionally end up killing and eating. He was very professional and patient as the scene where I am eating his face (in the form of jello and hard boiled eggs) took more than an hour to shoot because we could not get the perspective right as it had to look like I was leaning over him and tearing out his brains…not a common set experience for either of us.” Ana Roza Cimperman’s portrayal in Nympho’s Diary is far from common place as well. This Slovenian actress can also be seen in Eight and a Half Circles, Jefferson, Perception of Art, as well as numerous TV productions.

 

 

 

Making a Dream a Reality: Venezuelan Actor Pedro Flores!

Pedro Flores
Actor Pedro Flores (left) and Laverne Cox from “Orange is the New Black” at the 2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, CA (photo by: Inez Veronica Chavez)

His entire life, Pedro Flores dreamed of becoming an actor. But growing up in the small town of El Tigre, an eight hour drive from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, meant achieving that goal required him to defy the odds. With endless dedication, commitment, and a talent that out shined the competition, Flores has reached his dream. He’s become an inimitable figure in the industry, a go-to actor capable of assuming any role in any genre.

In addition to his extensive work in films like “Match” and television series like “What’s The Norm?,” Flores has also been featured in a number of successful commercial advertisements.  Among these were a commercial for Universal Studios’ “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” as well as an ad for Volkswagen’s Jetta and Beetle models earlier this year.

 

Pedro Flores
Pedro Flores on the far left in a poster for the new Harry Potter campaign

 

Flores recently wrapped filming on the first episode of the upcoming series “What’s The Norm?,” a hip new comedy which breaks down stereotypes about race and relationships. The series stars Kerry Rhodes as Norm, Nicky Whelan (“Hall Pass,” “The Wedding Ringer”) as his wife Chloe, and Flores as Pelo, a suave dancing coach with a record of seducing his clients.

“Norm is a baseball player, a legend now in the final stage of his career and about to retire. Chloe is an actress whose career is finally taking off. I play Pelo, Chloe’s dancing coach, and we’re competing in a dancing competition on TV,” Flores explained. “Pelo is the sexy, Latino dancing instructor who makes a move on Chloe — but he pretty much makes a move on all the girls he dances with.”

Though “What’s The Norm?” is a comedy at its core, it smartly examines the profound number of issues facing couples, particularly couples of different races. Pelo’s failure to woo Chloe is just one of his character’s hilarious moments, and it serves to show viewers just how strong Chloe and Norm’s love for one another is.

Flores starred as the Boyfriend who is at his wits’ end in the 2016 film “Match,” a film that revolves around the vapid and materialistic mindset that makes dating apps so popular. In the film, Flores is driven to madness when his girlfriend won’t stop staring at her phone while the two are on a date. Set to debut at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival in September, “Match” is a scathing critique of so-called smartphone addiction and mobile dating apps.

“It’s an excellent film because it shows how technology, specifically cell phones, are affecting our interactions and relationships with other people,” Flores said. “My character is annoyed at his girlfriend, who’s taking selfies while they are in the restaurant and giving all of her attention to the phone and how many likes she’s getting. So he just gets upset and leaves the restaurant.”

Last year, Flores also starred as Truce in the TV comedy “Jay Rocco.” “Jay Rocco” follows titular character and famous fashion designer Jay Rocco, who’s changing his entire collection based on the advice of a stranger he caught breaking into his house. Rocco sends his secretary Sibilla out to the Malibu Hills, where she finds herself stranded after a drunken night of partying. That’s how Sibilla and viewers meet Truce, a man whose wanderlust led him to give up his old life and explore the globe on a spiritual journey.

“Truce left his home in Venezuela, his family and his perfect job and just went out traveling the world in order to create his own path and discover the mystery of life,” Flores said, describing the nuances of Truce. “He likes the feeling of freedom and he loves to meet new people. He knows that he’ll always learn something from someone, no matter who they are.”

In a way, Truce has a great deal in common with Pedro Flores. Before he left Venezuela, Flores had attained a degree in engineering and could have easily settled for an easy life with a good job. But much like Truce, that life was not for Flores. Years of dedication and unquantifiable talent have allowed him to not only pursue his dreams, but to make them a reality.

 

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD & ALEX MACPHERSON FEELS FINE

IMG_3375

Who likes the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse? Nobody, right? Well, except for Alex MacPherson. Maybe it’s because he is such a fan of the genre. Maybe it’s because he feels as if he has already lived through it with his role in Dead Rush. The film was released earlier this year and was an Official Selection of the Canada Film Fest. Unless you have been hibernating or living off the grid for the past several years, you know that zombies are ubiquitous in film and television. Walking Dead and movies like 28 Days Later ignited a zombie fire that has seen TV and movies about them set records. One thing is for sure, people love seeing zombies and MacPherson is no exception. Whereas most zombie scenarios show a group paradigm, Dead Rush takes an extremely personal perspective by following one man as he loses everything. It’s this individual’s struggle in a world that is crumbling around him that implies the modern concern for our planet and how society is causing it to fall into a state of disrepair; one from which it can never fully recover…or maybe it is just good old’ fashion Hollywood scare tactics.

Dead Rush is simply the zombie version of the “riches to rags” story for one man. Early in the film the main character’s wife dies as they attempt to escape the chaos that follows the apocalypse, soon all those around him are dying and becoming zombies. We follow the journey of the main character and his attempt to find refuge with survivors. MacPherson is literally the first person we see in the film. Sadly for him, he is killed trying to escape and is impaled by a pole; his death resulting in his rebirth as a zombie. Even the long periods required to be in the makeup chair couldn’t dull Alex’s enthusiasm as he recalls, “It sounds a little crazy to say that you love a car crash scene but I didn’t have any of the negativity of an actual crash or the repercussions that follow so it was a lot of fun. The Art Department had beaten the hell out of this old van. They shoved a pole through the windshield, hooked up smoke machines, it was pure Hollywood magic! The Makeup artists were incredible so when I saw the zombie it really was terrifying. He looked so real!”

Zac Ramelan directed (along with writing and producing credits for) the film. Ramelan (known for his work on feature films like Late Night Double Feature, Zombieworld, and others) often works with cinematographer Karl Janisse. Witnessing the professional relationship between the two, Alex comments, “Working with director Zac Ramelan, and Director of Photography Karl Janisse, was the best part of this project for me. The two were like peanut butter and jam, working so well together. I remember sitting back and watching with admiration as they broke down a scene. Zac, who also wrote the film, had such a clear vision of everything, and of course, that always help as an actor, when you have strong direction.” It would be quite difficult for anyone to understand what motivates a zombie (other than eating brains, of course) but MacPherson confirms that working with Ramelan made it easy, noting, “When you have a director with a vision as strong as Zac’s, not much research is required. As for putting my mind fully into the film’s character, it really wasn’t hard with how detailed the set was, which was just done so well. It truly felt like I was in a post-apocalyptic world.” The film’s cinematographer Karl Janisse praises MacPherson’s abilities and contributions that helped achieve such a positive public response declaring, “It was an immense pleasure to work with Alex on Dead Rush. He is so creative. Working in this genre you need the story to be fresh but you also need the actors to bring something new to a role, something that entices the viewer; Alex does that. He is a wonderful actor. I’m scheduled to work with him soon on a project for Mimic Entertainment and I am really looking forward to it.”

It would seem that the misfortune which befalls the cast on screen is not without a real life counterpart, although in a much more benevolent sense. When the cast walked the red carpet at the film’s premier (at the Canada Film Festival) they were caught in a torrential downpour…in Canada…in winter! This occurrence (soundtrack provided by fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette’s tempting of fate) still did not dampen the cast’s spirits. According to MacPherson it has more to do with Canadian’s love of film that anything. He states, “Studios like to pick up horror films because they sell! Much of the feel of a horror film can be created with lighting, color correction and music. I don’t think Canada in particular has any specific things that make the horror genre so prevalent but there is just so much filming here! Toronto and Vancouver are film capitols, and the amount of filming there is actually increasing!”

IMG_3371

Never content to settle, Alex has several projects in the works. He recently wrote and starred in Palmer’s Pumpkins. He wrote the film specifically as an ode to the 80’s horror films that he grew up loving, although it is more fun and fantasy based than horror. When Earth Sleeps is a trilogy set in a post apocalyptic world (a theme Alex is familiar with) in which the main character Aydin searches for solace. While maintaining a heavy workload of filming in his homeland of Canada, MacPherson hears the sirens beckoning from Hollywood. He reveals, “As much as I love Canada, and Toronto specifically, Los Angeles has been calling to me for a while. There’s something about the Hollywood dream that calls to all actors. I visited LA a few times over the last few years, originally thinking that I wouldn’t love the city, but would have to learn to at least accept it; the funny thing is, after my first visit I absolutely fell in love with it. That and every fiber of my being was screaming out that I had to get there. To this day I have a strong intuitive notion that my next chapter in film will occur in LA. Whether Toronto has a ton of projects shooting or not, there is still something about LA that Canada doesn’t have, when it comes to the entertainment world. As an actor and screenwriter, Los Angeles’s appeal is paramount. I’m also really lucky to have become close with a number of LA-based directors and producers. I am super excited to have a bunch of projects lined up already. It is one thing to want to get to LA as an actor, but it’s another thing altogether to have LA film people want to work with you. It’s like something out of a dream. What a life!”