Category Archives: Actress

From “Swearnet: The Movie” to “The Man in the Shadows,” Sarah Jurgens is an Actress We Love to Watch

 Sarah Jurges
Actress Sarah Jurgens in “The Man in the Shadows” taken by Andrew Cymek

For all the fans that feel a bit sad every time an episode of the hit show Trailer Park Boys ends after only 30 minutes, the release of Swearnet: The Movie probably came as quite a delight. Distributed by E1 Films Canada, Netflix and Dada Films, the 2014 release of the film Swearnet: The Movie pulled together the stars of Trailer Park Boys, with the added bonus of Tom Green, Carrot Top and Sarah Jurgens, for 112 minutes of crude laugh out loud comedy.

When CNT denies the next season of their show due to offensive language, Mike Smith, Rob Wells, John Paul Tremblay and Patrick Roach decide to form their own television network known as Swearnet, a haven for all those anti-censorship swear-a-holics, who just can’t seem to curb their tongue.

It seems the boys are back on top, as long as Wells can keep the new network a secret from his psycho girlfriend Julie, played by Jurgens, who brings the perfect dichotomy of anxiety and comedy to the film. The epitome of that crazy, overbearing girlfriend we’ve all known at one time or another, Julie makes Wells’ life a living hell throughout the film.

“I anchored her destructive behavior in deep insecurity and an insatiable desire for attention and drama. It was such a blast to be able to run wild with her,” recalls Sarah Jurgens.

Most viewers will recognize Jurgens from her more dramatic roles on the television shows Covert Affairs, Lost Girl, Republic of Doyle and Beauty and the Beast, but we get to see a totally different side of her in this film.

About working on Swearnet: The Movie, Jurgens says, “The director, Warren P. Sonoda, created a working environment that was fast-paced and creatively freeing. We were often encouraged to stretch the boundaries of the characters behavior, and the improv really kept me on my toes.”

Viewers will have the chance to see Jurgens in a starkly different role than Julie in the psychological drama film The Man in the Shadows, where she plays the role of Rachel Darwin. The film revolves around Jurgens’ character, a newlywed photographer who is haunted by a mysterious man in the shadows who continually appears wearing a brimmed hat.

Based on hundreds of accounts from people around the world who have had similar experiences with this mysterious presence, The Man in the Shadows premiered recently at the Dances with Films Festival in Los Angeles and is slated to screen again at the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival on September 22.

“‘The Man In The Shadows’ gave me the permission to explore the experience of being haunted, hunted and stalked,” explains Jurgens. “I was given the opportunity to live in a state of mental unraveling. I enjoyed the challenge of playing a character who was wrestling with truth and illusion, experiencing the slippage of her own sanity.”

The film was also chosen as an Official Selection of the 2015 SCARE-A-CON Film Festival where Jurgens is nominated for a Best Actress Award, and the film is nominated for a Best Feature Award.

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From Syfy’s “Lost Girl” to the miniseries “Gangland Undercover,” Actress Jessica Huras

Jessica Huras
Actress Jessica Huras shot by David Leyes

The vast array of roles played by Canadian heartthrob Jessica Huras speaks to her incredible ability to not only blend into any character, but to stand out among star-studded casts. She has become an inimitable asset to countless productions, and with more new projects lining up each day, she is certain to be a household name among audiences the world over.

In the award-winning SyFy channel original series Lost Girl, Huras’ recurring performance as a mischievous receptionist proved so impressive that she earned a role as the acting double for Anna Silk, who plays the main character of Bo in the series. Huras, as Silk’s double, took on the role of a supernatural being who fights against her insidious roots to try to become a champion for righteousness.

Her exceptional charm and talent caught the attention of the makers of the Lifetime Network’s original series Missing, on which Huras gave a stirring performance that helped to launch her career. The show follows a detective, played by MTV and BET award-winning actress Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill Volumes I & II, Independence Day, Batman & Robin), as she searches for missing persons in Washington D.C. Huras plays a missing teen, and worked directly alongside Fox during the shoot. Huras’ character was a transgender youth, a potentially controversial challenge, which she took on with a sense of pride and personal conviction.

“This role was a ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ type of role, and I prepared intensely for the job,” said Huras, a consummate professional and equal rights advocate. “It’s an important issue and I wanted to find an honest portrayal of the struggles transgender youth face.”

Recently, Huras played the role of Natalie, the wife of a man tasked with infiltrating a criminal motorcycle club in the 2015 hit History Channel miniseries Gangland Undercover. Her husband Charles, played by Damon Runyan (On the Other Hand, Death; Cheaper by the Dozen 2), is a hardened member of the notorious Vagos biker gang. Charles, is caught by the police and made to choose between hard time in prison or turning on his former comrades and becoming an informant.

“Natalie was a wholesome young woman who got dragged into the lifestyle of her meth-operating husband,” said Huras. “Over the course of the series we see how her choice to marry Falco and get into drugs ruined her life.”

Of his time working alongside her and portraying her husband, Runyan said Huras was critical to the plotline of Gangland Undercover.

“My amazing onscreen wife, Jessica Huras, is at the heart of [the story arc],” Runyan said of their work together on the miniseries. “Tune into her fine work on Gangland Undercover.”

Huras has several exciting upcoming new projects for audiences to eagerly anticipate, including Teeth, an independent film which deals with the male-centric state of the entertainment industry in New York. A heavy-hitting examination of a perennially relevant and critical topic, Huras said she felt right at home playing the lead character.

“I felt I could heighten my current experience into a kind of surreal, somewhat psychologically broken down version of myself,” she said, “and that was fun and scary at the same time.”

Teeth is currently in post-production and will be released on the festival circuit this year, where her role will no doubt leave a lasting impact on audiences once again.

Actor Spotlight: Dynamic Australian Actress Alli McLaren!

Alli McLaren
                                               Actress Alli McLaren shot by Jen Allison

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, actress Alli McLaren’s impressive acting performances in a variety of genres, both on stage and screen, are demonstrative of her vast range and skill.

With acting in her blood, as both her mother and grandmother are acting coaches; McLaren began honing her craft at an early age. Although facing many setbacks throughout childhood, McLaren has developed her acting talents by channeling these challenges to further her understanding of characters and their emotions.

Although McLaren states that “drama is her favorite genre,” and while the majority of her performances elicit strong emotions from viewers she is much more then an outstanding dramatic actress.

McLaren proves her genre flexibility in the action packed comedy film Writer’s Block, where she plays the starring role of Sophie. With a light and boisterous comedic undertone, Writer’s Block is packed full of exciting scenes and fast paced choreographed action. As the star of the film, McLaren inhabits the role with perfect comedic timing and impressive action skills.

A stark contrast from the majority of her past performances, McLaren found herself engaging in combat and using weapons throughout the film, which was a new experience for the young actress, but something she found extremely exhilarating.

“I always love to change up what I do to challenge myself both creatively and artistically, thus it also makes it more fun for me” says McLaren.

Due to the immense popularity of the film, which was produced by White Night Films, a sequel is currently in the works.

Return of Greta, which was written and directed by Boardwalk Empire star Victor Verhaeghe also showcases McLaren’s comedic chops as a beauty contestant who must overcome the often silly and surreal drama of pageant life. The film Return of Greta is a tremendously poignant and satirical look at a real life institution.

Under the direction of Emmy Award winning actress Blanche Baker, McLaren delivers a stirring dramatic performance with a strong core as Gretchen in the film Infidelity.

In the film, which is a brilliant 21st century re-imaging of the French script La Despute, McLaren plays a scientist attempting to discover the cause of infidelity in couples; and it is up to her to tie together all the dramatic threads of love and loss between the couples she researches. McLaren’s performance in the film is as thought provoking as it is powerful.

“For me, its very easy to find a connection to a character and then go and watch people in real life who are like that character, to build a foundation from,” admits McLaren.

With the rare ability to listen to both a persons words, and body language, McLaren has the skills to bring real, heartfelt emotion to any character she plays.

My Year Of Silence, a film written by and starring McLaren, is proof of this. As the character of Callie, McLaren craftily weaves an emotional journey based on her own life experience, a performance that is highly anticipated.

The open minded and always hungry for something new approach to acting that Alli McLaren brings to the table is as refreshing as it is skillful.

“I feel like working with so many different people and in so many different genres makes me a better actress,” says McLaren.

Breathtaking Spanish Actress, Maria Luna

Maria Luna
Maria Luna shot by Brandin Photography

One of Spain’s most sought after exports, Maria Luna is a dynamic and multifaceted actress who brings complexity and diversity to her every role.

Active in theatre since a young age, Maria Luna was chosen to participate in a number of international drama programs, advancing her education on and understanding of her craft. With a dream of helping to create a global artistic collaboration through acting, Luna’s humanitarian nature is the driving force behind her strong performances.

Starring as Lucy in the film Dada, which wrapped production earlier this year, Luna tackles the very real and concerning plight of human trafficking. Set in Kenya, Luna’s character of Lucy finds herself thrown into a dangerous world she does not understand. The experience forces her to embark on a journey where she transitions from naivety and fear to empowerment, compassion, and freedom. To further the authenticity of the role, Luna prepared by living in Kenya, doing volunteer work, and educating herself on the subject through the real life stories of others.

In the 2014 film Romanian Fairy Tale Luna played the film’s integral role of Sara, a women who wishes to leave her life behind and start anew. Sara finds a kindred spirit in Timo, a young boy on the run from an abusive father. Luna’s character guides Timo through the labors of growing up amidst abuse, and emotional neglect. Sara develops through the film’s progression into both a friend and a mother to young Timo, saving the boy in mind, body, and spirit.

Maria Luna appreciates all genres of film, from the dramatic, to the comedic, or in the case of the 2015 film No Solicitors, the dark world of horror. In Emmy nominated director John Callas’s disturbing and unique tale of a simple solicitor at the door spiraling into a terrifying situation, Luna’s character Martha stands out. Luna plays a woman whose family must come first, at any cost. The terminal illness of her young son forces Luna’s character to push beyond past social acceptability, while still remaining very human. Luna brought this amazing character to life in a seamless manner that exposed her emotional range as an actress layer by layer.

Whether playing a struggling mother, a woman on the run, or a Pentagon Special Agent in 2015’s The Sheriffs, Maria Luna proves she can create a real character of depth in any role. As Mariana in veteran sci-fi director Neil Jordan’s Starship: Rising and Dawn of Destruction, Luna plays the catalyst in an intergalactic struggle for survival. The role as the sister to the film’s hero Lt. John Worthy, places Luna at the heart of the dazzling science fiction series, even having her play a robot version of herself as part of the twisted enemies’ plans.

Summing up her perspective perfectly: “I love everything about acting, doing the research, getting into character, and finding how I can relate to the situation, expressing in a way which I can connect to the rest of the world,” said Maria Luna.

Luna’s greatest desires in her acting career are to bring people together, form new collaborations, and affect change through her roles as seen by audiences across the world.

Providing exemplary performances in a variety of genres, and with such realism and heart, actress Maria Luna is undoubtedly one of the most talented Spanish actresses working in Hollywood today.

Canadian Actress Lisa Jai Stars in the Upcoming Film “Runaway Dream”

Lisa Jai as Birdie in "What of the Night?" at the Vagrancy in Los Angeles
   Lisa Jai as Birdie in “What of the Night?” at the Vagrancy in Los Angeles

Audiences across the world know the work of internationally acclaimed actress Lisa Jai. With an impressive career that has spanned more than two decades, viewers old and young have had a lot of opportunities to see Jai’s diverse talents on the screen in everything from the hit television shows Barbar, Rupert and The Magic School Bus, to the films Balance of Power, Creed and Lost Angels.

Jai recently finished filming Runaway Dream, a film about two Hollywood transplants who get a whole lot more than they bargained for when they make the move to tinsel town with stars in their eyes.

Directed by award-winning cinematographer Daniel Abreu, Runaway Dream stars Jai in the role of Linn, and Vivian Ahn (Sisters, Inside Carly, Trail Mix, Lost Angels, Henry Danger) as Jess.

Jai says, “It is a story of the length’s people could go to when in need of more money than they are earning and what happens to someone when they have lost sight of their dream.”

A sad tale with an unpredictable twist, Runaway Dream follows Jai’s character Linn, a down and out aspiring actress who works as a maid to make ends meet. When things don’t pan out as Linn hoped, desperation leads her to hatch a plan to rob the home of an ex-boss who she believes is out of town—a move that leaves her in circumstances that are far more dire than those she faced before.

The film is currently in post-production and is scheduled for release later this year. Originally from Sweden, director Daniel Abreu received the Best Cinematographer Award for his film James & Quinn from the Sherry Theater’s 120Hour film fest, a prestigious festival run by Scott Haze (Star of Child of God directed by James Franco) and Jim Parrick (True Blood).

“Lisa is a dream to work with, she’s captivating onscreen – a gifted talent,” says Abreu. “She’s improved me as a filmmaker, truly.”

It is not surprising that Abreu says Jai’s contributions to the film improved him as a filmmaker considering the actress’s longstanding position in the industry as both a performer and a producer.

When she first rose to fame as an actress she was barely 4-years-old– an age where it is difficult for a person to be unequivocally dedicated to one thing. For the following decade Jai continued to land starring roles in a long list of international television shows and blockbuster films, as well as innumerable commercials for brands including Hasbro, Ocean Spray, Hallmark cards, Charmin, Ivory soap, Tang, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds and more.

While many children dream of becoming stars on the screen, the spotlight wasn’t always an easy thing to handle.

Jai recalls, “I was being teased at school and bullied for being on television. I was accused of being a show off and also keeping up with schoolwork caused a lot of tension with teachers.”

Despite the difficulties, the foundation Jai laid for herself as a performer in the entertainment industry in her early childhood definitely helped make her the incredible actress she is today.

“I worked a lot for the Canadian Broadcast Company. I was a guest regular on the children show Mr. Dressup where I had to sing and worked alongside puppeteers,” explains Jai. “We would tape live so that truly taught me how to think on my feet as an actress; plus having dialogue with puppets and making that ‘relationship’ believable to the audience only bettered my craft — like, there I was, staring into a pair of man made paper-mache eyes having a conversation: can you imagine?”

Naturally, as Jai transitioned into adulthood, it took a few years for her to affirm her individuality as a person outside of the spotlight, and really discover what it was that she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

She says “Even after trying to quit and go to University so I could get a ‘real job,’ I missed acting so much, even at its roughest points… That’s how I know it’s my true passion and chosen profession. I love it too much.”

After returning to show biz a few years later, Jai realized that her love for performing extended beyond the film and television industry alone. She was immediately recognized for talents on stage going on to land starring role after starring role.

When it comes to acting in comedies in the theater, Jai says, “I love hearing peoples laughter; there’s a joy in bringing smiles to the faces of others.”

She adds, “On stage you’re not limited by being out of frame if you move too much…. as long as the true feeling is there, you can justify every move – use up the whole stage.”

Last year she gave a riveting performance in the leading roles of Birdie and Wang in the Pulitzer-Prize Nominated play “What of the Night?” written by Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes. The play, which was staged at the Vagrancy Theatre in Los Angeles and directed by Caitlin Hart, was just another opportunity for Jai to showcase her unparalleled talents on stage. The production was so well received that it garnered a prestigious Ovation Recommendation from LA Stage Alliance in 2014.

In addition to “What of the Night?,” the actress has also led several other productions to success with her unforgettable performances as Fiona in “99 Ways to F*ck a Swan,” Masha in Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” at the Irene Gilbert Theater, Ruth in Timothy McNeil’s “Dead Pussy,” Mrs. Banks in Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park,” Titus in “Titus Andronicus,” Kate Keller in “All My Sons” and many more.

Out of all of the characters she has played on the stage, Jai notes her role as Isela Sanchez from Lynn Manning’s play “The Unrequited: A Tale Between Two Worlds,” which was directed by Shishir Kurup and staged at the Cornerstone Theater in 2011, as her favorite to date.

The production followed Jai’s character Isela, a young woman living in a wheelchair due to Polio during the 40’s in LA, as she prepares to marry a man she doesn’t love; and the mysterious events that arise to keep her from betraying the soul of the man to whom her heart is truly devoted.

Today Jai has established a a glowing reputation for her ability to touch audiences emotionally through her portrayal of characters across genres on both the screen and stage; and with several upcoming projects in the works, and the release of Runaway Dream slated for later this year, there is literally no stopping her.

Canada’s IT Girl, Model Shiva Negar!

Shiva Negar
                             Model and actress Shiva Negar shot by Cameron Rab

If you haven’t yet heard of Shiva Negar by name, you’ve surely seen her face. Perhaps it was on a commercial, or a billboard or in a magazine ad. While you might not be able to place a finger on it, upon seeing her again you may think to yourself, “I’ve seen her before.”

Such is the fleeting nature of the advertising industry, attaching beautiful faces to commonplace commodities. As a model, Shiva Negar has lent her image to many of these brands and products. While the products she represents may be disregarded, however, a beauty as distinct as Shiva’s is seldom forgotten.

It is for this reason that Qatar Airways selected Shiva as their hallmark model in 2012, and for this reason that she has been the face of the company ever since. Advertisements with Shiva representing the company have been distributed worldwide.

As demonstrated by Qatar Airways, when a company is able to convince Shiva to be their model, they don’t want to let her go. The same was true for the Listerine brand, which used Shiva’s face for two years on a billboard campaign for their pocket packs.

Shiva was also selected as a Stoli model for Stolichnaya Vodka, and in addition to print modeling for the brand, she modeled at most of the events Stolichnaya hosted in Canada. Through her long-term relationship with this company, Shiva again has confirmed that her desirability only increases with time.

Shiva has presented many products and brands as a model at live events as well. Some of the most notable of these include shows for Porsche & Fiat automobiles, the Grand Prix, WIND Mobile, Carls Jr., and Nespresso by Nestle.

Additional brands that have featured Shiva in their international magazine advertisements include Apple Computers and Walmart. Shiva has also been featured in print ads for Top Choice Magazine, Dream Body Fitness, and Deca Professional Cosmetics to name a select few.

To complement her tremendous body of work in print, Shiva has also developed an extensive amount of experience in commercial acting. Some of the international commercials in which she has appeared include campaigns for: Doritos, Corona, Itel Pasta, Molson Beer, Zantac, and Cosmo TV a branch of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

While simultaneously working for internationally recognized major brands, Shiva also has the perfect look to fit more artistic and character driven projects. In 2013 she was featured on the cover of the novel “Breath of Iron: a Novel of the Clockwork Agents,” a steampunk/fantasy novel written by Kate Cross and published by Penguin.

Building a bridge between modeling and acting, Shiva Negar was cast alongside Kelly Clarkson in the music video for her smash hit, Behind These Hazel Eyes. The song and music video both went on to win awards on MTV, Much Music, and the Teen Choice Awards. She has also had principal roles in music videos for bands such as Our Lady Peace and Young Empires.

Extending beyond her experience acting in music videos, Shiva has appeared on a variety of television shows and films. In 2011, she was cast as a guest star in the leading role of Lucia on the Disney Channel’s My Babysitter’s a Vampire. The show was a huge success garnering the 2012 Shaw Rocket Prize for Best Program and a Writer’s Guild of Canada Award, as well as a Gemini Award nomination and many others.

Negar has also had single-episode appearances on Combat Hospital, Alphas, Murdoch Mysteries, Covert Affairs, and Hemlock Grove, and a recurring role on Super Channel’s TV show 24 Hour Rental. She has also had many prominent roles in film, most notably, as a leading actress in the feature film Lost Journey.

When considering her comprehensive body of work in film, television, and modeling, Shiva cannot fail to impress even the most skeptical of audiences. As she continues to accept leading roles and top-tier modeling contracts, the world will only become more familiar with her face and name as time goes on.