Hailing from Milan, Italy, actress Gaia Passaler has proven her unique gift for embodying strong and dynamic female characters on both the stage and screen through a plethora of highly watched productions. From her riveting performances in plays such as “MARILYN!” and “Inversion” to the award-winning Bashford brother’s films “2 Minutes to Live,” “Unspoken” and “Memoirs,” Passaler has left an indelible mark in the minds of viewers.
When asked about what drives her to perform, Passaler explained, “[It’s] the unique feeling of happiness, liberation and power that being on stage or in front of the camera gives me. And the feeling I had the first time I saw in a friend’s eyes that he had been somehow touched by what I had done on stage. Experiencing what it means to be human by putting myself into someone else’s shoes is an act of sublime compassion, that to me is the true meaning of existence.”
Earlier this year Passaler gave a dazzling performance in the modern play “Inversion,” which premiered at the Sacred Fools Theatre Company in June as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Performing to sold-out audiences each night, Passaler took to the stage in the starring role of Natalia, a beautiful and confident Russian girl, and the love interest of the main protagonist Adam, who is played by Aditya Putcha.
Written and directed by Aditya Putcha, “Inversion” centers on Adam, an awkward mathematician who can’t seem to find the love he so desperately desires. With advice from his friend Brendan, played by Adam Daniel (“Inside Room 334,” “Murder Book,” “Betrayed”), the kind of guy who is always surrounded by women, Adam decides to lower his standards and take a chance on dating Rhonda, played by Shayna Spielman (“GodComplx”) an older woman with low self-esteem. But when Adam encounters Passaler’s character Natalia, Rhonda’s roommate, he becomes hopelessly enthralled by her, which causes understandable turmoil between the two women.
“I think [Natalia] expresses a very common kind of frustration in the difficult world of modern dating. That’s definitely my favorite part of the play,” explains Passaler. “I brought in all my negative dating experiences, they became alive again in my memory for a moment every time I was on stage fighting with Rhonda and gave me that anger and the stakes necessary that made the scene come alive, together with the desire to shake my friend from her lethargy and the desire to defend myself from the accusations.”
While Passaler has proven her inimitable talent on stage through a wide range of productions, her skill on screen has been equally as important to her overall success as an actress. Last year Passaler played a critical role in Jinh Yi Shao’s (“Lee’s Market,” “Intervention”) film “Toenail” where she acts alongside Kevin Ashworth from the Golden Globe Award nominated series “Scandal” and Dante Swain, who is known for his roles on the series “NCIS” and the two-time Golden Globe nominated series “Silicon Valley.” The film, which took home the Third Place Award from the HBO Visionaries Competition and is currently available through HBO GO and HBO NOW, gave Passaler the opportunity to prove her dramatic skill on screen where her magnetic presence came across with ease.
The actress admits, “I love characters with a lot of contradictions because they are the most interesting and the most challenging ones. And I love great, epic stories. Picking one role over another will always be based to me on how much of a complex journey the character had in the past and is going to have in the story, and how much of the human condition I am able to portray to the audience through that role.”
With an impressive repertoire of work already under her belt, it’s not at all surprising that actress Gaia Passaler has been tapped to star in several upcoming film and television productions. Up next for Passaler is the film “Cocktails & Brothers,” award-winning director Catherine C. Pirotta’s (“Dreamkiller”) thriller film “The Mystery of Casa Matusita” with Golden Globe Award nominee Malcolm McDowell (“Fantasy Island”), as well as the series “Emergency L.A.” and “Mysteries of the Unexplained.”