SHARI SOLANIS - "Angela"
A Philadelphia native, Shari's first love was singing. She began performing at age 12 in an all girl doo-wop harmony group. She discovered acting as young teen while attending the High School for Creative and Performing Arts where she excelled at musical theatre.
Shari found the performing arts to be a constructive outlet in her struggle to be a part of something definitive and positive: Shari was an only child from a mixed background. She grew up with her Russian/Hungarian mother and stepfather in an all white Jewish neighborhood, and had a second family with her Morrocan/Mexican father who is a Vietnam Veteran. The worlds were very different and Shari often didn't know where she fit into it all.
After graduating from high school, she moved to the Big Apple to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Working with the New York Theatre Workshop, Shari played "Alissa Cruz" in a musical called "Mister" with Anthony Rapp. She continued to work the theater circuit, and did small parts in TV/film, and eventually found that singing independently was a more viable creative outlet...less conformity.
She relocated to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of acting and singing once more. Like most struggling actresses, she worked as a waitress, with a stint at the iconic Swingers restaurant. After experiencing Hollywood casting director's propensity for stereotyping, Shari was relieved to find an intelligent role that celebrated ethnic diversity.
Q & A with Shari Solanis:
Tell us about your character - who is she, what drives her?
She is a free spirit, who has met true suffering, poverty, hardship, and pain in life and whom chooses to deal with it in positive ways. She is driven by a deep need to help the world around her. On account the suffering she has seen, she has learned what is truly valuable and precious...the beauty and splendor in life. Therefore she strives to live every moment to the fullest. On account of the lies and oppression she sees...she is driven by truth, and freedom. In a world of solitude and loss...she treasures people and unity. In a world of pain and hate....she treasures pleasure and love.
What do you think peoples' reaction will be to the explicit sex?
I'm sure we'll get extremes of opinion. It will not be black and white. I'm sure we'll confront hard-core puritans, as well as the broadest and most open artistic perspectives....and everything in between. I feel confident that it was done tastefully and believe in the statement that Philippe makes with the film: the hypocrisy in American culture. We'll watch people getting blown up, chopped up, blood squirting out, death, fire, torture, destruction....but God forbid we watch a beautiful natural sexual act...or even see the human body!
How did you prepare for the intimate scenes with co-lead?
"We talked about it openly. We shared our thoughts and feelings about it. We created a mutual trust and respect. That's the only way. Even if there were frustrating times, we knew that there were good intentions, because we got on the same page early on. We built a foundation of trust. We kept it professional."
JAMES WORTHAM – "Bill"
James Wortham has been acting since 2004, when he decided to add a creative alter ego to his medical career. He tries to achieve a balance between his two passions--medicine and the performing arts, recognizing that although the combination is a challenge, they need not be mutually exclusive. He has appeared in several independent films, including "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Tucson Comedy Horror Show," and also is a host and a medical expert for numerous television programs. In his spare time, James is an avid photographer and world traveler, having visited over thirty countries, and is always eager to take on his next adventure.
Q & A with James Wortham:
What did you think the first time you read the screenplay?
"I was impressed that someone would want to attempt a film so bold. I had to really ask myself if I was ready to be a part of such an ambitious endeavor. After reading the screenplay again I could begin to see how compelling the underlying message was, and that is what convinced me to say "yes."
What made you decide to take on the challenge of doing this provocative of a film?
The idea that American society is so obsessed with violence, so eager to glorify it, and yet cannot openly discuss or appreciate something as natural as human sexuality or the naked body without labeling it as pornographic, fascinated me. As a doctor who has rotated through emergency and surgical fields, I have witnessed the effects of violence first hand. I also encounter the human body, and discuss human sexuality on a daily basis. I think this dichotomy primed me to want to be a part of something that would force people to examine both their values and their taboos. I also knew it would be a rewarding experience to get to live through my character Bill's transformation--from dark, apathetic isolation to this incredible rebirth of optimism and all of the shades in between. It was really his character arc and the relationship that he develops with Angela that made me most excited about the film.
Did you have any hesitations about the sex?
"Of course! It is not every day that someone asks you to get that intimate with a stranger, and then let even more strangers see it. I think the two things that kept me most guarded at first were concerns about the ramifications it could have on my career, and what my parents would think when they saw it. I also had to feel ready to justify the film to any of my patients that might see it one day. In the end it came down to truly believing in what the film was about, and remembering that we all have bodies, we all have sex, and we should not be so ashamed of it."
MARCELLINA WALKER – "Sally"
Marcellina Walker has a strong commitment to independent film, and has worked with a range of filmmakers in the category including Diaz and Henry Jaglom. Educated at Mills College and the Actors Conservatory Theatre, Marcellina seeks out roles that challenge her knowledge and understanding of human nature. A recent performance was juried at the Aspen Comdey Film Festival. She is currently working to adapt a short story to film.
My approach to playing Sally needed to be open-ended, yet precise. The director asked if I would be willing to create the character without reading the script. Always curious about process and experimentation, I agreed. I was given a handful of details about Sally and my dialogue. The few pages I was given of the script clearly defined where I needed to be emotionally. As it is with most good writing, I found all I needed in those few pages.
LUIS FERNANDEZ GIL –"Luis"
Luis trained in NYFA and started his professional acting career on stage in New York with the Broadway terms production of "Don Quixote of La Mancha". After touring and performing on stages around 48 states of the US he decided to make LA his new home in April 2003. Film credits consist of over 30 movies including WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION, THE YEAR BOOK, and ASIAN STORIES (BOOK 3).
TV credits include Series Regular in Bo' Selecta (Channel 4 UK 2006) and English for Success (KLSC 2006) and regular guest appearances in Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC).
Luis is currently rehearsing for the September 2006 new production of Don Carlo by Los Angeles Opera and will be seen in a recurring role on a popular MTV show.
ADRIAN QUINONEZ –"Diego"
Adrian is originally from Texas and has performed in theatre, television and feature films. He is also a talented dancer with skills in Ballroom, Club/Freestyle, Swing, Hip Hop, Salsa, Modern, and Disco.
His television credits include 'CSI: NY' 'Women's Murder Club,' 'Days of Our Lives," The Bold and the Beautiful," and 'Life on Top.' He is represented by Trusik Talent Management.