TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is always excited to present Hollywood personalities to all our readers. One such personality is actress Marianne Mills who will be an inspiration to all the Students of the Arts who follow our magazine to inspire their own careers. Marianne has been good enough to describe her journey into stardom as an example for them all.
Marianne, your first experience in acting took place during a high school theater when you were just a teenager. How exhilarating was this for you and how did it build your confidence for your future career ?
MM- Hi, First I would like to thank you for asking me to describe my journey into stardom, however I would say that I really am an aspiring star. I do believe however, if as an actor if you work very hard, you believe in yourself and if you are able to notice an opportunity when it comes your way, that you are well on your way to stardom. I have always liked to perform, even as a young child. I was always the one that had to put on plays in my backyard, or dance for the video camera when my parents filmed home movies. When I got to high school in New Orleans, I decided to join the drama club. Through that I was able to meet other actors, people that had a lot in common with me. I worked on a couple of plays in high school, on stage and behind the scenes. It was a very exhilarating experience and I just knew that it was what I wanted to do. I also got involved in many beauty pageants in my teen years. Through that I was able to meet great people that helped to guide me along the way into how to achieve my dreams. It was also a great experience as it was on a stage in front of hundreds of people, helping me to gain self confidence during my teen years, a time when people’s self confidence or lack of it can change on a daily basis. I feel that when a teenager gets involved in something that they enjoy doing, that it really can help them to stay out of trouble and gain self confidence.
MM- When I graduated high school, I enrolled in college in Louisiana and majored in theatre. I learned a lot, was in a couple of stage performances including Dracula, however after a couple of years I knew that I had learned all that I could there and that I needed to seek learning from another source or another city such as New York. I had a boyfriend in college at that time that was originally from Connecticut, he was also a theatre major. We both decided leave college and pack our bags and head east to Connecticut.
TAEM- After two years in college you moved back East to enhance your work. Please tell us about this aspect of your life.
MM- When I got to Connecticut, I met this amazing person named Dan. He was older and wiser and my boyfriend and I became great friends with Dan. He knew many photographers in the modeling business in New York City. I really wanted to do acting, but everyone, including Dan was trying to convince me that I should be doing modeling. I headed from Connecticut to New York city a couple of times a month trying to pursue modeling and acting. I did get a little bit of modeling work, but it really wasn’t going in the direction that I had wanted it to. I took an acting class that lasted a month in New York city, which I enjoyed very much. However, I was very young and finances ran out. Also the boyfriend at the time that I loved very much, was a very talented artist. He had worked on prosthetic makeup for plays and film and was already getting much publicity on his great work. I felt at that time that I really needed to leave, to go back to New Orleans, not only because of finances, but because I did not want to feel that I was holding my boyfriend back from doing the great things that I knew that he was going to do in his career. I am very grateful though for my Connecticut/New York experience as it helped me to become the person that I am today.
MM-Actually, after spending a 18 months in New Orleans, I knew I had to leave if I w anted to do what I knew I was meant to do. I took an interest in the film industry and just knew that I had to go to Los Angeles to pursue my dream. However, it didn’t come without obstacles. I left Louisiana and I had to make a stop for several years in Denver and also in Las Vegas to work more (I was a cocktail server) and save more money if I was going to be able to make it in Los Angeles, where it is expensive to live. I didn’t want what happened to me in New York to repeat, so I did take my time in getting to Los Angeles.
TAEM- Tell us about your initial studies when you arrived there and the first film break that you received.
MM-Actually most of my studies took place before I got there in Colorado and Las Vegas. I really liked doing acting workshops in Colorado at Front Range acting studio. Great teachers that allowed us to grow as actors. My first film break was called 10 Bullets. It had a really amazing cast, especially Lauren Von Engein who played the main role. She was actually nominated at the Action on Film, film festival as Best actress for that film. The film also had a second nomination at that festival. I had a supporting role where I played a character that was very out of my real character of who I am. That made it a challenge, but everyone told me that I did a great job, so I was very pleased with my work. It helped me to grow as an actress and to learn. I really feel that actors learn way more from actually doing a film. I would advise all aspiring actors to keep studying , to always be doing your craft. You really need to try to get into as many projects as possible, student films, indies, whatever you can. The more you do, the better you get and the more comfortable you get. I also feel that even though there are many techniques that teachers teach to you, it is only a base. I feel that the best actors that I have seen, actually do not try to build a character, however they look at who the character is, what the intention is, and they look inside of themselves and really play their own self as the character.
MM- ’10 Bullets’ was a thriller. The storyline was about a woman and children who were kidnapped. The kidnapper insisted that she had to kill 10 people in order to get her children back safely. She could barely do it, but had to in order to get her children returned to her. Through doing it, she started to discover that she enjoyed killing. It was a film that truly kept you on edge while watching it.
TAEM- That same year you appeared in the film ‘Next’ and the following year appeared in ‘Passing Buck’ . Please describe these productions for our readership and the inspiration for them.
MM- I was featured in ‘Next’, I really enjoyed being on set with Nicolas Cage who is one of the great actors. I learned a lot by watching Nicolas , how he did things, how he performed. It was a great experience for me. Passing Buck was an indie film that was about a bounty hunter and what he had to do to get the person that he was seeking. It was a great experience also.
MM-Left Behind is another film that stars Nicolas Cage. I was also featured in this one. The film is about the rapture, and some people vanish to go straight to Heaven while others are left behind to stay on earth through a horrible time that happens after the Rapture. My scene is when the innocent children vanish at a mall and we, that are left behind, are in shock, not knowing what just happened. It is only a month away, I will be going to see it on opening night at the theatre.
TAEM- Your newest project, ‘Absolutely- A – List’, has been designed for a TV series. Please tell us the theme behind it and the genre that it is in.
MM-This project, which is a web TV-series, is great and I have a leading role in it. It will be a dark comedy about life in Hollywood, behind the scenes, and what an actor will do to make it to the top. It has a great cast, and it will be different than anything that you have seen as it is not afraid to push limits and go over the edge. I really look forward to it when this project is complete.
TAEM- Please tell us about the character that you play in it.
MM-I play the character Lisa Penrose. She is a very powerful Hollywood producer that always gets her way because she is so powerful and relentless and no one wants to get on her bad side. However, she does have a soft side that will be shown in some of the episodes. Her character is a lot of fun to play. However, that much power can always have a high price.
TAEM- Who are your fellow actors for this production and tell us about the Director and Producer for it.
MM-I have only shot episode 1 so far, so I will only talk about the actors in Episode 1. My co-stars are actors Yuriy Turchyn and Craig Zucchero. Yuriy Turchyn is a very good actor, a natural. He was born in the Ukraine and he said that he did theatre there from the age of 6 until he moved to New York in the United States as a child. He also studied martial arts since he was a child, and now has a black belt. I am sure that helps him a lot in acting, as you need to be athletic and flexible for many roles. In New York he continued his acting in high school, and then he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream 2 years ago. He got a degree at The New York Film Academy, which I have to say they must have great training there because all of us found Yuriy to be an amazing actor. He makes great acting choices, he is natural, has good timing and I actually learned a lot from watching him. He is very good at bringing the other actor in his scene into the moment. We all feel that Yuriy is going to go very far in his acting career and we all wish him the best!
Craig Zucchero is already well known among the acting industry and actors in Los Angeles and in New York. He has been acting a long time, he started in New York with some great training, and he has been in shows such as The Sopranos, Law and Order, and Nickelodeon. He worked with Clint Eastwood in the film J. Edgar and many, many more that would be too many to name here. He is a very natural talent, and I feel that he can do anything, drama and comedy , however I feel that I really like him best in Comedy. He had many of us laughing during the filming of episode 1, he is naturally funny and has great comedic timing. He knows a lot about all aspects of this industry and he is also the producer, director and writer for this project. He is also an amazing piano player! I have really learned a lot by watching Craig and listening to Craig’s advice and I am grateful for it.
TAEM- Your career has also proven very versatile and we understand that you were the writer for this project. Tell our readers about your venue in it.
MM-Craig Zucchero is the actual writer, however he liked my ideas and gave me an opportunity to write three episodes to help him. I am grateful for that and I loved doing it. I just know that when people see Absolutely A List that it is going to be very popular! I am getting ready for that because there is a chance that it could really change our lives. Thank you so much for interviewing me, and I hope that my words can help other aspiring actors. Just never give up on your dream, because in this business, you never know what can happen, and that’s what makes it so exciting!
TAEM- Marianne, you are a talented and beautiful woman and I am sure that our readers will enjoy learning about you and your work. We want to wish you much luck in your career, and all your future endeavors, and hope that you keep us informed in all that you plan to do.