There are many talented actresses out there, who are hoping to one day make it big in Hollywood. It's a hard life for a young actress (or a young actor, for that matter), but still there are plenty who break through and earn their own place in the spotlights. One actress who seems to be on the verge of her big breakthrough is Canadian Talia Russo, an actress/model/dancer who is slowly working her way towards the bigger roles. She has already been in Hollywood hits like Mean Girls and 16 Blocks, can soon be seen in Breach and Clive Owen starrer Shoot Em Up, and is, as we speak, readying herself to shoot a new movie in Mexico. She reveals all about what it's like to work towards reaching your dream.
Talia knew she wanted to become an actress at the age of six, when she started entertaining her friends and family by putting on her own plays. "I really think it was the whole fantasy aspect that I was drawn to at that young of an age," she says. "Watching movies like Mary Poppins and Supergirl really made me fall in love with wanting to be them, and I wanted that same feeling the characters were giving me." And this feeling didn't go away when she grew up either. "As I grew up, I still felt like I could bring characters to life and make other people believe and live the fantasy watching me in movies."
Judging from the number of friends Talia has on her MySpace page, a lot of people are believing in her. To reach her goals, Talia started doing drama studies already while still in high school, with dancing taking the upper hand on the weekends. Strutting her stuff on Canadian television's popular Electric Circus, a program featuring performances by many famous artists, and in Go-Go Clubs, Talia was discovered by a local photographer, who featured her as a so-called Sunshine Girl in the Toronto Sun. More modelling followed, and Talia even joined a Spice Girls Tribute Band, dancing and singing to packed theaters all over Canada's Ontario region. But then, acting beckoned, and Talia feels that the dancing and modelling helped her out with finding her feet in her new profession.
"Dancing and modelling definitely helps in acting, Acting is a lot about self confidence and movement, I never trained to dance or model it just comes naturally."
Did she feel that her experience in dancing and modelling made it easier for her to act?
"I can't really compare the dancing to acting because it's a different feeling. I love them both though!."
Talia made her first screen minutes in Canadian horror movie Massacre Up North, an experience she is sure she won't forget that easily. "Doing a horror film is so much fun! I wasn't scared filming the scenes, I laughed the whole time, it's that whole weird, surreal world doing it." And the getting killed part? "Getting killed isn't something I have experience with so it's definitly hard to bring out, lol! Looking back on the film though, I take it as a learning experience, I have no regrets."
Doing her first movie, Talia caught the acting bug in a big way, and she started studying acting seriously. And in turn, the studying only made her more passionate. "Taking classes definitely made my passion for acting come out stronger! And it gave me more confidence and knowledge about the industry. Acting is a skill that always needs excersise." Since then, she has never looked back, and with the support of her family, Talia started racking up small parts in many different movies. "My family supports me all the way. I was brought up to do what I wanted and if I really believed in something, that I should never give up."
On to bigger things
After small roles in straight to video drama Blind Eyes and TV show The Eleventh Hour, a bigger movie crossed Talia's path: popular Lindsay Lohan-starrer Mean Girls. "Being in Mean Girls at the time, you never know if a movie will hit it big, so the feeling that people will love it or hate it is not on my mind at all. My role in Mean Girls was just a one day shoot, I played the girl kissing on the bed of Lindsay Lohan's parents, and then Lindsay kicks me out, lol!" More TV-work, in both The Jane Show and sketch comedy show Royal Canadian Air Farce, followed, after which Talia got her chance in another big movie: 16 Blocks. "I got to shoot a scene with Bruce Willis in the bakery. I freak out when they run into the store with guns drawn." If you want to see her in this scene though, you will have to go out and buy the DVD of the movie to catch Talia's scene. "It's in the deleated scenes! Oh well..."
And even though her role in upcoming Clive Owen-movie Shoot em Up is again, sadly, a brief one, Talia relished being able to work with Owen. "I love his films! I play a stripper at a brothel house, I was in my bra and g-string dancing as Clive walks past me, and I was nervous. We had a blast on the set that day. To play a joke on Clive , the director stood in my place and pulled his pants off, stood in his underwear and surprised Clive as he walked through the door on one of the takes!" And it seems like playing the smaller roles are definitely paying off, as upcoming movie Bull will feature Talia in a bigger role. "Bull was amazing to shoot. I play Maury Chaykin's girlfriend, we shot that last summer in 35 degree heat. Luckily my scene was to suntan by a pool! Every film I do I keep on getting better and bigger roles. I think it's only natural that it progresses like this, for me anyhow. I'm very determined and I never give up if I want something." Does she see Bull as something of a breakthrough role? "I don't really know. Thats not for me to decide. The film I'm about to shoot now in Mexico, called The Dead Sleep Easy, may be the breakthrough, it's pretty juicy!" Anything you can tell us about that? "It's a Canadian film with actors from Hollywood and upcoming actors from Canada. It's a gangster action film and I play Bunny, a drug addict girlfriend to one of the mobsters. They hope to take this film to the Toronto International Film Festival."
And after that? Who knows, but at least it's sure that Talia is on her way to bigger things. And when asked about her influences, Talia comes up with an interesting answer. "The actor I admire the most is Jack Nicholson! I think he's fearless in his choice of roles and I would love to be more like him!" And Nicholson is not the only person Talia admires. "I also love Carmen Electra, she started as just a pinup girl and she now is starring in major films! I think it's hard when you're judged on your looks as being too hot to play character roles. She's doing a great job!" With Talia's looks being at least as hot as Carmen Electra's, let's hope she will also be able to move on to character roles in the future as well.
In closing, Talia has some advice for young, aspiring actors who also hope to one day make it to the movies. "The only advice I can give is to just make sure you really want to act, because it takes a long time to make it! And you need a lot of money to invest in yourself, to promote and get people to believe in your talents! But the number one piece of advice is to never give up. It sounds so cliche, but it's true!"