Posts filed under Celebrities

Happy 40th Birthday, Heath Ledger!

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger

April 4, 2019 would have been actor Heath Ledger’s 40th birthday. His tragic death left a huge scar on the film industry, and many were left wondering just how career would have progressed had things been different. Ledger was just becoming recognized for his talents in a significant way: his performance as 'The Joker in The Dark Night was all the buzz in Hollywood in the months leading up to his death, and the Aussie heartthrob even earned a posthumous Oscar as Best Supporting Actor that year.

But while we may never know what could have been, we can still take a look back on a few most memorable films that earned him such a place in all our hearts and celebrate the man who went from teen idol to a major source of inspo for many actors.

10 Things I Hate About You

Oh, Patrick Verona. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern take on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Ledger’s first real breakout role. His bad boy charm won over hearts everywhere, and tweens and teens taped-up poster inserts from Seventeen magazine all over their rooms just to catch a glimpse of that perfect smile whenever they wanted.

The Patriot

Ledger plays a defiant son who just wants to fight in the American War of Independence. He and his father, played by Mel Gibson, eventually team up as rebels in this epic film that had entire audiences sobbing in their seats. It was the first time Ledger had showed us what he could do when cast in a more serious role.

Lords of Dogtown

In Lords of Dogtown, Ledger plays Skip Engblom, a mentor to a group of young and rebellious Santa Monica skater bros. After his death, a journalist wrote of Ledger’s performance:  “He’s almost eerie in how precisely he nailed not only the mannerisms, cadence and physical presence of Skip, but also how he raises Skip’s spirit.”

The Dark Knight

2008 brought us the highly-anticipated blockbuster The Dark Knight, a film for which truly no one was prepared. Ledger went above and beyond preparing for that role, blurring the lines between himself and the character of the Joker a little too closely perhaps. Whatever he did, it worked, and earned him an Oscar even after he’d left us.

It speaks to the type of actor he was— the type of person, father, and human being we grew to know — that we still rave about him to this day, eleven years later. It seemed he made an impact on everyone he worked with, and I think we can all be in agreement that had he never passed away, we’d still be watching him on the big screen and applauding when he won awards.

So once again, Happy Birthday, Heath Ledger. We were lucky as heck to have you in our lives as long as we did.

So, You Wanna Be A Member Of SAG?

A SAG award.

A SAG award.

Becoming a member of SAG is a major goal for many professional film actors - outside of winning a fancy award and crying onstage about how much everyone really likes you, of course. Potential bragging rights aside, the benefits of being a member are pretty crucial: health and pension, workshops, endless resources, and, of course, SAG Awards voting privileges, among many other valuable perks.

Whether you're actively seeking membership or you’re just curious as to what it all looks like (and costs), here’s what you should know about the process:

To be a member of SAG, you must qualify to be a member of SAG.

So, no, you can’t just be an actor with a checkbook and a dream. Don’t get me wrong — those are lovely things to have. But in order to make the cut, you’ll have to provide proof you’ve completed at least three days of work as a background actor under a SAG-AFTRA agreement or have been an active member of another union, such as ACTRA, for minimum one year.

What does said proof look like? Glad you asked, my friend. Proof can come in the form of pay stubs or proof of employment printed out from the payroll company responsible for whatever project(s) you worked on that states your name, social security number, the name of the production company, the title of the production, the salary paid in dollar amount, and the specific date(s) worked. Mail it all to the address listed on their site, and wait for them to say you’re good to go.

And don’t you dare stretch the truth, Lie-sa Minnelli

It’s going to be tempting to do whatever you can to into SAG so you can go after all those parts you want right away. But you might want to read this little bit of info on SAG’s site before making any bold moves: “While it is your responsibility to ascertain the validity of your qualifying employment, the Union will be the sole arbiter in determining whether the employer was legitimate or bogus, and whether the qualifying employment which you performed was actual production work ,or work created solely to enable you to gain Union membership. Please be aware that false representation or deception on your part will jeopardize your chances to join SAG-AFTRA.”

So, as with any audition, you must do your due diligence first. And if that doesn’t scare you off, great! This next part hopefully won’t, either…

Pay up or hush up

You can’t become a member of SAG without dropping some serious cash: a whopping $3K of your hard-earned dollars, to be exact. You’ll need to be able to cover the initiation fee plus the first semi-annual basic dues. These fees may be lower depending on what area you live in, and the annual base dues are $201.96, along with the work dues which are a percentage (1.575%) of what you earn.

Still confused? There’s an orientation for that.


There’s a lot of info to digest, from the benefits to the tools and the fees and beyond. SAG is aware of how confusing the process can be, and that’s why they hold optional orientations so new members can have all their questions answered and their concerns addressed. It’s never a bad idea to research what you’re getting into before dropping a ton of cash on a commitment, and that same bit of advice will serve you prior to your wedding day or your first time buying a car, too! Good luck!

A Few Famous Actors’ Strange Early Roles

Ever been watching a random show and thought to yourself, “Wait, was that…?” Maybe you hit rewind, paused, and hopped onto IMDb for a quick scroll through a famous actor’s career highlights, and then saw it. Yep! That amazing actor you love was totally that weird unnamed cameo in the background of a show you used to watch with your mom when you stayed home sick from school, or that goofy sci-fi movie you’re not sure anybody ever paid to see in the first place. Well, everyone has to start somewhere! Some of those somewheres just happen to be pretty strange. Here are a few “Huh?”’s from some of today’s box office favorites!

Jennifer Lawrence - Monk - “Mr. Monk and the Big Game" (Season 5 Episode 3, 2006)

Jennifer Lawrence in  Monk .

Jennifer Lawrence in Monk.

Before embodying her fierce characters Mystique and Katniss, JLaw’s filmography was decidedly…fluffier. I’d be lion (wink wink) if I didn’t say I was surprised to see a young Jennifer pumping up the auditorium as a school mascot in this episode of Monk with Tony Shalhoub.

Quentin Tarantino - Golden Girls - “Sophia’s Wedding Part 1” (Season 4 Episode 6, 1988)

Quentin Tarantino in  Golden Girls.

Quentin Tarantino in Golden Girls.

None of Tarantino’s signature artistic gore or carefully curated soundtrack here - just everyone’s favorite senior ladies from the lanai enjoying matriarch Sophia Petrillo’s wedding and a very familiar-faced Elvis impersonator. Thank goodness this wedding turned out better than Tarantino’s other Bride’s!

Jason Segel - Can't Hardly Wait, 1998

Jason Segel in  Can’t Hardly Wait.

Jason Segel in Can’t Hardly Wait.

Ah, the 90s, where teen flicks ruled the theaters. Can’t Hardly Wait features several young attractive teenagers vying for their chance to have the ultimate high school graduation party. It also features Jason Segel as Watermelon Guy, where we’re treated to a short scene of the now-famous actor, well, eating watermelon.


Kristen Stewart - The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, 2000

Kristen Stewart in  The Flintstones in Viva Las Vegas.

Kristen Stewart in The Flintstones in Viva Las Vegas.

Your eyes will be brontosore (get it?) squinting to catch Kristin Stewart’s tiny cameo as “Ring Toss Girl” at a carnival game in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, but you’ll be glad once you yabba dabba did!


Patrick Dempsey - The Stuff, 1985

Patricky Dempsey in  The Stuff

Patricky Dempsey in The Stuff

If you’ve ever thought a movie about ice cream would make for a great horror plot, you might need to talk to your doctor about lactose intolerance. Nevertheless, this satirical dairy disaster gave the world a gift when it cast a young Patrick Dempsey as the delightfully-named “Underground Stuff Buyer #2.” Paging Doctor McCreamy!

So there you have it! Remember next time you’re gearing up for that audition as “Man in Post Office Line #4” or “Unnamed Janitor with Mop” you may just be on the brink of superstardom, too!

Posted on March 25, 2019 and filed under Celebrities.

6 Award-Winning Film Actors with Roots in Theatre

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While it is tough to fathom, many film actors in Hollywood have risen to fame with very-little-to-no-classical training. Others, however, put in a ton of time and effort into perfecting their craft prior to doing as much as submitting a self-tape for a feature film or television pilot. And it’s safe to say that the latter paid off, as these award-winning favorites spent some serious time studying various methods while rocking a pair of super fashionable character shoes. Read on to discover how these actors went from stage to screen.

1. Andrew Garfield

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Although he’s originally from the film mecca that is Los Angeles, this Amazing Spider-Man began his career performing far less risky stunts on the stage and even won the Evening Standard’s Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer in 2006.

2. Kristen Bell

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Bell landed roles in both The Crucible and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Broadway in the early 2000s, long before we ever knew how adorably hilarious she was on the silver screen. She later went on to win an Emmy for ‘Best Actress’ on TV for Veronica Mars.

3. Jon Hamm

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It’s tough to imagine this Mad Man singing his heart out while dancing around on stage, but long before he was Don Draper and earning award after award for that performance, he was giving it all onstage starring in musicals, such as Sondheim’s Assassins, while attending the University of Missouri.

4. Jane Krakowski

Jane-Krakowski.jpg

Any 30 Rock fan knows Krakowski can belt out any song at pretty much any given moment; after all, her pipes, along with insanely precise comedic timing, is what scored her a SAG award in 2009. But prior to us all falling in love with her as Jenna Maroney (or for us old folks, as ‘Elaine’ on Ally McBeal), Jane snagged a few Tony Award nominations, winning ‘Best Featured Actress in a Musical’ in 2003.

5. Chris Evans

ChrisEvans.jpg

Evans sure did win over his entire community starring in countless plays with the Concord Youth Theatre. Watching his sister enjoy stage time and looking for some extra attention led to his love of acting, and he now wins awards for being incredibly talented at pretending to save the world with the hunkiest men in Hollywood.

6. Paul Rudd






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Although he’s heavily rumored to be a vampire, Paul Rudd has somehow managed to withstand the hottest stage lights, starring in major Broadway plays, such as in Twelfth Night as ‘Orsino’. Rudd also starred as ‘Adam’ in Neil LaBute’s play, The Shape of Things, which got turned into a major Hollywood screenplay.

Interview with a Triple Threat: Jalen Harris

Photo courtesy of Jalen Harris’s Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Jalen Harris’s Facebook.

You’ve probably heard of the expression, “Like attracts like” - nowhere else is that more true than at Studio 27. We have a high-caliber roster of coaches and talent - Jalen Harris being one of those talents. He is truly a star on the rise, having worked in the Broadway national touring production of The Lion King playing Simba, is a singer and model, and has graced your TV sets in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and - spoiler alert - was a contestant on American Idol. Jalen sat down to chat with Studio 27 on his life in the spotlight - read on.

S27: Hi Jalen! Thank you for speaking with us today! Tell us about your career: how did you get started in the music and acting industries?

JH: First, it’s an honor to share with you some of my journey throughout my life as an entertainer. I grew up in a musically-inclined-and-church-involved family in Memphis, TN. I performed my first solo in church at age 4, where my grandfather was the pastor and founder. From that moment on, I knew in my spirit that being on a stage was where I felt safe but also purposed. Performing in many talent shows, town fairs, church plays, and sporting events as a kid, my parents helped cultivate my musical talents, which eventually led me to be a contestant on American Idol Season 10 at age 15. At age 17, I met an angel. Her name was Cheryl Harris. Upon meeting her, and working with her on a few projects, she later became my manager, introduced me to different agents in the business, and the rest is history. Since training and developing my acting skills with her, I’ve appeared in different TV and film projects, and most recently as Simba in Disney’s The Lion King Broadway tour.

S27: That’s phenomenal - you’re a busy guy! What has been your favorite acting role to date?

JH: Definitely playing Simba. Not only is The Lion King the greatest show in the world in every way imaginable, it also taught me that I was much more capable of doing things I never knew I could [be capable of]. It is my favorite, because I grew up always wanting to be a superhero. Simba is a role where the actor sings, dances, and performs stage combat and various stunt work. Thus, singing every night on stage and avenging my father “Mufasa” from my evil uncle “Scar” was the perfect combo!

S27: Okay, dish the deets - what was the most dramatic moment you had while performing with The Lion King on Broadway?

JH: The moment that changed me as a performer due to the intensity of live theater, was my first performance as Simba. I had only rehearsed for 2 weeks, and had been anticipating the next 2 weeks to complete my training for the role. So without a dress rehearsal, or experience doing the show as Simba yet, a stage manager told me after the opening number, “Jalen, you have to go on now. This is not a test”. So the team and crew rushed me to the basement, where I would have to be put into makeup and wardrobe, in time for “Hakuna Matata,” Simba’s first appearance. When I was ready to go to my cue, I waited in the wing, with the entire cast a crew cheering me on, swung out, and began singing, “It means no worriessss……” I’ll never forget that time. I felt so much love and support from my show family.

S27: Outside of The Lion King, what was your favorite performance to date?

JH: My favorite performance to date was singing the National Anthem for the NCAA Football Championship Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. With 60,000 fans watching, and my parents being somewhere in the crowd, I was so proud to open such an incredible event, televised for the nation.

S27: What are some of your biggest musical influences?

JH: Musically, some of my biggest influences include artists from about every genre! [laughs] But most notably, I am most influenced by the styles of Prince, Whitney [Houston], Brandy, and of course, Michael Jackson. But also artists like Chris Brown, Enrique Iglesias, Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce [are musical influences].

S27: Tell us about your new album - what inspired you to write it?

JH: I am so excited about my new album and collection of songs that will soon be available for everyone to enjoy! Honestly, my life experiences are the true source of depth in what inspires my writing. Whether it’s from memories in my childhood, experiences my siblings or friends have had, or even my own first-hand circumstances, I find that being genuine with my pen and being vulnerable in the music is the best way for me to connect to the listener.

S27: Plug time! Tell us what you have coming up next.

JH: Coming up next from Jalen: Music, music, and more music! I am honestly so grateful for my dream team of management, production, and agents. They work tirelessly everyday for me. You will be seeing me in other projects as well like feature films, television series, and maybe a magazine or two. But I am mostly excited to release my new music and performing live bi-coastally with my band!

We’re excited as well, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this superstar!

Interview with Sara Coates, Actress and Future House Name

Headshots by Leah Huebner. Z Nation shots by Daniel Schaefer. Photo of Reuben by Sara Coates.

Headshots by Leah Huebner. Z Nation shots by Daniel Schaefer. Photo of Reuben by Sara Coates.

Studio27 Talent: Hi Sara! Thank you for speaking with us today!

Sara Coates: Hello! I am so excited to chat with you! My pup Reuben is currently lounging on my legs. I may get a cramp.

S27: Reuben is a star in his own right, and it is an honor and a privilege for him to join us as well. First off, tell us how you became an actor, and how it’s led you to where you are today.

SC: For starters, I can’t imagine doing the same thing forever. As a child I wanted to be/do everything. Vet, lawyer, cop, lunch meat seller (that is real). It took me a long time to realize that I could be all of those things and more. I also have fallen in love with the hard things about being an actor. I love auditioning, I love the grind, I don’t hate the “No’s”. I am consistent, I take the hustle seriously, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

S27: I love that, and am tattooing it on my body. Next shameless question: what’s your favorite part about being low-key famous?

SC: [laughs] LIVING MY BEST LIFE! Honestly, the things that I am recognized for are so immersed in nerd culture, and they are the greatest fans ever. That’s what I grew up with. My older brother is a gamer, and it’s so cool to be in things he likes. Also, someone made me an action figure, and it shook me to the core.

S27: Love it - quick! Name your favorite director to work with, and tell us why!

SC: Rachel Goldenberg! Her background is with “Funny or Die” and she let’s me improvise the [crap] out of scenes. She directed a few of my ZNation eps, and I would follow her to the ends of the earth.

S27: What acting techniques, tools, or teachers/coaches help you get in the zone the best?

SC: [My advice would be to] take some sort of class. Anything to stay creative. UCB is wonderful, and I met so many people I could call tomorrow to help me with an audition. But classes can get spendy, so even just gathering friends and reading something out loud is helpful. I also make sure I am so off book for auditions. It lets me be free to change it up in the moment. I always hold my script, but I never look at it. I also don’t take myself too seriously. This can be the best job, and the weirdest job.

S27: Do actors need to move to LA to make it in the biz? What tactics can they take if they’re stuck in their hometowns?

SC: I don’t think you need to be in LA. But, there is SO MUCH WORK here. That doesn’t mean you can’t book things at home. I would get close to a “hub” if you can: Atlanta, NYC, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, etc..I’m sure there are more. It’s just important to not wait for things to happen to you. Make things happen.

S27: Tell us some hot celebrity goss. We’ll never tell.

SC: I once held hands with Idris Elba at the “Beasts of No Nation” premiere, and left my boyfriend out in the car for 45 min. I have no regrets, and I would do it again.

S27: Ha! Okay, now, tell us an on-set Z Nation secret that viewers may not know, that you’re not contractually obligated to KEEP a secret.

SC: I once was crying in a scene with Keith Allen “Murphy” and I was leaning over him and a booger came out of my nose and landed on his face. I think it’s on film somewhere. It’s my greatest acting moment.

S27: I hope he kept the booger. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Sara! Plug time - what can our readers see you in (or hear you in) next?

SC: I have some more video games on the horizon. I am in a horror movie called “The Parish” coming soon! I have the greatest dog in the world named Reuben Wrinkles. You can find us daily on my instagram @scoatesy ! Thank you so much. ACT my friends! ACT LIKE THE WIND!

Posted on January 15, 2019 and filed under Celebrities, Interviews.

Do You Need a Talent Manager?

Definitely not a talent manager - Jeremy Piven in  Entourage .

Definitely not a talent manager - Jeremy Piven in Entourage.

Hi, I’m Anna, and I have a talent manager. I am an actor, writer, and producer. I am not SAG. The scripts I get paid to write are internal corporate video scripts for Delta or spec scripts for UNIQLO and private clients. I have two agents as well - one in Los Angeles, one in Atlanta. If you’re a seasoned actor reading this, you probably think I’m nuts, and you probably wouldn’t be wrong! Read on to find out why I like (and dislike) having both (both is good), and read this Backstage.com article for a second opinion!

To Live and Act in LA

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I thought I needed all the representation that I could get. I had gotten a list of agent and manager names and email addresses from a friend in the industry who had already been living and acting in LA for quite a while, and I reached out to all of those names on that list. I had done one independent feature film as the female lead, and had a few other short films under my belt. But film-industry-wise, I hadn’t done a whole lot. I had a theatre background, which to reps in LA means I take acting seriously - but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m any good at acting for film. I think that out of the list of 20+ names, I got 3 - 4 meetings. And from those meetings, I got my management company.

Making It

When I signed with my manager, I truly felt like I had made it. But having a manager, especially one like mine who also submits you for roles on LA Casting and the other casting networks, is somewhat of a fine art. I’m Facebook friends with my manager, and I’ve taken coffee meetings with him a couple of times - but he’s a busy guy with a lengthy roster, and now that I live in Atlanta, he can’t really submit me for roles down here, unless they’re casting out of LA, and I work as a local hire in Atlanta. The A is out of his network. My management team takes 15 - 20% out of any job that I book through them - that adds up to a lot of moola! And then, if my agent jumps in to send a few emails and help me out with negotiations, I have to pay her ANOTHER 15 - 20%. All told, my paycheck could only end up being 60% of what it was originally quoted, especially if the project rate isn’t less agency fee, meaning that the studio would pay the agents separately.

So, you tell me - is having a manager worth it? I think signing on with a management company is an individual decision. I like my team, and I know they like me. I like having double the options for auditions - if my agent misses something, my management team may pick up on it. I don’t like having a smaller paycheck, but I primarily now work as a writer versus an actor, so the point is somewhat moot. But I’ll leave you with this: if you are not a celebrity, and there’s nothing to really manage, why hire a management team?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Interview with Actor Mike Beach

Actor Mike Beach.

Actor Mike Beach.

I first worked with longtime working actor (and my own personal favorite celebrity!) Michael Beach on the set of a small independent feature called Scrapper. Scrapper was my first foray with Grinning Man Media Group’s Ed Dougherty, and my first time working with real, professional actors. By “real,” I mean actors that are consistently working, like Beach and Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen.

Beach has been around the block several times in terms of work - notable roles (besides films with moi in it!) include: Soul Food, Waiting to Exhale, Aquaman, Dynasty, Sons of Anarchy, The 100, Crisis, Third Watch, and countless others. Studio27 Talent recently sat down with beach to discuss training, what makes an actor successful, and what he’s learned since graduating from Juilliard.