Tag Archives: Actor Profile

Canada’s Romaine Waite terrifies audiences in sci-fi horror flick ‘Antisocial’

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Canadian Actor Romaine Waite

Romaine Waite has always been an outgoing person, a trait he believes has helped him greatly as an actor. When he was a child, growing up in Canada, he participated in school plays and drama programs, not because he thought it would be his career, but simply because that is what he enjoyed. It wasn’t until his early twenties when he realized he could truly follow his passion, and the second he got his first professional part, he knew that acting was his calling.

“I’ve always had this innate ability to connect with people in some way, making people laugh or causing disruptions, depends on who you ask,” he joked.

Now, Waite is a celebrated actor. His work in television series such as Star Trek: Discovery,Frankie Drake Mysteries, and The Mistimpressed audiences in not only Canada, but the rest of the world. His versatility knows no bounds, and he is always looking for a new way to explore his talents.

“Romaine is great. He makes my job a lot easier. He is the consummate professional and a very dedicated and crafter artist. It is always pleasurable working with him,” said Alan Moy, Producer who worked alongside Waite on Murdoch Mysteries and Usher the Usher.

Waite recalls his first real taste of international success as the sci-fi horror flick Antisocial. The movie follows five university friends who gather at a house party to ring in the New Year. Unbeknownst to them, an epidemic has erupted outside, causing outbreaks around the world. With nowhere else to turn, they barricade themselves indoors with only their phones, laptops, and other tech devices. They use their devices to research the possible cause of this outbreak. Information and video footage over flow their computers as they descend further into the cause and the ensuing chaos. As the virus spreads, the mood in the house changes from fear to paranoia. Who is safe? Who can they trust? Reality becomes blurred as they slowly discover the source of the virus causing the sickness… and there is no going back.

“I thought the story was clever it takes something that everyone was familiar with, being social media, and took it to the extreme. If you take away the gore, it’s basically what we’re experiencing today. Snapchat, Instagram, etc. have become these tools that are allowing people to share every single aspect of their life. In a way, I think the film talks about a very important subject in our society — what are the effects of social media and what are the limits and consequences of sharing too much on social media,” said Waite.

In the film, Waite plays Steve, one of the five friends gathering to celebrate New Year’s Eve. He was jovial and sincere university student. Audiences got to see him enjoy time with his close friends and girlfriend. Unfortunately, he was first in the house to experience the epidemic that trapped them in the house. This is pivotal, as Waite was responsible for getting the audience to truly understand the epidemic, and therefore the film. Within the film, Steve was the only individual who the audience was able to see go through a full transition. With this, the audience knew what the signs were and what would happen if another character was to get infected.

“It was really important to me that people felt the struggle of this character. As he tried to figure out what was happening to him without revealing anything to others in house. Through my portrayal, I hoped the audience would feel like they were a friend to my character and miss this him when he was gone,” Waite described.

The film had its premiere at the Fantasia Film Fest in Montreal back in 2013, and from there went to several high-profile international film festivals, including Calgary International Film Fest, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival. From there, it was distributed through Monster Pictures on DVD, through Super Channel, and on iTunes. Such success could not have been possible without Waite’s portrayal of Steve, hooking audiences to the story early on.

“It’s always nice to see an indie film do well. It takes so many people and long days to make a film. To me the success is in completing the project. I am proud of everyone involved,” said Waite.

Antisocial was Waite’s first horror feature film, and five years later he still looks back and coals the experience amazing. At the time, he was still very curious about the process of filmmaking and how it all would come together, and he could not have been happier with the result. Everyone on set was professional and inspired, creating a contagious energy. He found himself watching everyone on set, from the cinematographer to the special effects make-up artist, taking everything in and reminding himself why he wanted to be an actor in the first place.

“I liked the comradery. Everyone was really passionate about the project. We were all stuck in a house for weeks. Friendships were built, and some good memories were made. I hadn’t done anything like that before. Overall it was a great experience,” he said.

Be sure to check out Antisocial to see Waite’s terrifying performance as Steve.

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Actor Profile: Ukraine’s Jane Kapriss!

Jane Kapriss
Actress Jane Kapriss shot by Chia Messina

Award-winning actress Jane Kapriss is known for her performances in an impressive range of films such as the romcom  “Mac Daddy & the Lovers,” which took home the Golden Reel Award from the Nevada International Film Festival, the film’s sequel “Mac Daddy’s Vegas Adventure,” Geraldine Winters’ (“Clownstrophobia,” “Clownstrophobia 2”) thriller film “Psycho-Path: Mania” with multi-award winning actor Keith Collins (“Gravedigger,” “Awake in the Woods”) and many more.

Originally from Kiev, Ukraine Jane knew from a very young age that she would someday embark on a career as an actress.

Jane recalls, “I was interested in acting since I was a little girl. When I was 13, my mom took me to the audition at a modeling agency. They signed me and… later the agency sent me to the World Championships of Performing Arts to compete in the modeling category. I begged them to allow me to compete as an actress as well. Thankfully, they did. And as a result I won bronze medal for acting. After that acting has always been my priority.”

It’s not at all surprising that the Veni Vidi Vici modeling agency signed Jane on the spot, she is absolutely gorgeous, but it’s her talent as a performer that has ultimately put her on the map.

Jane Kapriss
Jane Kapriss on set of “Hand For Luck”

Early on in her career Jane landed a lead role in the popular Ukrainian feature film “Hand for Luck” aka “Ruka na Schaste,” where she starred alongside some of Russia’s most recognizable actors, such as Nina Antonova (“Polar Fight,” “Iron Ivan”), Golden Eagle and People’s Artist of the Republic Award winner Armen Dzhigarkhanyan (“Assassin of the Tsar,” “The Edge”) and MTV Movie Award Russia nominee Oskar Kuchera (“20 Cigarettes,” “Law of Corruption”).

A criminal action comedy, “Hand for Luck” follows Grinya (Kuchera), a shy loser who loses his hand after being run over by a car; but as luck would have it, the hospital has a fresh hand on deck to replace it– the only problem is that it came from a gangster who died in an explosion that same day, and once it’s on Grinya’s body, it tries to control the show pulling him into the life of it’s former owner.  To make matters more complex, the hand comes equipped with a ring engraved with the last 4 digits of wire transfer password that every criminal in the city wants to get their hands on. Unable to remove the ring, Grinya becomes a prime target, but with the hand of a gangster leading the way he becomes the hardest loser any criminal has ever tried to catch.

Jane gave a knock-out performance in the film as Anastasiya, the niece of feared mafia boss Krestnyy (Dzhigarkhanyan), and the original owner of the ring. Bringing the comedy into the world of cut-throat gangsters, Jane’s character Anastasiya is a teenager who just wants to make-out with her boyfriend and pass midterms, but even when the criminal dealings of her uncle overflows into her normal teen life Anastasiya remains rather oblivious to it all.

Jane Kapriss
Still of Armen Dzhigarkhanyan and Jane Kapriss in “Hand for Luck”

Jane explains, “I loved this character. She was one of my favorites. It was very funny how oblivious she was to the crime world cause she grew up in. My favorite scene to act in was the scene where she enters their living room where the shy loser in on his knees at gunpoint about to get killed. There are gangsters with guns everywhere. And she disregards all that because she has to walk through the living room to pick up the pizza delivery.”

Jane’s portrayal of Anastasiya definitely lightens the mood in the film, while also driving home the idea that even a crime boss who kills people on a daily basis still has room in his heart for family and struggles through everyday problems such as making sure his niece doesn’t run off with her boyfriend.

Produced by Zebra Productions (“Dare to Dream”), “Hand for Luck” garnered an overwhelmingly positive reception in the Ukraine upon its theatrical release in 2008, which also helped to boost Jane’s celebrity status at home.

Producer German Arkhipov, head of Zebra Productions, says .“As soon as I read the script, I knew that Jane was the perfect fit for the role of Anastasiya. And I offered her the part right away. Jane is a magnificent actress, a true professional who can make the audience laugh and cry. It is a rare gift. As a producer, I have to be sure that my project has the best actors attached to provide further success of the show. Having Jane on board means that half of my work is done.”

After carving out a strong reputation for herself as a dynamic actress in Ukraine, Jane moved to the U.S. where her onscreen career has continued to flourish. Up next for the sought after actress is an upcoming TV sitcom directed by Lana Lekarinou (“The Sparkle”) and produced by Antonia Roman (“Altruism,” “Hollywood Tale”). While we cannot disclose too much, we can say that the sitcom is co-production between That`s So Funny Entertainment and LVP Films, INC., and Jane will take on the lead role of Kitsa.

“I just want to act as much as possible. It’s never enough for me. It might be a cliche to say, but when I’m acting, I feel that I’m alive. So I just want to have a chance to keep doing that,” explains Jane.

“Rollin’ with the Nines” Reveals Anthony Warren’s Flare for Action

Actor Anthony Warren
Actor Anthony Warren shot by Will Tudor

There’s a scene in the hit film “Rollin’ with the Nines” where Anthony Warren, playing the Jamaican drug dealer Karnage, stabs an informant trying to buy drugs. Warren’s performance is so believable and his Jamaican patois so on point that anyone could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a documentary about crime on the island nation. Upon meeting the successful British actor however, it’s clear that the scene was very much a reflection of his impressive acting talent. Warren is a charming and imposing figure all the same, representing the ideal combination for leading men in the world of film.

Anthony’s ability to jump into distinctive roles that prove to be memorable and game-changing for any film of which he takes part is making him known in the industry. He tells us that the aforementioned scene in particular was “so violently gross [to film] but it was fun.” If anything, the London native was so convincing to his co-stars on the set of “Rollin’ with the Nines” as a menacing drug dealer that “Eastenders” star Terry Stone felt compelled to literally hit Warren in the head with a frying pan in a scene where he and his buddies try to swindle Warren’s antagonist. It hurt, according to Warren, but he swears it was an accident.

Anthony Warren’s hugely successful career began over 20 years ago, in a more humble fashion than compared to his current position of fortune. His work in “Rollin’ with the Nines” marked the beginning of his dominance in the action genre that began simultaneously over a decade ago with his critical role in “Control” opposite Academy-Award nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spiderman,” “The Aviator”), and “Fast and Furious” and “Avatar” heroine Michelle Rodriguez. Leading and starring roles in similar projects have continued, and when watching his impactful performances in films like “Rollin’ with the Nines” and “Control,” it’s clear why Warren hasn’t lived the typical life of the struggling artist.

While many actors take on work whenever they’re hired, Warren’s sought after stature in the industry means he needn’t be concerned with just taking on any project. If anything, his filmography proves his careful selectiveness and irreplaceable position within the acting field.

The truthfulness of Warren’s leading performances in other genre films like “The Deaths of Ian Stone,” opposite “Under the Dome” and “Bates Motel” star Mike Vogel, and as Capt. Naish in the Wesley Snipes (“Blade,” “Passenger 57”) and William Hope (“Aliens, “Captain America,” “Sherlock Holmes”) feature film “The Marksman,” are all proof of Warren having firmly found his own place in a world characterized by high-standards, loyal fans and blockbuster thrills.

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“Rollin’ with the Nines” film poster

“Rollin’ with the Nines” in particular has been a thrilling highlight for Anthony, notably so for representing his collaboration with successful director Julian Gilby who also directed Will Poulter (Oscar-Winner “The Revenant”, “We’re the Millers”) and Emma Rigby (ABC hit “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”) in the 2014 hit-film “Plastic.” It further reinforced his growing profile with action films shot in the UK and his association with the music industry, as “Rollin’ with the Nines” concerns small-time drug dealers releasing their music in urban London.

And therein lies part of Warren’s truly exceptional talent – he has managed to traverse genres effortlessly. In his case (and maybe for this decade) action and musical theatre specifically. Alongside his key roles in action films “The Contract” with Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman (“Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Dark Knight”), Warren’s classical singing training and skill on stage landed him a leading role in Opera North’s Rodgers and Hammerstein production of “Carousel,” directed by Jo Davies, and “Brashana O”, directed by Geoffrey Creswell.

In “Brashana O”, a story based on the legendary rolling calf that forms part of Jamaica’s folklore, Warren wowed audiences with his portrayal of Barker. His connection to Jamaica gave the production a refined sense of integrity, helping to sustain the belief that the Rolling Calf is really a ‘duppy’ (ghost) that has the ability the change, if and when necessary, into other animals. Warren’s performance was easily considered as both impactful and humorous all at the same time. His role as Heavenly Goggin in “Carousel,” a more traditional musical, was an important one that esteemed reviewer Geoffrey Mogridge noted as “mysterious,” and set the scene for the protagonist’s confrontation with the production’s antagonist.

One could say that Anthony Warren is something of a ‘jack-of-all-trades.’ But his success in the different areas of the acting field prove that he is certainly not a ‘master-of-none.’ We look forward to seeing him in many more blockbusters (hopefully action movies, and more musicals) for years to come.

 

Pushing His Craft to the Limit, Actor Leandro Simozza Shines in Drama

Leandro Simozza
Actor Leandro Simozza shot by Lishabai Yi

For some, the drive for creative expression is instinctive. Just as a person may inherit their father’s eyes or their grandmother’s nose, so too can they inherit a passion for the arts. That couldn’t be more true than it is for Venezuelan-American Leandro Simozza, who comes from a family rich with creative talent. His incredible skill as an actor is due in no small part to the inspiration and encouragement he’s received from his mother, an accomplished painter, and his uncle, a virtuosic musician.

Simozza has been acting on screen and stage his entire life, and the combination of that experience and his innate gift for performance shines in every one of his roles. Moreover, the impact of his work is made all the more powerful by his penchant for frequently addressing social issues in his projects.

“I like to make something that has a strong message to society and the world,” Simozza says of his wide range of roles. “It is so important to do something one feels passionate about and I am grateful to have been able to portray many different kinds of roles.”

To call Simozza’s list of credits diverse isn’t an exaggeration, but an understatement. The Venezuelan tour de force has embodied everything from a family man struggling with alcoholism in “Regrets” and an American crack fighter pilot in “The Second Coming of Christ” to a modern day cartel mobster in “The Head of The Mouse.”

In addition to being the writer and editor of the film “Regrets,” Simozza also starred in the tragic drama as Emiliano, a father determined to drink himself to death after the loss of his daughter.

“He tries to destroy his life, but thanks to his nurse and professional help he realizes all the damage he’s caused and tries to overcome the situation,” Simozza said. “He wants his daughter to be able to look down on him and be happy about the fact that he’s changed his life and quit drinking.”

Because he was so thoroughly involved in every part of the production, Simozza went to great lengths studying and researching both the subject matter and the script. That research even included attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and hearing the true stories of real people who have lived the similar substance abuse nightmares as his character Emiliano in the film.

When he wrote the script for “Regrets,” Simozza was determined to shine a light on the iron grip of alcoholism and on the life-shattering toll this insidious disease can take on not only the afflicted, but on their families and loved ones.

 

Leandro Simozza
Leandro Simozza (left) & Christos Tsiloglanidis (right) in “Beaten” shot by Domingo Santay

 

That drive to tell compelling stories with powerful messages is what led Simozza to play the racist antagonist in the film “The Murder of Tasneem Ali.” The film follows the titular character Tasneem, a young Muslim girl, as she is relentlessly harassed and derided by Simozza’s character. Filmed in black and white, “The Murder of Tasneem Ali” is a gripping examination of Islamophobic abusers and their victims.

Simozza once again portrayed an addict in “Escaping the Gang Life.” His character, Luke, is a criminal hardened by years of drug abuse. Audiences soon see that beneath the surface of his sordid lifestyle lies a good, albeit flawed man. Luke’s friend and fellow gang member Luan, played by Klement Tinaj (“Furious 7”), struggles to leave the gang alive.

“His exit is violent, and the surviving gang members will not allow Luan to get away without a massive blood bath,” Simozza said. “My character is one of the members of the PMW Gang and he helps Luan find out who killed Luan’s sister, Angela, and get revenge for their loss.”

Whether explosive and action-packed or heartfelt and dramatic, Leandro Simozza’s works are almost always centered around issues of social strife. Like his mother and uncle, he recognizes the uniquely powerful role of the arts as a mirror for humanity. Addiction, prejudice and violence are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scope of subjects examined in Simozza’s work. Brilliant and unrivaled not just as an actor but as a writer, editor and producer, Simozza’s long and ever-growing list of credits continues to amaze critics and audiences alike.

 

 

Actor Profile: Veteran Actor Cory Dagg

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Canadian Actor Cory Dagg

 

Over the years Canadian actor Cory Dagg has brought his unparalleled talent to a pretty astonishing list of film and television productions. Becoming known for his roles on hit television shows like “The Andromeda Strain,” “Top Cops” and “Street Legal,” as well as films such as Primetime Emmy nominee Brad Turner’s “The Inspectors,” Michael Kennedy’s action-packed crime film “Hostile Force” and “Bond of Silence” acting alongside Kim Raver from “24” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” Dagg’s proven that he has a unique gift for playing authoritative roles just as easily as he plays the underdog.

With a character list spanning the likes of government officials, sly detectives and frustrated public defenders, Dagg’s way of communicating with his eyes is something that has made each and every character he’s taken on to date unforgettable. His role as Detective Peters in the series premiere of Columbia Tristar’s thriller series “The Net” is one that not only helped carve out his reputation for portraying multi-layered characters in the crime genre, but also set up the basis for the show.

While out for a run early one morning, freelance computer programmer Angela Bennett (played by Brooke Langton) is arrested by federal agents only to find out once in the interrogation room that her identity has been erased and replaced with that of a wanted felon. Dagg’s character Detective Peters comes down hard on Bennett who is both baffled and afraid as Peters threatens her with a lengthy jail sentence for crimes she didn’t commit.  

“Whenever I get a new role, I get to know that character as if they were going to be my new best friend. I try to think of every aspect of them – how they feel, how they would respond in certain situations, what they would say,” explains Dagg.

“With Peters being a cop, I knew I could handle that since I ‘ve done a lot of cops and military roles. But Peters is a bit of a dirty cop, so I had to dig deep to bring that out in him. Really, it comes down to immersing myself in the character, finding something – anything – I might have in common with him, and playing on that.”

Another of Dagg’s authoritative style characters that has left an indelible mark in the minds of viewers is that of General Michaelson on the seven Primetime Emmy Award nominated series “The Andromeda Strain,” which was adapted from Michael Crichton’s 1969 novel and produced by four-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott. The four-part series follows a group of highly trained scientists as they work to find the source of what killed the inhabitants of a small town and a way to stop it, and the military team tasked with keeping the disaster under wraps as a matter of national security.

Acting alongside Benjamin Bratt (“Miss Congeniality,” “Despicable Me 2”) who plays Dr. Jeremy Stone and Golden Globe Award winner Ricky Schroder (“Get Him to the Greek,” “NYPD Blue”) who plays Major Bill Keane MD, Cory Dagg gave a brilliant performance as General Michaelson, the military leader who is charged with quarantining the affected area from the mysterious virus, and keeping the rest of the population safe.

Interestingly enough, Dagg originally auditioned for a smaller role on the series however, after director Mikael Salomon (“Hard Rain”) saw Dagg’s performance, he was given a much meatier role and his character went on to be featured in three of the series’ four episodes.

“The director said later he was surprised I didn’t have military experience, that’s how convincing he thought I was,” recalls Dagg. “It’s the dramatic roles I love the most, when the stakes are really high I’m able to separate myself from other actors and usually get the role.”

As an actor Cory Dagg effortlessly stands out in a crowd thanks to his magnetic presence both on and off camera, his rare versatility, and his ability to breathe life into the most complex characters, all of this and more have been crucial factors in the impressive career he has created for himself over the past 30 years, and we can’t wait to see what he takes on next!

 

Actor Profile: Poland’s Diana Matlak

Diana Matlak
Polish Actress Diana Matlak shot by Luis Ruiz

In the world of show business, success in one discipline is never easy to accomplish. Yet for Diana Matlak, success has come her way in two very demanding performance arts: dancing and acting.

Early on in her life Diana made her mark on the performing world as an international competitor in Latin dancing, before going on to be recognized as a versatile actress in both Europe and the United States thanks to the multitude of leading roles she has landed in high-profile films, television shows and commercials.

Diana resembles the classic beauty of yesteryear. Her natural looks are reminiscent of the classic cabaret era where a woman’s beauty could shine through from her talent and stage presence, not needing flashy costume or hair to make a scene.  Whether fully dolled up in makeup and a dress or made to look like a poor villager, she emanates a look that gives the viewer an ability to relate and empathize with her characters.

As a dancer in Poland, her native country, Diana excelled to the top ranks of competitive Latin dancing, an area of performance that she competed in for over 15 years. Her remarkable reputation in the industry established her as a highly sought-after performer where she was respected for her precision and determination to be one of the best.

After stepping away from the world of competitive dance, Diana’s love for performing remained strong; and, after landing a few standout television roles in Poland including the country’s longest-running primetime drama Na dobre i na złe (For better and for worse), Diana decided to take her acting career to the next level.

She moved to Los Angeles shortly after where she has not wasted any time making a name for herself. Over a relatively short period of time she has landed spots on network TV shows such as Bones, Scandal and American Crime Story. She has also starred in several American films playing everything from a flirtatious girl to a depressed woman and a challenging role in the film Red House by the Crossroads where she played Deena Kravitz, a young woman struggling to keep her family together.

Diana is also continually seeking better knowledge, and has sought the best mentors in LA to help her succeed. She has studied the Meisner technique extensively, a style of acting that many of the greats from Anthony Hopkins to Robert Duvall, as well as more contemporary veteran actresses such as Helen Hunt and Hilary Swank rely on in their craft. She is also currently studying at Ivana Chubbuck Studio in Los Angeles.

Matlak says, “Ivana Chubbuck is a great teacher who has been in the business for years. She used to coach stars like Charlize Theron who won the Oscar Award for Monster, Brad Pitt and Halle Berry who won an Oscar for the Monster’s Ball.”

The intense physical training necessary to be an accomplished dancer helps set Diana apart from other actresses. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of being in shape, mastering her dance skills was no easy feat. Rising to the top of any field takes hard work, discipline, and relentless passion. For Diana, these qualities are long instilled and have carried over to her acting career where she has excelled in roles that are diverse and impactful. In addition to her accomplished dance background, Diana has a multidisciplinary athletic background, having earned certifications in snowboarding, skiing, and even combat training – allowing her to train and perform for many demanding roles. She can also speak Polish, German, and Russian in addition to English.

Recently Diana has been working with director Aditya J. Patwardhan on several projects, the most notable being Red House By The Crossroads, a drama that premiered at the world-famous Cannes Film Festival. She also starred in the music video “Katra, Katra” directed by Patwardhan, which allowed her acting and dancing talents to seamlessly collaborate.

Diana continues to stay busy. Coming up next for her is the the lead role of Lotta Ditsy-Flirt in the film Maneater, directed by Stephanie Moningka, set to release in January 2016. She is always seeking new challenging roles that can push her craft further, inspiring audiences around the world.