Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Scream of the Day: Elise Neal

When Elise Neal was cast in the high profile sequel to Scream, she hit the acting equivalent of winning the lottery. By getting cast as Sidney’s best friend Hallie, Neal immediately got an elevated profile in Hollywood. It was a film that every starlet was (no pun intended) dying to get a role.

For Neal, Scream 2 was just one of the four roles that she in 1997. Despite getting the additional exposure, the actress took a turn to the small screen the following year with a leading role as D.L. Hughley’s sitcom, The Hughley’s. The show was not a huge hit, lasting for four years. Once it ended she rebounded with another sitcom, All of Us, produced by Will Smith and Elise’s Scream 2 co-star Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Moving on from her sitcom roles, Neal has worked steadily jumping between supporting roles in films like Hustle and Flow and, more recently, The Love Ranch. She also recently appeared on the NBC show The Cape.

Branching out from just acting, Elise Neal also helped to create the R&B group Assorted Flavors. Last year, she also gave an interview to TV One claiming that the Pussycat Dolls’ song “Don’t Cha” was originally hers, which was performed in Neal’s cabaret act, until lead PCD singer Nicole Schrezinger stole it. Schrezinger hasn’t responded to the claims.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Scream of the Day: Matt Keeslar

The most maligned of the Scream trilogy, Scream 3 took more of a comedic tone than outright trying to scare the audience. Part of the problem was the high bar standard set by the previous films, and the introduction of new writer Ehren Kruger to the series because creator Kevin Williamson was unable to return.

Though uneven at times, Scream 3 does have some fun characters to add to the stable from the previous films. Taking on the role of Tom Prinze, indie actor Matt Keeslar helped close out the trilogy. Tom was playing the role of Dewey in the latest Stab sequel and was also the most ambivalent about the happenings surrounding the cast as they begin to get picked off one by one.

Keeslar moved from Adrian, Michigan to New York City to attend the prestigious Juilliard School. Though Juilliard frowns upon working as an actor while in school, Keeslar began to quickly rack up roles in movies like Quiz Show and Renaissance Man. Eventually he was forced to drop out of Juilliard after his third year due to the demand for him.

Keeslar, who had already garnered indie cred with roles in Waiting for Guffman, Last Days of Disco, and Psycho Beach Party, has leading man good looks that made him a perfect fit for the role of Hollywood star Prinze. He scored a one-two punch in 2000 with the release of Scream 3 and the television remake of Dune. With the exception of the occasional big role like his starring role on ABC FAmily's The Middleman or Stephen’s King’s Rose Red, Keeslar has been taking guest appearances on hit shows and using his good looks to star in made-for-TV romantic comedies. He most recently appeared on TNT’s Leverage.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Scream of the Day: Portia de Rossi

Scream 2 came out with much hype and fanfare. But there was something interesting in the structure of the film -- a handful of supporting characters were included who had nothing to do with the film. A relatively unknown Australian actress named Portia de Rossi appeared in one of these thankless roles as sorority sister Murphy.

Lois (played by Rebecca Gayheart) and Murphy were minor characters who tried to recruit Sidney for their sorority. Murphy was also uttered the infamous line, "Hi! No, I really mean that, Hi!" and was never seen again after partying the night away while Derek was tied up on the theater stage.

De Rossi, who was mostly known at the time to American audiences for her role on the television show Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher and the Hugh Grant film, Sirens.

As many of the up-and-coming actors from the Scream trilogy have done, Portia has gone on to make a bigger name for herself -- both onscreen and off. Her big break came the following year when she took on the roll of Nelle Porter on the hit show Ally McBeal. It wasn't until joining the Bluth family as part of the cult favorite Arrested Development that the actress really began to gain a following. She re-teamed with her Scream filmmakers when she joined the beleaguered production of the werewolf film Cursed. Portia has found continued success on the small screen with roles in Nip/Tuck and Better Off Ted.

In her personal life, Portia de Rossi is one half of a Hollywood supercouple with Ellen DeGeneres. The two began dating in 2005, forcing the actress to address speculation about her sexuality that began when photos were published of her and an ex-girlfriend. De Rossi has also taken up many charitable causes and has spoken publicly about suffering from anorexia during the early years of her career. Last year, the actress became an author with the publication of her autobiogaphy Unbearable Lightness.