India Autry

Memorial Day Weekend Fun

My short film “All I’m Asking For” has officially released! Click to find out more on IMDB.

I searched the clouds for Ryan Reynolds, but I ended up finding clouds in the shape of the Scorpio constellation. The David Suzuki Foundation liked my Twitter post in support of its Nature at Home challenge to make observing nature a part of our daily routine.

I joined a Twitter watch party for the Steve Martin classic comedy “Cheaper by the Dozen.” The film’s director, Shawn Levy (“Stranger Things”), hosted the party.

Keurig thanked me for my support in Fueling the Frontline. During National Hospital Week, Keurig, along with Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee Company, donated a cup of coffee to healthcare workers for every tweet sent out with the hashtag #FuelingtheFrontline, adding on to more than two million cups already donated.

I watched entertaining readings of “James and the Giant Peach” as a fundraiser by the Roald Dahl Story Company and Partners in Health for Covid-19 relief in third-world countries. Roald Dahl was the author of “James and the Giant Peach,” as well as books like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Mindy Kaling, Cara Delevingne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Wilde, Tessa Thompson, Nick Kroll, Sarah Paulson, Eddie Redmayne, Kumail Nanjiani and Beanie Feldstein all read their parts with gusto.

I’m very grateful for this cause because I sponsor a seven-year-old child in Uganda. During the lockdown, we haven’t been able to write each other. I miss his letters, but I’m comforted knowing that help is on the way. I will be watching the next episode on Monday. There will be a very special guest reader. That’s right, you guessed it. I couldn’t find him in the clouds, but you can find him here on Memorial Day 1 p.m. EST:

Click Here and Subscribe to See Ryan Reynolds!

Josh Gad’s series “Reunited Apart” has teased a virtual reunion for the cast and crew of “Splash,” my most watched film growing up. I’m so excited to see this episode airing on his YouTube channel Tuesday 12 noon EST. Josh asked what film reunions we’d like to see in upcoming episodes, so I suggested “Grease,” and a lot of others agreed!

The series “Some Good News” started by John Krasinski got picked up by CBS. Which is very good news. Positivity going mainstream! In other news, I made a vegan risotto dish following Hugh Jackman’s mom’s recipe, and it was divine!

Practical Dreaming

From keeping a dream journal and watching animals in nature, I’ve learned that there’s magic in pausing, nurturing yourself and taking in the magic all around us. That fantastical stillness allows us to move forward in our practical undertakings with that much more vigor.

A couple of those hands-on steps for me is working virtually with my British accent training coach who lives in England. She’s a hard taskmaster, which is exactly how I like it. I also tune into the Scriptnotes podcast by John August for his screenwriting expertise.

I’d like to end with what’s been inspiring me. Students are missing their graduations this month due to the pandemic, and many people are showing their support for them in the best way they can. “Some Good News” hosted by John Krasinski brought on icons to speak words of encouragement to graduates:

“The dream that your ancestors held for you, you now carry forward in such a way that you wear the crown that they made for you.” ~Oprah

I also discovered a commencement speech by the author David Foster Wallace. It was a reminder not worship our power, beauty or intellect. What should we worship, then? How we can uplift the collective.

Film Fun, Veteran’s Day, Scorpio Season & My Past Life as a Genie

I attended the “Marshall” film festival screening. It was a moving and entertaining depiction of the legal giant, and the Thurgood Marshall family was in attendance, along with the cast and crew. (Below, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Chadwick Boseman; not pictured, Sterling K. Brown)

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Scorpio Season is in full swing, for all of you born between October 23 and November 22… or for those others who enjoy the Scorpionic energy in the air of intensity & truth!

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For the 3rd Halloween in my adult life, I was drawn towards a genie costume – not to mention the Arabian photo shoot I did that wasn’t even related to Halloween. Perhaps I’ve identified one of my past lives!

Happy Veterans Day tomorrow to everyone who has served our country! You’ve carried us on your shoulders and we thank you. Here’s a throwback of my dad in the U.S. Marine
Corps.

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I’m currently enjoying a new vegetarian/vegan lifestyle of the past four months or so. And, believe it or not, it’s delish!

It’s made a big difference in my energy levels & spiritual connection. Great conditions while film ideas percolate. Click here to see what I’ve done so far on IMDB.

 

My Experience on Film Fest Q&A Panel, Pics & Film Clips

Loved being on the Q&A panel at the Virginia Film Fest for “But Not For Me” feature film!

I talked about what it was like to play a philosophical model in a commercial made by the advertising agency portrayed in the film. I played the part very intensely — I was near tears in the drama of the part. When cut was called, everyone on the crew burst out laughing. I was surprised at first, but that’s when I realized I had done my job! The seriousness with which I played the part made possible the comedic effect of an advertising agency taking itself too seriously.

Here’s the full trailer of this progressive hip-hop romance – you dig? Great performance and music by Marcus Carl Franklin (who starred with Heath Ledger & Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”). “But Not for Me” also features Roger Guenveur Smith (profilic actor in some many film from “Do the Right Thing” to “Dope”), and we won the audience choice award at the Brooklyn Film Festival. Click here to see more on IMDB.

My pics with Marcus and more of the cast and crew below:

From left to right: the moderator; producer, Jason Stefaniak; writer/director, Ryan Carmichael; actor Maria Vermeulen; me; actor, Solomon Hailemichael; actor, Marcus Carl Franklin

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“Love-Locked” Film: Frame Grabs

I just filmed my second short film adapted from my feature script. This time, I directed as well as writing, producing & starring. A bit much!

Click here to find out more about the cast crew on IMDB, including my co-star Jason Griffith, the iconic voice of Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokémon and a great dramatic actor.

Frame Grabs:

Cannes I Get a Witness?

I’ve just returned from having my short film “Brutally Yours” at Cannes Film Festival. Adieu!

Diaries of an Actress: Catching You Up on the All the Goodness

Since I began acting almost two years ago, I have begun screenwriting as well, and more film ideas are waiting to come down the pike.

Last month, I booked and filmed a supporting role in a SAG film “But Not for Me” by Emmy-winning producer Jason Stefaniak. Click here to see my IMDB page.

Actress and producer Emily Grace honored me with a scholarship to her program to teach actors how to get press. And guess what! I got me some front-page press.

I also filmed a co-star role on as a paramedic on “Deadly Sins” to air on cable’s Discovery Investigation Channel. See the pic of the house where we filmed on Instagram.

More updates to come!

Alright, Alright, Alright! Did You See the Oscars, Baby?!

If you did, you know there were deep V’s, snazzy jackets & beautiful people galore. Host Ellen DeGeneres (don’t hate, she was great) – even managed to take the most fame-filled selfie in the the world (see below). But the most important part of the Oscars was Matthew McConaughey‘s speech for his first Oscar, best actor for “Dallas Buyers Club.” It was moving, great words to live by an, I’m sure, not meant to be a controversial statement of any kind:

For a list of nominees and winners, click here.

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How Philip Seymour Hoffman Made Me “See More” Clearly – L.A. Guest Blog by Andrew Tarr

It’s been a funny couple weeks. Not funny ha ha, as they say, but funny like Ain’t It Funny How February Always Seems to Fuck Up January’s Wide-Eyed New Year’s Resolution Optimism… THAT kind of funny. February is rainy season here in LA. Like clockwork, the rain shows up February 1st or 2nd and doges in and out til sunny March.

This year, the rain showed up with the February 2nd punch in the gut that was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death. It always throws people for a loop when the world loses an artist who moves us. But this one seemed to hit people especially hard.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman

For a week and a half now, it’s been screwing with my head – and my sleep/wake cycle. At night I lie in bed pondering my mortality, and during the day I walk around so tired from the night before that people probably assume I’m prepping for a “Walking Dead” audition…people who don’t know me very well, anyway. The people who DO know me know that I never get auditions for projects that big.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of auditions. And booked a few things. But it’s mostly commercials, student films, webisodes, and a few cable TV one-off projects you’ve never heard of.

I’ve only ever auditioned for one of what you’d call a “Big” project: a medium-sized role in “Scent of a Woman” with Al Pacino (HOO-Hah!!)  I actually got pretty close on it. (Callbacks, phone calls to my agent telling me to keep my schedule open because they really liked me.) I actually hadn’t thought about that audition in years. But for the past ten days, it’s been keeping  me awake with What-Ifs, like a snoring girlfriend who has to work in the morning.

You see, the guy who got the part I was up for, was a then-unknown actor just like me, named Philip Seymour Hoffman. I don’t know if “Scent of a Woman” was technically his “big break” or if it was one of the other 3 or 4 movies he shot that year alone. The year was 1991 and I had been in LA for a little under a year, and my agent at the time was able to get me in on a part the size of PSH’s wonderfully snide spoiled prep school brat in the Pacino masterpiece. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out. Pacino’s brilliant. And so is Chris O’Donnell, and as you’d imagine, PSH makes a fairly small role totally memorable. He’s been a genius from the beginning, and definitely more right for that part than I was. I’d have cast him over me, too.)

Philip Seymour Hoffman, left, in "Scent of a Woman"

Philip Seymour Hoffman, left, in “Scent of a Woman”

So now, literally a lifetime later, the guy who went from beating me out for a role, to inspiring me and pretty much every other actor of our generation, is gone. And I’ve been thrown for a loop by the loss of what feels like a combination idol, muse, and alternate-universe-ME, which I know is kinda silly, but when you’re lying awake at 3 a.m., you see your life through one of those Funhouse mirrors that make your nose and your failures look huge, and make your mouth and your time left on this earth seem minuscule.

But he’s gone now, and I’m still here. Am I delusional to believe I still might have a shot at an acting career a fraction as incredible as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s? Maybe, but that delusion keeps me crawling out of my bed in the morning, taking classes, getting new headshots, and until the day I get called in on my SECOND big movie or TV audition, writing and producing my own stuff: two features I need a few hundred thousand bucks to shoot (anyone feelin’ generous today?), a couple shows for a local cable channel, and a handful of kooky videos I’ve posted on YouTube, and of course FunnyOrDie – a website whose name feels – at least right now during Crappy February 2014 – like an elaborate practical joke crafted specifically for me.

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So has February sucked ALL the life out of my January dreams? No. And maybe some of this year’s rainy season has even given me some new perspective. A lot has changed since 1991, when Philip and I were amongst LA’s new crop. For one thing, Funny or Die didn’t exist.  Neither did YouTube. Or cheap HD cameras and editing software to use on projects you cast YOURSELF in. Or bloggers like the amazing India Autry, who has so gratiously shared her spotlight with me this week. Actress/self-promotion Guru Emily Grace teaches on how to get media attention and maybe even bypass the audition process entirely, jumping straight to people offering you the part.

So hey, all you fellow actors – lets all Netflix some old movies with Philip Seymour Hoffman, or whoever YOUR favorite actor is – get inspired, and make some noise on the web.  If nothing else, we’ll all have more stuff to read and watch in bed on the iPad when the insomnia strikes.

Andrew Tarr is an actor (really!), musician, writer, producer and animal lover who lives in Los Angeles, up the street from that new Starbucks. You can see what he looks like and whether you’d ever want sleep with him by watching his Funny or Die videos HERE.

 

Andrew Tarr, guest blogger

Andrew Tarr, guest blogger

“Yeah, Bitch” – It’s the Golden Globes!

Here are my top three things about the 2014 Golden Globes: Aaron Paul’s “Yeah, bitch,” pretty women & the man of the hour.

1. Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” revived the Jesse of yore, giving us one last “yeah, bitch!” as “Breaking Bad” won best TV drama. I also think it’s awesome that, after Bryan Cranston won for best actor in a TV drama, he didn’t sit down, knowing that the show was going to win the next category.

2. So many pretty women and pretty dresses. I mean really, wasn’t it so good to see Julia Roberts, nominated for “August: Osage County,” looking beautiful, taking us right back to the 90s?.

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And there were multiple pregnancy dresses, Olivia Wilde’s (below left) being my favorite.

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3. Matthew McConaughey was the man of the hour. He did an awesome chicken dance onto stage when accepting the award for best actor in a drama from Jessica Chastain (who played along well) – a dance he later said he didn’t remember doing because he was so caught up in the moment.

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McConaughey’s heartwarming speech in his charming Texas accent revealed how difficult it was to make “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” And he was for sure the best dressed man on the red carpet, in his dark green velvet suit jacket. He and his wife, who has played such a big part in his career, look stunning together on the E! 360 cam. He also stood out at the Palm Spring Film Festival earlier this month, as seen below.

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Click here for a full list of Golden Globe nominees and winners

4 Things “American Hustle” Taught Me

American Hustle” is dominating the Golden Globes nominations and for good reason:

1. Amy Adams is the bomb. Besides the endless side boob and fab clothes, she’s got that mixture of toughness, intensity & vulnerability that shows on her face with such clarity. I consider that my particular brand of actressing as well, and she’s now one of my top idols!

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2. Christian Bale is the bomb. He’s at his best in this film – intense yet incredibly tender. Even Bradley Cooper says that it’s the best role Christian Bale has ever had by far. I wonder if Amy Adams has ever actually seen Christian Bale at a normal weight… He was 63 pounds underweight for their movie “The Fighter” and now this!

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3. Dircetor David O. Russell is the bomb. Everything about this film was – for lack of a more believable word – perfect. I want to work with this director! He even co-wrote the screenplay which laid out a pristine dramatic plot laced with comedic treasures. Russell perfectly cast this film by bringing together the heavyweights from two of his other amazing films – Amy Adams and Christian Bale from “The Fighter” and Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper from “Silver Linings Playbook.” Which brings me to the final point.

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4. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Amy Adams & Jeremy Renner are bombs. They are all explosive actors, and it’s incredible to watch them blow each other up. They are all powerhouses, and you’re kinda scared to see them go up against one another, but you can’t stop watching. They all hold their own against one another.

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B Coops never fails to bring the anger, turmoil & general crazy.

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And the Lipstick and Style Oscar Goes to…

From best dressed to most transformed, see my top picks below!

Best Makeup with a Black Dress

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Most of the Oscaritas in black paired their dark dress with neutral makeup, but (leg jokes aside!) Angelina Jolie did it right. She wore a orangy-red lipstick to brighten up her look and keep the dark-colored dress from washing out her face.

Maid of Honor

Ellie Kemper

Of all the funny girls in “Bridesmaids,” Ellie Kemper takes the Oscar for best look. Her dress has light-reflecting paillettes in bold tones of copper, perfectly matching her hair.

Best Ponytail

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock

You don’t normally associate ponytails with uber formal events, but Sandra Bullock’s high, tight, and sleek pony does the job. And that’s not the only thing looking high, tight, and sleek! Her classy Marchesa dress is fitted in the hip area for a surprising sexiness.

Best Hair

Brad Pitt

Best actor nominee Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Yep. A dude.

Best Dressed Man

Jonah Hill

Moneyball’s Brad Pitt commented during the red carpet pre-show that men at the Oscars have it easy – black tux, white shirt. But his co-star and best supporting actor nominee, Jonah Hill, stylishly went with all black, further accentuating his slimmed-down figure. Jonah sweetly escorted his proud mother to the show.

Best Yeah-I-Know-I’m-Going-to-Win Dress

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep decided to dress like Oscar last night and ended up taking him home. She won for her leading actress role in “Iron Lady,” portraying former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. By wearing the gold Lanvin dress, she showed the same gusto you would have expected from the Iron Lady herself. A few of the past 10 Best Actress winners have worn gold dresses, and last night the trend continued.

Best Dress on the Second Take

Emma Stone

When I first saw this dress, I thought, “What is she doing? Red dress with red hair on the red carpet with that big fluffy bow?” But then I realized that the dress was more fuscia than red, that the bow was bold and beautiful, that the dress was classy with slight slit down the middle of the chest that you could only she when she moved a certain way (in sharp contrast to Jennifer Lopez’s dress), and that her cute act as presenter made you forget everything else anyway.

Best Flowy Dress

Melissa McCarthy

Bridesmaids’ tomboyish Melissa McCarthy looked great all dolled up without wearing a structured dress to try to corset herself. She wore a glamorous updo and flowy chiffon in a nude color with fancy silver detail. She wasn’t quite as classy in her pre-recorded skit with the always capable host, Billy Crystal, where she tried the same leg-in-the-air seduction technique she used in the movie.

Most Transformed

Viola Davis

From her role in the “The Help”

Viola Davis, Best Actress nominee

Viola Davis looked totally different from the character she was nominated for playing. She was absolutely stunning in a bright emerald dress that showed off her toned body. I hope she sports her natural hair more often. The copper color complements her skin tone well, and the short ‘do makes her face stand out.

Most Elegant

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain looks like a princess in her regal black, elaborately gold-printed dress with flowing hair. She played a sweetheart bombell in “The Help” and was sweetheart beautiful on the red carpet when she introduced her grandmother with a “Pretty Woman” giggle.

Best Dressed

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams was the absolute belle of the ball with this carefully designed gown with a sheer back, perfectly placed pleats and peplum, and silver bow detail on the right side at the waist. The commentators had trouble determining the color of the dress, and and eventually settled on coral.

Whatever it is, its brightness nicely contrasts her fair skin and hair. She’s a woman after my own heart, matching her makeup (peachy-pink, an innocent color I love) to her dress. Her naked ears and pixie cut create another intriguing juxtaposition – boyish against the feminine gown.

My Oscar’s Look

Looking into my compact for a touch-up. …Okay, pretending to look into my compact for a touch-up. Charcoal cat eyes, bronzed cheeks, beigy-nude lips, fashion jewelry, Victoria’s Secret dress.

Whitney Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)

"The Whitney I knew, despite her success and worldwide fame, still wondered: 'Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they still like me?' It was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end. Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you: you weren't just good enough - you were great." -from Kevin Costner's eulogy for her, February 18, 2012