Acting is a big part of who I am. It always will be and for now, I am no longer acting but I don’t think it will be that way forever. Right now, I just can’t do it with school. My brothers were actors and I think deep down I always knew that I would do it too. I never gave it much thought. It wasn’t something I told my father I wanted. It fell into my lap.
When I was nine, my father and I were living in New York as he was sick and was getting treatment. One day, he took me to some woman who became my manager and still is. He told her “I don’t want my daughter working at McDonald’s. Get her some work. ” The woman was a talent manager and I’ve been with her ever since. For the first few months, we practiced facial expressions and staying still. I went on many auditions and many casting directors liked me, I got call backs, but I just was never right for their project. My father had me also, working with an acting coach named Bill Hart. He was a family friend that I had known since I was a baby. He was my fathers best friend and Harley’s acting coach when he was a kid.
When I was 10, I moved to Argentina. The day before we moved, Carolyn, my manager put me on tape for a movie called “Bee Season”. The director saw my tape and liked me. They sent me the whole script and I read it with my father. It was the first script that I really liked and wanted. I had a call back in LA in December. I prepared like crazy. I watched the directors other movies with their commentaries. I was ready and confident. It was the best audition I ever had. It lasted 5 hours. I auditioned with other guys who were going to play my brother. I even, auditioned with my own brother, Eli. I was nervous but I had never wanted anything as much as this role.
A few days after the audition, my father and I went to Ethiopia for vacation to join a friend of ours. It was an amazing trip but what made it unforgettable is that that is where I found out that I got the role. A few days before leaving to go back to LA, my father got sick so he had to go to the hospital. I went to visit him in the hospital and he mumbled something which I did not understand. My manager called the hospital and told me I got the job. I screamed out of joy. It’s something I will never forget. My dream come true.
When we retuned to LA, we had to go to fox searchlight studio for costume fitting. My father wasn’t sure it was real until we went to the studios. I turned 11 in January and we started filming soon after. The film was shot in Oakland. Bill came to join us. We had a month of rehearsal. I was ready. Everyone was depending on me and I knew exactly what I was doing. I remember at the table read meeting Richard Gere who was playing my father. It did not matter he was famous to me, I acted like I belonged there because to me I did. I had been waiting for this my whole life. This was it. There were other things going around but I never lost focus on the big picture which was being the best actress. My father during the time was addicted to pain killer, but I couldn’t worry about it. Bill and I were a team. He believed in me. We rehearsed every night before bed and before every scene.
This was the first time anyone believed in me. My whole life had been a mess before then. I had never felt good enough. My father always compared to me to my older brothers. I was not smart like them, but this is the first time I felt worthy. All eyes were on me and people for once were telling me how great I was. I loved working. I never wanted to go home. It was exhausting because as a kid, I had to do tutoring and work. The hours were long. Without Bill, I could have never done it. He gave me confidence and he helped me become the best actress possible.
After the movie, I went back to Argentina as I had already missed three months of school. I remember returning and people asking me so many questions about making a movie. I unfortunately had to redo that grade because I missed so much school. Rather than redoing the grade at the same school, I was homeschooled. I moved to Los Angeles to live with Harley, my oldest brother so that I could pursue my acting career more rigorously. My acting coach, Bill even moved out there with me. We prepared for auditions and at night, we would watch movies and talk about them. He was my best friend.
I remember going on an audition for a movie called “Margot at the wedding” and after, he asked me how it went and I responded by saying “that was easy” and other actors laughed because I was so confident and young and they were adults. Bill always made me feel good about myself, he made me feel great. We went to New York for the call back with the director. I got the movie and we went to New York for the shoot. We rehearsed for about two weeks. I remember at the reading, seeing Nicole Kidman for the first time. I introduced myself and told her that I was a big fan. I had seen so many of her movies. Most of the movie was shot in the Hamptons. One day on set, I wasn’t working and I was bored so Bill gave me the New York Times to read about Eva Gardner’s biography. I was hooked.
Bill was my rock. He loved me like a parent loves his child. He was very protective. Anytime I got sick, he would get so worried. I always have the bad luck of getting sick on every movie I have made. Most of the time, it’s my throat. I always had problems due to my tonsils. With the tonsils, I get very sick to the point of fever and can’t eat. I was laying on the couch, watching TV. Bill was out and when he gave back, to cheer me up he got me Ava Gardner’s biography. Some people were angry because it is a very adult book but I loved it. It was the first adult book I ever read and all the adult books, Bill gave me. During the movie, people told me I was great. A big time producer, Scott Rudin was watching the monitor while I was shooting a scene and he laughed every time. I took what every direction the director gave me. I was great. I might sound cocky but I’m great at my job. I’m a great actress.
After the movie, I stayed in New York. Kept auditioning for movies. Since I was being homeschooled, it was easy to be in New York or Los Angeles. My tutor, Fiona came with me wherever we travelled. We then, moved back to Los Angeles. My tutor Fiona moved in with me. Harley decided that it was time for me to start real school again for eighth grade. Bill moved back to New York because he was sick. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Fiona left as well for a job in Cambodia. They both left and I started school. I still went to auditioned, but I prepared with my brother. My brother and father both went to New York to visit Bill in the hospital. They wouldn’t let me go. They didn’t want me to see him so sick. For Christmas break, I went to Argentina but before that, I saw Bill. It was the last time I saw him. I remember him holding me and petting me. He passed away January 21st, 2008. I had just turned fifteen 10 days ago.
I remember the day so well when he died. I was fighting with my brother when the phone rang, the call that said he was gone. He left me. I remember running to my room and crying like never before and my brother holding me. It was my worst heartbreak. I loved him and he died. It took three months. In June, there was a memorial. My father and my brother both talked about him. I read a poem that I wrote. After, people came up to me. They knew who I was. I was his student who he loved.
2 years later, I got hired for another movie which I had auditioned for when Bill was alive. I turned 17 the day that I had my costume fitting. I got sick that night and lost my voice completely. I had one week before I started shooting. It was fun and great to be back and the last day, everyone clapped. In private, I cried to my manager saying I couldn’t believe I made a movie without Bill.
Every time I went to an audition, I would say a little prayer hoping Bill was there with me in the room. I can’t believe he is no longer here. It is hard to be an actress without him. For the moment, I don’t know how to be an actress. I am giving it up until I graduate.
Acting is the only that makes me happy. It is my first love and I will never forget it. Acting will always remind me of Bill and the bond we shared over acting and movies.