Published Thursday June 4th, 2009
"Isn't it ironic?" laments Alanis Morissette, but living proof is soon to be displayed, for all to see, by Angela Cullins, as the lead actress in the Global Universal Inc. feature film "American Sunset". Playing alongside the reenergized Corey Haim and New York's dynamo Frank Molina in this suspense-filled thriller, written and produced by Jackie Giroux, Cullins is ecstatic. "My dream is coming true, hell it's every actor's dream, to have a lead role in a major production," proclaims Cullins. "I have to almost pinch myself because not only has it happened but to have it happen here in New Brunswick is surreal!"
Angela Cullins plays Samantha in the production American Sunset. American Sunset, shot in the Moncton and Fredericton area, is a suspense-filled turnstile of emotional demons engulfing one man's obsession to be in the real moment amidst his wife's abduction by a man he believes is a crazed kidnapper. Corey Haim plays "Tom", an ex-soldier home from Iraq who is on the edge as the police are unable to help find his wife "Samantha" (Angela Cullins). As Giroux says "a sinister voice calls up and gives clues that must be followed. It's completely action-filled; you have no idea who the good or bad guy is."
Cullins is beautiful, sexy and talented but then again so are thousands of other actresses looking for just that type of role, so what made her stand out?
"Well, imagine her thoughts when I turned her away from a part in Blue Seduction because she was too beautiful." laughs American Sunset writer and Producer Jackie Giroux. "My director on the production of Blue Seduction felt she would be too distracting because the audience would be fixated on her and not the story! So I already knew I would audition her for American Sunset and it is a perfect fit."
Cullins is indeed all that and more, but it is amazing to see the chemistry amongst the actors as she fits in comfortably and is totally at ease. Even more astounding is to see her interaction with crew members as she is constantly joking and messing with them. This is no act on her part as she knows many of them from her earlier acting days in New Brunswick. "She is just Angela to us and hangs with us when time permits," says Michel Guitard (Camera Dept). "Pretentious is not in her style in any way."
Seeing all these familiar faces brought back memories of being a young girl, as many before her have, idolizing Marilyn Monroe. "I loved her style, her sense of being," Cullins says. "She was my touchstone in believing acting was my destiny." That is her inspiration for acting but her true role model is her mother, Gloria. "My mom has been my inspiration, motivator, fan/critic, and my foundation of strength through good and bad. To have her alongside me on this incredible journey is so special I am almost bursting with pride!"
Cullins attended the University of New Brunswick, delving into psychology and the fine arts program. Her theatrical background in drama involved plays based on the works of George Bernard Shaw, and Bertoit Brecht. Next up was a lead actress role in Gia Milani's
"Bathroom Stalled", which was an award- winning short film (NB Film Coop). For her efforts she was awarded the Best Actress at the New Brunswick Silver Wave Film Festival. In order to obtain maximum exposure and opportunity she felt a move to Toronto was in order.
In Toronto, she did a number of commercials, a variety of smaller projects, and was also involved in the music scene. Appeared in Music Videos including Johnny Reid's "Love Sweet Love" and was front and centre at the CCMA's in Saint John, NB (2006) as the opening act "Girl On A Billboard" for Road Hammer. Still, she was looking for that elusive breakthrough which has finally happened with "American Sunset".
In preparing for her first lead role in a feature of this magnitude and the emotional gauntlet she must run, requisites incorporating life experiences into her character. Cullins is a method actor, which entails embracing the total essence of her character. "To get to where I want to be I must be in character 24/7 or just near its shadow ready to be encompassed at a moments notice"
In American Sunset she plays Samantha (Corey Haims' wife) who is kidnapped and held hostage. Left to ponder her fate at the hands of her abductor forced Cullins to deal with emoting fear of what was to happen to her. Would she be raped, killed, or just abandoned? "This took me deep inside on an emotional discovery to places I had never been before," said Cullins. "It was exhilarating yet draining ... Our Director, Michael Masucci, is what we call an actors director, he is brilliant in drawing me to a plateau I had never been".
What was it like for Cullins to work with Haims and Molina? "Absolutely great, from day one right to the end we bonded as if silently agreeing to give Jackie's film the top treatment it deserved," says Cullins "We played off one another and included guiding each other through the really tough parts What I really loved, was the respect and equal treatment they afforded me in my work with them."
The trailer for "American Sunset is running at Cannes with plans to have the movie at the LA Film Festival. Cullins will be off to LA but the success of "American Sunset" may well see her back home again.