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Angela Bassett

012 Yolonda Ross on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

Yolonda Ross

Yolonda Ross 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

Grace of Intuition

Yolonda Ross can currently be seen reprising her role as the no-nonsense single mother ‘Jada’ in the fourth season of Showtime’s acclaimed series, The Chi. The show was created by Emmy award winner Lena Waithe that explores the interconnectedness of a neighborhood community of characters on the South Side of Chicago, featuring current storylines that range from defunding the police to her character’s fight against breast cancer.

An independent film darling, Yolonda made her feature film debut in the award-winning independent film Stranger Inside in 2001. Yolonda went on to win an IFP Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for the role, as well as received her first Film Independent Spirit Award nomination in the category of Best Debut Performance. In 2014, her work in the John Sayles film Go For Sisters garnered her a second Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She appeared in Denzel Washington’s award-winning feature Antwone Fisher, as well as the independent films Yelling To the Sky opposite Zoe Kravitz, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, Lila and Eve starring Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez, Whitney directed by Angela Bassett for the Lifetime Movie Network, Annie Silverstein’s Bull, Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, Ana Lily Amirpour’s Bad Batch, Nuotama Bodomo’s Afronauts, and Elegance Bratton’s award-winning short film Walk For Me, in which Yolonda starred and produced.

Yolonda has also portrayed recurring characters on several high-profile series including, Ms. Green in the Baz Luhrmann Netflix series The Get Down, Claudia on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, and her role as documentarian Dana Lyndsey on HBO’s Treme. Additional television credits include guest starring roles on Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 24, and Chicago PD. She was featured in the PBS American Masters documentary How it Feels To Be Free, about Trailblazing African American Women Entertainers.

Yolonda made her directorial debut with the 10-minute hybrid short film/music video Breaking Night, about a young girl taking control of her destiny. The short film officially became the music video for the famed Manfred Mann song, “Blinded By the Light,” and was in rotation on VH-1 Classics.

Most recently she performed in David Mamet’s newest play Four American Women during the pandemic. The two have developed a mutual admiration of each other’s work which inspired him to write for Yolonda the roles of Nora in the hit show The Unit, and Kelly in the biopic Phil Spector for HBO.

As a writer and director, Yolonda is currently developing her feature debut, Scenes From Our Marriage, along with other film and television projects.


Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“I am placed here for a reason. I am placed her for Black women.”

“I use music for everything. I understood emotion through music so dialogue kind of became lyrics to me. I used my repertoire of music to understand how to evoke emotion.”

“I will ask other actors about scents because there’s a certain memory you get when you smell people. If we start working together I will ask them what they like so I can wear it for them.”


Credits:

  • WRITER: Juan Francisco Villa
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes

Laurence Fishburne on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

100: Laurence Fishburne

100: Laurence Fishburne 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

Discipline. Desire. Dedication. A Forty-Year Career Retrospective

One of Hollywood’s most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His mother transplanted her family to Brooklyn after his parents divorced. At the age of 10, he appeared in his first play, “In My Many Names and Days,” at a cramped little theater space in Manhattan. He continued on but managed to avoid the trappings of a child star per se, considering himself more a working child actor at the time. Billing himself as Larry Fishburne during this early phase, he never studied or was trained in the technique of acting. In 1973, at the age of 12, Laurence won a recurring role on the daytime soap One Life to Live (1968) that lasted three seasons and subsequently made his film debut in the ghetto-themed Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975). At 14 Francis Ford Coppola cast him in Apocalypse Now (1979), which filmed for two years in the Philippines. Laurence didn’t work for another year and a half after that long episode. A graduate of Lincoln Square Academy, Coppola was impressed enough with Laurence to hire him again down the line with featured roles in Rumble Fish (1983), The Cotton Club (1984), and Gardens of Stone (1987).

Throughout the 1980s, he continued to build up his film and TV credit list with featured roles despite little fanfare. A recurring role as Cowboy Curtis on the kiddie show Pee-wee’s Playhouse (1986) helped him through whatever lean patches there were at the time. With the new decade (1990s) came out-and-out stardom for Laurence. A choice lead in John Singleton‘s urban tale Boyz n the Hood (1991) catapulted him immediately into the front of the film ranks. Set in LA’s turbulent South Central area, his potent role as a morally minded divorced father who strives to rise above the ignorance and violence of his surroundings, Laurence showed true command and the ability to hold up any film. On stage, he would become invariably linked to playwright August Wilson and his 20th Century epic African-American experience after starring for two years as the eruptive ex-con in “Two Training Running.” For this powerful, mesmerizing performance, Laurence won nearly every prestigious theater award in the books (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Theatre World). It was around the time of this career hallmark that he began billing himself as “Laurence” instead of “Larry.” More awards and accolades came his way. In addition to an Emmy for the pilot episode of the series “Tribeca,” he was nominated for his fine work in the quality mini-movies The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) and Miss Evers’ Boys (1997).

On the larger screen, both Laurence and Angela Bassett were given Oscar nominations for their raw, seething portrayals of rock stars Ike and Tina Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993). To his credit, he managed to take an extremely repellent character and make it a sobering and captivating experience. A pulp box-office favorite as well, he originated the role of Morpheus, Keanu Reeves‘ mentor, in the exceedingly popular futuristic sci-fi The Matrix (1999), best known for its ground-breaking special effects. He wisely returned for its back-to-back sequels. Into the millennium, Laurence extended his talents by making his screenwriting and directorial debut in Once in the Life (2000), in which he also starred. The film is based on his own critically acclaimed play “Riff Raff,” which he staged five years earlier. In 1999, he scored a major theater triumph with a multi-racial version of “The Lion in Winter” as Henry II opposite Stockard Channing‘s Eleanor of Acquitaine. On film, Fishburne has appeared in a variety of interesting roles in not-always-successful films. Never less than compelling, a few of his more notable parts include an urban speed chess player in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993); a military prisoner in Cadence (1990); a college professor in Singleton’s Higher Learning (1995); a CIA operative in Bad Company (1995); the title role in Othello (1995) (he was the first black actor to play the part on film); a spaceship rescue team leader in the sci-fi horror Event Horizon (1997); a Depression-era gangster in Hoodlum (1997); a dogged police sergeant in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River (2003); a spelling bee coach in Akeelah and the Bee (2006); and prominent roles in the mainstream films Predators (2010) and Contagion (2011). He returned occasionally to the theatre. In April 2008, he played Thurgood Marshall in the one-man show “Thurgood” and won a Drama Desk Award. It was later transferred to the screen.

In the fall of 2008, Fishburne replaced William Petersen as the male lead investigator on the popular CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), but left the show in 2011 to refocus on films and was in turn replaced by Ted Danson. Since then Fishburne has appeared in the Superman film Man of Steel (2013) as Daily Planet chief Perry White.

Currently, Laurence is starring on Black-ish and the Quibi show #FreeRayshawn.

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Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“It takes at least twenty years to make an actor. The good news is…if you start late, you can always play old people.”

“You can’t do it all well at the same time.”

“We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.”

“Discipline. Desire. Dedication. If you have those three things and you keep at it, it may not turn out the way you want it to, but it might just turn out better than you expected.”

 


095: Peter Facinelli

095: Peter Facinelli 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

Do Your Best Work, The Subjectivity of Art

No stranger to Hollywood, Peter Facinelli’s craft as a leading man has undoubtedly created a strong foothold that has transcended from the spotlight as actor, to behind the camera as a notable director, writer, and producer.

With a myriad of credits under his belt, Facinelli is likely most recognized for his starring role as Doctor Carlisle Cullen in the blockbuster TWILIGHT franchise, based on Stephenie Meyer’s #1 New York Times bestselling literary series. Next up for Facinelli is the STX film COUNTDOWN starring opposite Elizabeth Lail, P.J. Byrne, and Jordan Calloway, as well as RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL (September 13th, 2019 release) starring opposite Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, and Leslie Bibb,

Facinelli recently completed his second directorial feature HOUR OF LEAD, which he also wrote starring Anne Heche, Thomas Jane, and Jason Patric. He made his debut as a director last year with the indie sensation “Breaking and Exiting,” starring Jordan Hinson and Milo Gibson.

Additional recent credits include the 1920’s mobster pic GANGSTER LAND, the thriller ASHER, opposite Famke Janssen, Ron Perlman and Richard Dreyfuss, Damian Harris’ indie feature THE WILDE WEDDING opposite John Malkovich and Glenn Close, as well as the Chris Silverton thriller HEARTTHROB starring Lone Skye and Keir Gilchrist.

Other past film credits include the cult classic “Can’t Hardly Wait,” opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt, FREEZER, with Dylan McDermott; Penny Marshall’s RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS, with Drew Barrymore; THE SCORPION KING, opposite Dwayne Johnson; the dramedy FINDING AMANDA, with Matthew Broderick; TEMPTED, with Burt Reynolds and Saffron Burroughs; a starring role in Walter Hills’ sci-fi thriller SUPERNOVA, with James Spader and Angela Bassett; THE BIG KAHUNA, opposite Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito; DANCER, TEXAS, POP.81; FOXFIRE, alongside Angelina Jolie..

Despite success on the silver screen, Facinelli has also made his mark in television with such credits as the CBS Drama S.W.A.T. as Michael Plank, and Dr. Fitch Cooper on the full seven season run of Showtime’s hit dramedy NURSE JACKIE. Among its numerous accolades, the series earned Emmy, SAG, Golden Globe, and Writers Guild Award nominations, as well as being named one of AFI’s Top Ten Television Shows of 2009.

Facinelli additionally portrayed villain “Maxwell Lord” in the first season of the hit CBS show SUPERGIRL, and starred opposite Anna Friel in NBC’s drama AMERICAN ODYSSEY in 2015. He also appeared in
GLEE, DAMAGES, HBO’s SIX FEET UNDER, for which he shared the cast’s 2005 nomination for the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama; as well as a starring role in FASTLANE in 2003.

In 2010 Facinelli started the production company A7sle Films. Its first feature, LOOSIES, was a
fast-paced dramatic comedy that Facinelli wrote and starred in about a clever and romantic pickpocket in
the New York City subways. It co-starred Michael Madsen, Jaimie Alexander, Vincent Gallo, and Joe
Pantoliano. The company later partnered with FilmDistrict to produce the true story horror picture THE
LAST WORD, based on a documentary of the same name about Johnny Frank Garrett, which premiered
at the Austin Film Festival in 2016, and was directed by acclaimed indie director Simon Rumley. The company has additionally produced projects across film, TV, and digital platforms with Electus, 5×5, Boom Comics, College Humor, YouTube, ISH, and ARC Productions.

A man of many trades, Facinelli augmented his writing repertoire in 2015 when he co-wrote After the Red Rain, a YA novel with New York Times best-selling author Barry Lyga, which was distributed by Little Brown Company. It is a dystopian novel set in a future world of environmental collapse and mass poverty, where a mysterious boy named Rose discovers that he possesses inhuman powers that can irrevocably change the lives of everyone on the planet.

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Facinelli splits his time between New York and Los Angeles.

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Resources

LINKS:
PRESS:
QUOTES:

“Agents don’t get jobs, they get you opportunities.”

“Agents don’t get jobs, they get you opportunities.”


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ALYSHIA OCHSE

Los Angeles-based actress, bestselling author, host of That One Audition podcast, entrepreneur, & mother.

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