The key word in typecast is Cast. In this unpredictable industry known as Entertainment one must be prepared to strap themselves in for the roller coaster ride that is Hollywood. Although exciting, the dips and turns in this schizophrenic business can be disheartening and a challenge in itself. As an actress I find myself grateful to be cast at all. I am humbled to be a working actress in a time where the ‘Name Game’ is most often the way to get your foot in the door.
I have had the pleasure of working in several areas of the acting field but my most notable role to date was that of ‘Shawna’ in Lionsgate/Machinima’s successful web series turned television series ‘Bite Me’. In this cult hit I portrayed a former sexy waitress who transitions to a full on zombie slayer. Prior to the good fortune of ‘Bite Me’ I had prided myself in being considered a versatile performer. My roles ranged from that of the Girl Next Door to Vampire. I was enjoying that journey until it abruptly came to an end. My agent at the time as well as myself were being contacted to depict again and again what I like to call the Sex Bomb role. A light that I was not normally inclined to be seen in. Although frustrated, I was working and meeting several casting directors. I was acting but I wasn’t being fulfilled. I did have moments where I got to be the Funny Girl but I was yearning for something different. Actresses such as Jessica Chastain as well as Charlize Theron have both expressed their own struggles with being typecast early on in their careers. If these amazingly talented ladies could pull themselves from the vortex of redundancy perhaps I could.
My endeavor to have others see me in a different light were met with mixed reactions from my fellow actors such as ‘Be grateful, you’re working’ or ‘You’re not a name, beggars can’t be choosers’. First of all, I never said I wasn’t grateful and I am certainly no beggar. With similar statements from other respectable people in the Industry I was left with the fearful thought of ‘Am I okay with being typecast?’. After much deliberation I had grown comfortable with the prospect that in these crazy times at least I was being Cast. At the root of it all I am an actress with a young and budding career who is pleased to be doing what I love…acting. It was during filming on the second season of ‘Bite Me’ that a seed was planted that would change everything.
When I was approached by the CB Collective run by the talented directing and producing team of Brandon Nicholas and Courtney Salmon, I was thrilled to be included in their feature film ‘LIMBUS’. The story of ‘Limbus’ follows four cult members stuck in purgatory forced to face the demons of their former lives in order to cross over to the other side. This duo presented me with a character that was a departure from most roles that I had played. I was born to be ‘Reina’. Shot in Los Angeles and Vermont, the adventure that was Reina enabled me to utilize acting strengths that I had yet to use. The entire team waited with expectant fervor for the premiere of ‘Limbus’.
Soon after filming this thriller I was met more often than not with the same trial as I had faced before. I was being called in for the ‘Sex Bomb’. All was not lost in my mind. I told myself to be patient and to change my look for the time being. That yielded a small shift, producing auditions for roles like ‘Funny Girl’ or ‘News Anchor’. Not exactly the change I was looking for but it was something. It wasn’t until last week that my hopes were realized. ‘LIMBUS’ premiered at the United Film Festival in Los Angeles to a sold out audience. Seated in the crowd were producers, my representation alongside casting directors that I had worked with in the past. To my joy and gratification their critiques were delivered to me ‘I’ve never seen you in this light before’, ‘Wow what a departure for you, Dani. Something to be proud of’. It may be a week later but I still have a smile frozen across my face.
Hollywood is unstable and yet very whimsical. I do not know what the future may hold for me or for ‘Limbus’. What I can say is that I have hope. I have proof that I am a versatile actress and will have success. Of course there will be times where people will be less encouraging and harshly critical. I did not need the validation of others. I had to validate myself. By getting out of my own way I was able to depart this actress from typecasting Dani Lennon.