Teen Movieline: Shiri’s Movie Memoirs
Thanks to everyone who let me know that Shiri was in the Spring 2001 issue of Teen Movieline.
Teen Movieline Spring 2001
“Shiri’s Movie Memoirs”
Shiri Appleby was sent zillions of movie scripts during her first season as waitress/high school student/alien lover Liz Parker on “Roswell.” What she decided to do during her summer break from the hit WB series was the drama A Time for Dancing, which will come out later this year. What appealed to Shiri about the film was that she was able to play a dancer (she used to be a ballerina) and that the character, Samantha Russell, goes through a crisis when she learns her best friend, Jules Michaels (Larisa Oleynik from 10 Things I Hate About You ), has cancer. Shane West from “Once and Again” plays her boyfriend.
A Role of A Lifetime
“A journal. I have to write a journal about the movie I made last summer. I guess I should start off by talking about how I got the role. I read the script and I cried. That rarely happens. I’ve read scripts in the past that have made me feel something, but I could never get past the casting director because I wasn’t a ‘name.’ I have always understood that concept, but I didn’t want to let that happen to me again.”
“The day I read the script, I drove home from the set of ‘Roswell’ listening to Dave Matthews. For some reason, his voice triggered something inside me about the character, Samantha Russell. I know this sounds weird because I thought it was weird when it happened. I just sort of understood the character all of a sudden. So I went home and wrote down everything I was thinking.” “The next day I got an hour off from ‘Roswell’ and drove over to the casting office for A Time for Dancing. I had what I’d written in my back pocket. I didn’t know why, I just did. While I was sitting in the waiting room, I got incredibly nervous. Finally, I was called into the room and saw six faces starring at me. I sort of froze, and that is just so not like me. I’m usually pretty good in those situations. The director asked if I had any questions. Finally, I opened my mouth to say ‘No, I think I’m OK,’ but instead I said. ‘I have something to read to you.’ It caught them by surprise and I was surprised, too. I pulled the paper out of my back pocket and read what I had written. While I was reading, my nerves went away and I just felt anger, my character’s anger. It was such a weird thing to do at an audition, but for some reason I didn’t care. I still have that piece of paper.”
“My first day on the set was sort of a blur. All I remember thinking is. ‘I’m making a movie. Is it different from television?’ For the nine months before I had been playing Liz on ‘Roswell.’ I got a kick out of how sensitive she was, but it was time to try something new. Sam Russell couldn’t be more different. She’s emotionally closed off, and tends to see the glass half-empty. I remember thinking how refreshing it was to play a different character.”
“When I got the part of Sam, I asked the casting director who would be playing my best friend, Jules. Sam and Jules have been close since childhood, but the only thing they have in common is that they dance. One day their worlds fall apart when Jules is diagnosed with cancer. The casting director couldn’t tell me who Jules was right away for some reason, but all she kept saying was that she was great and that I would love her. Larisa was that girl. I don’t know the sequence of events that led us to become great friends. I wish I did. Maybe it was because she laughed at all of my lame jokes. For some reason we knew we could trust each other and be honest.”
“I’m so proud to be part of this project and its message. It was an amazing experience for me. I learned so much from working with such a gifted group of people. I hope you enjoy watching the movie as much as I enjoyed making it.”