Raw charisma and talent, actress and performer Erica Muscat
Every now and again a role comes along that challenges the status quo. But what of the actor whose choice of roles aims to challenge the status quo over and over again? Erica Muscat (Eleġija, Meanderings) is one of those rare actors whose talent and appeal has led one director after the other to trust her with an unconventional role that would offer a unique spin to a well-known tale. Without her raw charisma and talent, these choices would most certainly have been less than wise.
Hailing from Malta, Erica graduated from the prestigious East 15 Acting School in London. When deciding on her casting options, Erica remembers fondly how her tutor had laughed when a speechless Erica, which she admits is a rare occurrence, was dumbfounded when asked ‘what do you like to do? “I couldn’t think of any two things that would fit into the same ‘like’ bracket. I love Classical music as much as I enjoy Rock and Horse riding calms my nerves in the same way a quiet movie night has me bouncing off the walls.
I thought it would really throw my casting, but instead, they just cast me in completely opposing roles, from dire and despondent army Captains to the flirtatious and youthful Dooniasha in (Chekhov’s) The Cherry Orchard. It was incredible… I saw classmates being cast in relatively consistent roles and I just began to see this dichotomy as a part of my casting”. So she wasn’t quite as shocked when shortly after graduating she began getting cast in completely opposing roles. In 2013 she was cast in William E.P. Davis’ London run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “I got the offer to play Bottom and I thought, ‘male comedic role’… We never held back on the comedy but through Will’s reordering of the scenes and the social implications of Bottom being a woman, the character became the catalyst for the tragedy of the piece.”
This summer Erica is set to play Juliet in a National Run of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to be staged at The Maltese Presidential Gardens. “I consider myself blessed to cross paths with Directors who see my work and are inspired to take a risk”. But the risks pay off. In 2014, one particular Director cast her to play the Bard Himself (Shakespeare), in an original one-man-show by Phil Jacobs called Mad About the Boy. The Director, Menelaos Karantzas, had intentionally omitted mentioning his actor’s name in all correspondence to the producer until the first meeting when he introduced his lead male actor to be an actress instead. “It was just a wee bit worrying because I had no idea what was happening. I’d been offered the role over the phone whilst in LA and I’d flown to London to work on the piece instead of coming back to Malta, which is where I was originally flying back to. Then our first meeting with the producer arrived and Menelaos was pulled aside quietly and I could see the tension and disapproval on the producer’s face. They humored us and let me do my part but, thankfully, the producer absolutely loved Menelaos’ vision. But Menelaos had stuck his neck out and I will be eternally grateful to have been a part of that incredible vision and to have people willing to humor us too…”
It seems highly unlikely that Erica will be slowing down anytime soon. Besides Juliet, she already has another feature screenplay in the works with Writer Kenneth Scicluna and the sky is the limit for this talented and versatile actress.
World class producer Svetlana Samarina
Russian Born Svetlana Samarina is one of the most accomplished producers in her age range. With degrees from; The New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California, The College of Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Russian State Liberal University she is sure to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to any set she finds herself on. Her debut project was “The Planet of Orthodoxy” in 2007 where she acted as Production Manager while also working as Unit Manager for “Pop” by Vladimir Khotinenko in the same year. Following this she worked on
“Horde” by Andrey Proshkin as Production Manager for three years and was the biggest historical feature produced to date, and which won numerous awards in 2012, including but not limited to the Russian National Awards of The Golden Eagle and The Nika. After these accolades Svetlana began working on “The Darkest Hour” as Unit Manager with Summit Entertainment and Bazelevs, the latter being the largest film-production company in Russia. Not wanting to be limited to working in her home country, Svetlana travelled to The United States in 2011 to attain her aforementioned degree and where she is currently working on independent feature projects in Los Angeles, California. In addition to these projects, Svetlana would like to work on Horrors and Sociological Thrillers as they have the highest yield of box-office success for the miniscule budget. Keep an eye out for work produced by Ms. Samarina, her history has proven her to be a jewel in the film community.
The Los Angeles Italia Film Festival screens tonight the red-carpet Premiere of “African Gothic”
Feb 18th, 8.15 pm
TCL Chinese Theatre
Hollywood & Highland
6925 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
“African Gothic,” is the first-ever screen adaptation of Reza de Wet’s masterpiece, ‘Diepe Grond’, which served as an “instrumental weapon in the literary war that toppled Apartheid”
“inspiring cinematography, a brave film”, writes the South African Sunday Times, “a rapier to the heart”, writes the Mercury Paper, Durban South Africa, “A MUST SEE!”, Journalismisiko, South Africa.
Africa Gothic, a film directed by Gabriel Bologna, makes its Los Angeles premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood this evening, Wednesday feb. 18, 8.30 pm. as part of the losangelesitalia film festival. African Gothic has garnered 10 awards internationally including two best film- (Golden Door Int. Film Fest & Toronto African Film Fest) and best screenplay (Golden Door). African Gothic was based on acclaimed South African playwright Reza de Wet’s Diepe Grond. Reza was on the forefront of the theater of struggle movement. Sadly she passed away in 2012.