Here is an article that was in the paper today!
By Deborah Gauthier/staff writer
You could say it runs in the family, though it took more than a few years for Donna Glee Reim, 80, of Whitinsville, to answer the call to the stage. Not so for her granddaughter, Meredith Prunty, 15, of Hopkinton. Reim started her acting career when she was 77; Prunty when she was 14.
It all started after a heart attack at 72, Reim said, when she stopped working as a psychiatric nurse. She’s always been a big fan of movies, she said, and her daughter Moira, feeling that her mother needed to get out of the house, suggested she sign on with casting agents.
She did, four years ago, and hasn’t looked back. Reim has worked on more than 20 films, including Shutter Island, where she is a psychiatric nurse, Pink Panther II, where she’s a patron in a restaurant, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, where she plays the mother of Richard Gere, and Bride’s War, where she sits near Kate Hudson and Ann Hathaway as they try to reconcile their differences. And in the process, she’s met movie greats like Leonardo DiCaprio, Steve Martin, and of course, Gere and Hudson and Hathaway.
And the pay isn’t bad, either. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, she receives $134 per day on the days she’s called. And she recently received $500 for a half days work for a print advertising job.
“It’s just a fun thing to do,” Reim said. “I like to say I’m rocking, but I don’t need a chair.” She encouraged her granddaughter to pursue her interest in acting, as well, and “she’s really taken off,’’ Reim said. Meredith’s mother, Suzanne Prunty, said her daughter started taking acting lessons about a year ago from Jodi Purdy at South Shore Casting and Boston Casting, and Purdy cast Meredith in her first film, “The Rude, the Mad and the Funny’’ due out this summer. And she had a starring role in Michael and Marisa’s anti-bullying music video “The Same” where she plays a student who is bullied.
“She actually is a natural, and she literally brought the cast and crew to tears when she was playing the role of the victim on “The Same’’ video. The director had tears in her eyes and walked past me away from the set. I thought something was wrong, but she said, ‘no, Meredith is that good,’’ Prunty said.
“I welcomed the role as it is thought provoking and sends a loud message,’’ Meredith said. “Teens can make a difference when it comes to bullying by speaking out against it, and I am glad Michael and Marisa wrote the song.’’ It is doing well globally, and has been aired on CNN, Yahoo!Kids and PBS Go Kids! In addition, “The Same’’ is played on Build a Bear Workshop’s website.
That performance likely lead to her next role, starring as “Valerie’’ in the film “Abused in America” which takes on child mistreatment. She plays a runaway trying to make it on the streets, Prunty said. It will be filmed in Romania beginning next month. She was chosen by the writer/director, Bruno Pischiutta, president of Toronto Pictures Inc. His latest film – “Punctured Hope: A story about Trokosi and Young Girls Slavery in today’s West Africa’’ was named best film expose and best film on human rights by The Political Film Society. Pischiutta also wrote “Abused in America.” “I don’t want to make people cry about the abuse of children in America,’’ he said. “I want to make them scream,’’ because it’s something that should not, but does, happen.
He noted that 10 percent of profits from the film will be donated to Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services in Pasadena, Calif. where children with addictions are treated rather than jailed. The program has an 80 percent success rate, he said.
He hopes the film, which will be released in New York, Los Angeles and Bucharest in October or November, will catch the attention of the Academy Awards. “This can be a very important film for Meredith,’’ he said, and he hopes it will also be a great experience for Meredith and her mother, who plays the part of her mother in the film. He chose Meredith, he said, because “it is a very dramatic part,” and something she has proven she can do. She was chosen from thousands of applicants and after an extensive audition process which including a viewing of her performance in “The Same.” Meredith is a freshman at Hopkinton High School where she is a varsity cheerleader. She answered some questions about her plans for the future.
“If my nana can become an entertainer when she’s almost 80, just think of the endless opportunities I will have,’’ Meredith said. “It is a very exciting thought.’’
She answered some questions about her plans for the future.
Q: How did you get started?
A: My Nana suggested I give it a try, so I enrolled in some acting classes. I also did some theater work and from those experiences I was hooked. I began auditioning for a role that I felt were a good fit for me. The payoff so far has been five films and two music videos in the last year. It is fun and I love it. Actually, a person has to love it to get up at 4 a.m. on their day off. Currently, my weekends are spent either rising early to be-set or driving to various auditions.
Q: How to you prepare for an audition?
A: I read the script and try to understand the character. On occasion, I carry a short dramatic monologue with me in case a script isn’t available. I always give 150 percent at the interview so if I don’t get the part – it was because I was not right for the job. For example, I auditioned for the role of “Mattie Ross’’ in the Coen Brothers 2010 remake of “True Grit.” Though I didn’t get the part and I was disappointed, I realized that in the end I was not a good fit for the role. I had braces at the same which didn’t help since the Wild West wasn’t big on cosmetic dentistry. Hailee Steinfeld, who did get the part, did a great job and I’m happy for her.
Q. Do you have a role model?
A. When it comes to acting, that would be my Nana who started acting in movies when she turned 77 years old. Also, my mom because she does multiple duties serving as my chauffeur, publicity agent and manager. She has taught me how important it is to always maintain professionalism and that one can succeed in life if you first start with a plan. Things aren’t going to happen unless you figure out how to make it happen.
Q. What do you most enjoy about being an actress?
A. As a typical teen, I have a lot of turbulent emotions. One advantage of acting is that I am able to funnel those feelings constructively. I also enjoy engaging in thought-provoking scenarios that will ultimately relay a message that may be otherwise difficult to express.
Q. What role would you love to play?
A. Any role opposite someone who is believable. I want to look into the other actors eyes and know it’s real – so real that there are no cameras, no crew, just the characters. It becomes magical when that happens – there is a connection that is indescribable. Of course, if I had a choice, I can think of a lot of actors I would pick to work with, but the first that comes to mind is Leonardo DiCaprio because my Nana worked with him on the set of “Shutter Island’’ and she said he was not only a consummate professional, but really sweet man.
Q. In addition to acting, what goes on in your life?
A. I maintain high grades because education is important. I also volunteer because I believe people should give back to their community or commit themselves to a cause they believe in. And I am a varsity cheerleader for my school, which is important because my team is like family. They offer great support and are always there for me.
Q. What’s your next move?
A. I want to continue walking the same path. I have been taking on several acting projects. In the works is a lead role on a webisode about three girls who have supernatural powers called Chop Chicks. I also enjoy working on Boston University Student Films projects, and I would very much like to be a part of some of the wonderful film projects coming to Massachusetts this year. There are quite a few, so it is very exciting.
For additional information, visit http://www.meredithprunty.com. or visit Meredith Prunty on her public Facebook page.
Deb Gauthier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org