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MELISSA LEO TAKES ON THE FIGHTER

BY ANDREW FISH, PHOTOGRAPHY RAINER HOSCH, HAIR CREIGHTON BOWMAN FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS, MAKEUP SCOTT BARNES
February 2011

 

Knowing Melissa Leo as the fiercely devoted matriarch of The Fighter, a champion of human rights on HBO’s “Treme,” a sacrificial mother in Frozen River, and a dirty cop in last year’s Conviction, it leaves one wide-eyed when meeting her in person. The intense, singleminded vibe of her on-screen roles gives way to an easy, warm thoughtfulness and gently flowing conversation. Winner of this year’s Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for her role as Alice Ward in The Fighter, and nominee for the Best

Actress Academy Award for 2008’s Frozen River, Leo is a strikingly free spirit, which is likely what makes her so open to the compelling characters she plays. Beginning with her mid-’80s stint on “All My Children” and working up to a five-year run on “Homicide: Life on the Street” in the ’90s, she’s been a vessel for fiery personas for quite some time.

She’s portrayed the grief-stricken yet resolute wife of Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams (2003); a sexy and supportive waitress with an extracurricular love life in Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005); a downtrodden alcoholic in Righteous Kill (2008) with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino; a delightfully adept con artist in Don McKay (2009) alongside Thomas Haden Church and Elisabeth Shue; an insightful truck driver in Everybody’s Fine (2009), again with De Niro; and the agoraphobic, estranged wife of James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys (2010), featuring Kristen Stewart. She’s also appeared in 24 Hour Woman (1999) with Rosie Perez, Fear of Fiction (2000) with “True Blood”’s Sam Trammell, and The Dry Land (2010) with America Ferrera. A stage actor as well, Leo performed alongside Anna Paquin and Alison Pill in Neil LaBute's 2004 production of “The Distance from Here.”

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features

HAILEE STEINFELD HAS TRUE GRIT

 

Starring alongside venerable Oscar-winning actors Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon can be intimidating for any actor.

MARY VERNIEU CASTS HER NET AND CATCHES A SWAN

 

If I were to list all the credits of Casting Director Mary Vernieu, there wouldn’t be any room left in this magazine for the interview.

CATCHING UP WITH DAVIS GUGGENHEIM: Four months into the release of Waiting for Superman, glimmers of possible change in public education illuminate the horizon.

Waiting for Superman director Davis Guggenheim might be wishing for a few super-powers of his own with the virtual nonstop schedule he's been keeping to promote  his documentary about the crisis in American public schools, since its release at the end of September.

EMMY ROSSUM RULES THE ROOST

In person, Emmy Rossum is as bubbly and effervescent as a glass of good champagne.

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speedways

Jaime Murray Dons Her Goddess Garb for the Arena

 

As an actor, you have to be able to play and keep the creativity of a child,” says Jaime Murray, reflecting on her decision to leave the London School of Economics to study acting at the Drama Centre London.

Sylvain Chomet The Master of The Illusionist

Following the success of his Oscar-nominated animated film, The Triplets of Belleville (2003), director Sylvain Chomet triumphs once again with The Illusionist.

Jenny Powers: Formidable Talent and Dangerous Beauty

Taking a break from a dress rehearsal at the Pasadena Playhouse, New York stage actor Jenny Powers pauses thoughtfully before explaining why she loves performing on the stage.

Lambert Wilson: Flirting with the Divine in Of Gods and Men

Something strange happened to me with Of Gods and Men,” remarks Lambert Wilson.

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departments
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chow baby

THE TOURIST is Frank (Johnny Depp), a naïve American who is nursing a broken heart on a spur of the moment trip to Europe. On a train to Venice, a mysterious beauty, Elise (Angelina Jolie), appro

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Stay in tune with the cosmic forces that influence our lives with your monthly horoscope, by Eliza DeVries. Venice Magazine’s astrological readings are your window into the possibilities, opportunities and pitfalls that lay ahead for your astrological sign. You can navigate the waters of your relationships, career and finances with greater understanding and confidence, armed with our celestial guide.

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