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Actor of the Month

Leo Oliva

Interviewed by: Jessica Sherman, CSA

1) Has there been a Casting Director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?

Without a doubt, Jessica Sherman. She’s the first CD to be more than just a CD. She’s become a true friend, and even better, one that believes in me. After that, there’s been a slew of CDs like Becky Silverman, Maggie Bacharach and most recently Rachel Tenner and Rick Messina; they have all helped me keep my head up and keep grinding. Thank you all!

2) What work are you most proud of?

I would have to say my career as a whole. One project alone can’t encapsulate all that I’ve learned by being on set and behind closed doors developing projects with so many talented individuals. Most recently, Home Invasion has been a huge accomplishment. Taking a project from script to screen and overcoming so many hurdles to end up cast in it and acting alongside so many talented individuals like Morena Baccarin, John Noble, Paul Blackthorne, it was a dream come true.

3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?

Easy, Tom Hanks in Apollo 13. In fifth grade, my dream was to be an astronaut but I always enjoyed performing and entertaining my friends and family. When I saw Tom in that movie, and realizing he was an actor playing more than just an astronaut, I became aware that I could do both, and more.

4) What was your first IMDBPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it? 

Crisis Point (2008). A docu/re-enactment series. I played the “Assailant”. I was new to LA and I felt like it was the beginning of a beautiful journey and I was ready to put the work in. I had just stepped onto Rung #1 of my ladder.

5) How has IMDBPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?

IMDbPro is the first place all the professionals in the industry go to see who you are, what you’re up to, and what’s coming down the pike. It’s the main source of my most up to date material and it’s what I’ve used to keep everyone abreast of not only what I have done, but also what I am developing. It’s the one link I never forget to attach to all my emails.

6) Any funny casting room stories?

One of the funniest experiences I’ve had in a casting room was actually for my first self produced feature The Shift. I walked into the room meeting my newly hired producer for the first time who was expecting a late forties inexperienced wanna-be actor who had funded his own project. I was twenty-five, energetic and quite good(her words, not mine). When she told me over dinner how pleased she was that I wasn’t the former, we both burst into laughter as I replied, “Me too.”

7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:

When not in front of the camera or behind it, I work as a registered nurse. I may even have taken care of you at one of the local LA Emergency Rooms. :) It’s been a constant motivator in my career. One that informs me of how precious and also fleeting life is. It’s what helped me write my first movie, and also what keeps me grounded in my humanity when I play a new character on screen or on stage.

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