CAROLINA DE ATHEY

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By Buddy Chambers

In August 2020, I was going to shoot the pilot for an upcoming series that I created called Bionic Beauty.   Describing the pilot (and the show itself) isn’t easy to do. Just imagine someone throwing all 80s nostalgia into a blender and hitting puree. It’s an insane show and concept which is made even more difficult since we had to shoot safely during the COVID19 pandemic. As we took the proper precautions to ensure the safety of our cast and crew, I needed the right actor who would portray the lead, ANA. 

Enter Carolina De Athey.

As soon as Carolina submitted her self-tape, I knew that I found my lead. In the series, ANA is a mechanical being which means that Carolina had to essentially be a machine. But instead of the cliché robotic delivery which would be easy to do, Carolina imbued ANA with the required mechanical traits as well as a dark undercurrent to her which was what I was looking for. Upon speaking to her, Carolina asked all the right questions. She understood the material completely. I found the lead I was looking for.

Working with an actor as prepared and talented as Carolina makes the job so much easier for me. When we started shooting the Bionic Beauty pilot, Carolina instantly immersed herself into character. She was so committed that in between takes, some of our crew members checked with her to make sure that she was indeed human.

Carolina is instinctual and brings so much to the table in every scene that she is in. She’s a dream to work with as a filmmaker. There’s a critical moment near the end of the pilot episode where Carolina did things with her eyes and facial reactions that I honestly didn’t know she could do. In my head, I was going to have her do something more subdued and emotionally muted. As soon as we started filming, she started doing something that was beyond my wildest expectation. She truly took the insane material and took it to another level that I didn’t even think was capable. All of that is thanks to the performance of Carolina.

I’m a firm believer in collaboration. All quality work is a result of the hard work of a variety of people who all come together and contribute. Bionic Beauty is a fine example of this. As much as I felt as if I understood ANA when I wrote the script, I didn’t truly know who this character was until I saw Carolina on set. By the time we wrapped, I had a firm grasp on who this character was and where I wanted to take her. Carolina takes direction incredibly well and has a litany of wonderful ideas that she brought on set as well. It could be as something as simple as the inflection in her voice but in every single take, she provided stellar work.

I had the idea of Bionic Beauty almost three years ago and I could not have picked a better person to portray ANA than Carolina. From her attitude on set, to her performance, the work she puts in, etc.- she is an absolute star. Her work and attitude instantly gain her the respect of her peers. She is the perfect prototype of the type of actor I want to work with (along with the rest of the wonderful cast of Bionic Beauty).

Shooting during a global pandemic definitely was not a part of my initial plans when I wrote the script and envisioned filming the pilot. I had to take incredible lengths to make sure that everyone was going to be safe. We took the proper measures to test, do temperature checks, wear masks and socially distance. During the entire shoot, I had to triple check to make sure my entire crew were going to be all right. I had friends that contracted COVID and I know how horrible it could be to get it. The last thing I wanted was anyone on my set to get it.

Despite the intense precautionary measures that needed to be taken, filming Bionic Beauty was an absolute delight. It may have been the most fun I’ve ever had on a set. All of the actors understood the material and the tone that I was trying to set which is commendable because I kept some information of the entire pilot away from the actors. My reasoning for that was because I did not want the knowledge unknowingly bleeding into their performances. I wanted to keep their minds focused on their characters and not the multi-layered heavily meta world that Bionic Beauty inhabits. By definition, the pilot is a dark comedy but there’s so many layers to the series that I can’t wait for everyone to see.

As we shot the pilot, I saw the way Carolina just fully committed herself to the role. It can’t be easy being essentially a robotic entity and somehow go through a proper character arc. But Carolina did it and she did it amazingly well. During the editing process, I would go through the footage and I was in awe of the wealth of riches I had in terms of the performances and production. Performance wise- every single actor brought it during our shoot. I applaud them for their hard work and I applaud the members of our crew. From cinematography, score, makeup… I feel like a proud parent.

Of the multitude of things that I admire about Carolina, the thing that I probably enjoy the most is her adaptability. Admittedly, when I put something to page and I plan to shoot, I know I can put an actor through an ordeal. A lot of my characters go through a tremendous amount. Bionic Beauty is no exception and the character of ANA has to go through a lot. I was worried that Carolina might not too happy about how crazy I wanted to elevate the tone of the project.

How wrong I was.

Carolina embraced the challenges of her character and welcomed anything that I would throw her way. Whether it would be an emotional cue on command as we shot in one take or whether it was taking herself to a dark corner of her nature, there was no hesitation. Carolina raced head-on to the challenges and for me, that is so fun. I like to challenge myself and in turn, my cast and crew and someone who adapts and conquers these challenges is a joy to work with. Carolina possesses that quality.

Working with Carolina is so easy, I forget at times that it is work. She understands the little nuances and quirks that I like to put into a character or scene. I cannot wait until the rest of the world sees what she does in Bionic Beauty. I guarantee you, you may think you know…

But you have no clue. Bionic Beauty is in a league of its own.

Carolina De Athey is a big part of the success of the pilot. When you see her, you’ll know what I know… She is a star. https://www.instagram.com/carolinadeathey/

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