By Ellen Douglas
With two new films and the recent debut of the hot new show “Out There”, Melissa DiMarco’s already bright star is shooting higher and shining even brighter these days.
Melissa DiMarco is one of Canada’s most recognizable talents. An impressive résumé of starring, supporting and recurring roles in both film and television, which include The Thin Blue Lie with Paul Sorvino and Randy Quaid, Duct Tape Forever with Steve Smith, Death to Smoochy with Robin Williams; DiGrassz: The Next Generation, Red Green, Wild Card, Relic Hunter, Blue Murder and Riverdale to name but a few. When asked about the diversity of roles she’s done, Melissa replied, “As a performer I enjoy the broad range I’ve been able to portray. It’s great when a casting director or producer thinks of me for something out of the norm, it’s an excellent opportunity to stretch”.
Her latest film roles include starring as Pete Rose’s wife, Carol, in Director Peter Bogdanovich and ESPN’s recent production of ‘Hustle – The Pete Rose Story’, as well as playing the voice of Tess, the canine love interest to Jon Lovitz’s character Bailey, in the family feature ‘Bailey’ to be released in February 2005. Melissa speaks highly of these filmmaking experiences, enthusiastically offering –
“Working with artists like Peter Bogdanovich and Tom Sizemore; wow, everybody comes together and breathes life into a story – being there was such an adrenaline rush and really reminded me of why I chose to do this for a living!”The many (many) viewers and fans of Melissa DiMarco know that she’s beautiful and talented. Those who actually know her also know that she’s witty, altruistic, intelligent and has a head for business. As the writer on her latest project, the television series “Out There”, I’ve had the opportunity to both watch and discuss some of the changes that are sweeping through my busy friend’s life.
Melissa’s career expands far beyond her work in front of the camera. For over five years she has been a story producer and host on a variety of prime time specials, she has also hosted and produced the entertainment segment ‘Nite Life’ on OMNI as a lead in to David letterman. During this stint she gained an enviable reputation as a gregarious and insightful interviewer, not only introducing ground breaking directors, actors and industry people, but also attracting top stars, such as Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis and John Travolta.
When asked about the efforts involved in hosting and producing, Melissa laughed “Sleep, who needs it?”
She also recently hosted and produced ‘Dreamseeker’; a documentary profiling Winnipeg-native Nia Vardalos of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ fame and her 20-year journey to stardom, under her production shingle, DiMarco Entertainment. “I had this idea that I felt would utilize all of my industry skills. It’s a project that’s close to my heart, being about someone who believed in herself enough to pursue a career faced with a lot of challenges. Even the talented often fail in this business”. The result was a great program now backed by a solid distributor.
Melissa’s latest endeavor is the role of creator, producer and star in her own half-hour television program, “Out There”, which follows the trials and tribulations of a seasoned entertainment broadcaster as she ‘gets her story’. A humorous peek at the behind the scenes efforts involved in getting that movie or rock star interview; this new show is sure to be compared to the likes of The Larry Sanders Show or Curb Your Enthusiasm – with a twist. “It’s actually different on numerous levels” Melissa offered “Those other shows are entirely scripted with fictional characters. Our show is based on real experiences, real people”. The writing and story telling is pulled from the humorous and astute experiences and observations of Melissa and her experienced team, evolving around the interviews and the variety of things that can (and have) occurred in this crazy business of marketing show business.
The “Out There” cast and crew were hand picked by Melissa herself. She fondly lists them off, with something to say about each: “I’ve worked with Story Producer Adam Pal for years, he has experience on both sides of the camera and is really well-rounded. He has a comedic, unconventional approach that really works. Ron Camilleri is the show’s Music Composer and one of the best out there for TV and Film, and I love that he comes from both the artistic and the business side of the music world. Ellen Douglas, the show’s writer is not only a great writer; she has a great overall sensibility about this business, a good combo. Our fantastic Research Assistant, Shallima Maharaj, brings to the mix a real knack for finding information like no other. Keith “Kid Rock” Correa, a well-known Entertainment Promoter in the Toronto area will be bringing a lot of great guest elements to the mix; what can I say about Keith? He’s the man! And Philip “Flip” Dixon, the Intern, well, he’s this fun skateboarding teen with such a passion for filmmaking – he’s great. I chose all of these people, basically because they all get it, which makes everything really work”. The show is also supported by numerous behind the scenes professionals, family members and friends, many of whom will be making appearances.
Sit in on one story meeting and it quickly becomes obvious that the warmth and respect that Melissa has for her crew is returned ten fold. The “Out There” team assembles this program as though they’d been working together for years, resulting in a humorous, quality program that’s (almost) as much fun as the work.
Melissa smiles “I really believe “Out There” has wide appeal because it’s how we get the scoop, reliving actual experiences in a spontaneous, quirky manner – a lot of fun!”An entertaining and revealing half hour, peppered with interviews, information and appearances by favorite top celebrities, starring an effervescent and talented babe; better keep an eye on Melissa DiMarco’s star, pretty soon it might be out of sight!(Catch “Out There” on OMNI television, after Thursday’s Letterman, Friday’s 12:35 AM.)
Melissa’s fashions provided by Paula Lishman Designs & Bart Leather, www.bartleather.com.
Ellen Douglas is a freelance writer working in television, film and print media. For more information on Ellen see: www.semanticproductions.com.