'White' space, by way of 'Pasadena'
HOMETOWN: Palm Desert, Calif.
FAVORITE ACTORS: Sean Penn, Philip Seymour Hoffman
NEXT PROJECT: There is nothing scheduled at this point.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?: “Hopefully with a Broadway role under my belt.”
WHY DID YOU BECOME AN ACTOR?: “I was always torn between wanting to be a singer and actor, but as a singer, because of my age bracket, I would have been one of many; possibly just another pop princess. With acting, my possibilities are limitless.”
Be it a coincidence or, perhaps, a prophetic moment, Alison Lohman read Janet Fitch’s bestseller “White Oleander” a few years ago and felt an immediate attachment to the book’s protagonist, Astrid.
“This is a character I would love to play,” Lohman recalls of the mental note she made to herself. “It was a secret wish. I did not even know there was an ‘Oleander’ script. I really took this story to heart.”
As luck would have it, the now-22-year-old actress was not the only one to envision the novel — which concerns a young girl who lands in a number of foster homes after being separated from her jail-bound mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) — beyond its pages.
Warner Bros. greenlit a bigscreen adaptation of “Oleander,” and in spring 2000 the studio kicked off a multiple-city search to find its very own Astrid to co-star along with Pfeiffer, Renee Zellweger and Robin Wright-Penn.
“When I heard about the auditions, I had just finished shooting ‘Dragonfly’ and I had a shaved head from the role. I thought no way will I get the part,” Lohman says. “I wore a wig to the audition and put it on the wrong way.”
With or without hair, Lohman landed a meeting with helmer Peter Kosminsky and was asked to screen-test the next day; her approval soon followed.
“Alison is in rarefied company with this cast and she holds her own as people who have seen the film will attest,” Kosminsky says.
While Lohman first got her feet wet in such indies as “Delivering Milo” and “Alex in Wonder,” the thesp has been taking the stage, as both a singer and actress, since she was a youngster in Palm Springs, Calif. On a few occasions she performed back-up for Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and the Desert Symphony.
At 17, Lohman was offered a scholarship to NYU, but opted to try her hand in showbiz and headed to L.A.
Before “Oleander” hits the screen next year, the public may well have become familiar with Lohman, depending upon the success of Fox’s new skein “Pasadena,” which she describes as a psychotic thriller, in which she plays the daughter in a wealthy, dysfunctional family.
For the time being, Lohman is living in Vancouver, wrapping up the show’s first season. She has yet to commit to her next gig, though when asked what medium she would like to keep busy, she’s quick to respond.
“I can’t say what I prefer, but I will tell you that I find TV to be more of a challenge. With film you have more time to rehearse. TV is fast paced, and I am never satisfied with two or three takes.”