Fresh faces at fest

Tribeca Film Festival 2012

As a platform for discovery, Tribeca has featured it share of breakout statements, such as Dylan Kidd’s “Roger Dodger” in 2002, and artists taking unprecedented risks, such as Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica” (2005). Here are four actors breaking new ground at this year’s fest:

Chris Cofler

“It was surreal,” “Glee” star Colfer says of his bigscreen debut in “Struck by Lightning.”

Colfer, who plays Carson, a hyper-ambitious and outspoken high school senior in a small-minded town, says he found it “easy to fall into the role.”

Part of this comfy familiarity had to with creating the role himself, having penned the screenplay. “The script started off as a way for me to vent to myself in high school,” says thesp, who began writing it at age 15. “With his witty comebacks and courage, Carson is who I wish I had been at that point in my life.”

Colfer wouldn’t mind if the coming-of-age pic helps launch a film career, not unlike the way his role in “Glee” has made him the poster boy for gay pride. “I just wanted to make a movie about a teenager who’s inspiring.”

Olivia Harris

When 21-year-old tyro singer and stage thesp Harris landed the role of John Hawkes’ daughter, Maggie, a volatile teenager who acts as surrogate mother to her younger siblings in “The Playroom,” a whim turned out to be a revelation.

“I was shocked by how much I identified with Maggie,” she says of her first film role. “She’s having an identity crisis. One foot is in childhood and the other in womanhood. She’s stuck. I felt like that in my own life at the time.”

The filmmaking process and the downtime between takes also shocked thesp.

“You have to have a lot of self control as a film actor. It’s an art form.”

Luke Kirby

In tackling the role of Daniel, a potential home wrecker, in Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz,” Kirby says he had to do “some digging.”

The Canadian, who has appeared in numerous indie pics and TV shows dating back to 2001, says when it came to Daniel’s “somewhat audacious” pursuit of Margo, a married woman played by Michelle Williams, he wasn’t sure why his character didn’t feel tremendous conflict. “I found that their relationship was outside their reach. It had been designed by some other force.”

Luke Treadaway

As Joseph, the unpredictable best friend and ex-lover of Felicity Jones’ Dolly in “Cheerful Weather for the Wedding,” Treadaway found himself in a constant “state of anxiety.”

“I was always trying to find that balance,” the thesp says. “Joseph is trying to do the right thing, but all along trying to work out a way to possibly stop Dolly’s wedding.”

The part immediately appealed to the English actor, who has appeared on stage at the Royal Court Theater and alongside Rachel Weisz in “The Whistleblower” and Sam Worthington in “Clash of the Titans.”

“I’d never played a posh, English gentleman before with a neat hair cut. So portraying a man living from the 1930s was really interesting to me.”

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