Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toby Hemingway, Actor On Role

Ojai-trained actor takes on leading role in ‘Feast of Love"

By Nao Braverman
Toby Hemingway was first sent to drama class by a frustrated grade school teacher in England, who suggested that he needed an outlet for his energy.
Years later the young, Britain-born actor is at the brink of a budding Hollywood career.
Hemingway, who spent his high school years in Ojai at Oak Grove School, Nordhoff High School and Laurel Springs, plays alongside the acclaimed academy-award winning actor Morgan Freeman in “Feast of Love,” which premiered Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Beginning with a few high school plays, including Oak Grove’s “Time of Our Life,” Hemingway went on to work with Theater 150’s crew, and got into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York with the assistance of local acting coach Kim Maxwell-Brown.
“She really helped me get over my nervousness and gave me the confidence to follow through,” he said.
Upon graduating with a fine arts Associates degree in New York, he moved to Hollywood and landed a few small roles and in 2006 before getting a lead part in the Covenant, a science fiction thriller, playing Reid Garwin, a descendant of a superhuman family bearing gravity-defying powers.
In Feast of Love,” his most important role to date, Hemingway plays Oscar, a recovered heroin addict who falls in love with a co-worker at the coffee shop where he works. Based on a novel by Charles Baxter with the same name, the film presents an array of interconnected stories all surrounding the theme of love or love lost. Dramatizing the budding romance between a troubled Oscar and his co-barista, Alexa, has been challenging and rewarding, said Hemingway.
At age 24, Hemingway says he can relate to the character as he portrays the struggle that many young people go through in their search for meaning. He gets geared up for the tragic scenes by listening to Ryan Adams or Coldplay, anything sad, on his iPod, he said.
Despite having launched a career that has alluded the grasp of many aspiring actors, Hemingway takes his success in stride, getting accustomed to interviews and trying not to go blind from camera flashes, he said.
Already cast in a new part in “Street,” an independent flick by York Shackleton, about street kids in Portland, Ore., Hermingway is keeping busy. He is looking forward to playing his first character based on a real person and is preparing by watching various documentaries about kids that grow up on the streets.
He still visits his mother in Ojai, only an hour-and-half drive from his Hollywood apartment where he lives with his older brother, Jay.
He plans to make as much time as he can to play soccer on Ojai’s local team for the upcoming season in October, he said.

The Feast of Love trailer can be viewed HERE.

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