Shahine Ezelle talks about his latest film, “The Beautiful Ordinary”

(Shahine Ezelle posed with this writer after the special screening of "The Beautiful Ordinary," where he co-stars with an excellent group of other young fine actors. The movie is directed by Jess Manafort, one of the most talented new upcoming directors to watch out for, according to Martin Scorsese.)

an exclusive by Oliver Carnay

Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival 2007 folded up last week with the Premiere of Danny Boyles’ movie “Sunshine,” starring Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, and Chris Evans.

One of the memorable films I’ve watched during the festival was from 23-year old film director Jess Manafort, “The Beautiful Ordinary,” with an incredible cast of fresh new actors. I’ve learned that Manafort’s career actually kick-started when Martin Scorsese recommended her short film “Vincent” to NYU. At NYU, she wrote and directed “Liminality,” which won school awards for Best Directing, Screenplay, Editin, and Acting. “The Beautiful Ordinary” won the Tisch School of the Arts Richard Vague Grant.

“The Beautiful Ordinary” is a comedy-drama set in 1999, during the last day of the not-so-typical high school suburbanite students’ dazzling lives -- revealing personalities, over-the-edge characters, and relationships. This sharp and smart movie has a diverse cast with excellent performances from some of the fresh new talents in Hollywood. Director Manafort is one of the new directors to watch out.

Among new fresh talents in the cast are John Robinson (introduced in Gus Van Sant’s movie “Elephant”), Brie Larson, Charles Chen, Melonie Diaz, Amber Heard, Aaron Himelstein, Wesley Jonathan, Taylor Kowalski, Stella Maeve, Chris Marquette, Sean Marquette, Leighton Measter, Marnette Patterson, Christopher Shand, Kleo Thomas, Alexa Vega, Josh Waters, Michael Welch, among others.

At the Premiere screening, Dusting Hoffman even showed up to support his son Max, who is also in the film. Also a the screening, rising star and cast member Shanine Ezelle, who will be next seen in “Days of Wrath” with new buddy Wilmer Valderrama, took time out to talk with this writer, about his inclusion in the film.

Asked how was the audition process he recalled, “The audition process was real fun for me. I just took all the words that she (Director Jess Manafort) wrote down on the script and kind of just went by. I just made up a lot of stuff and made her laugh as hard as possible. And it turned out actually like how the person she wrote it for. So, she gave me the role. She’s a beautiful person!” he quipped, praising his director.

And when did you learn you got the part? “I auditioned on a Wednesday. They called me on a Friday, and we started shooting on a Tuesday. They flew me from L.A. to North Carolina four days after I auditioned. It was really a fast process.”

What’s your acting background? “I went to a California Institute of the Arts for four years. I practically acting my whole life but I finally wanted to go into the Hollywood business after I got all my tools all good.

Is this your first feature film? “This is my second feature film. My first was called “Driftwood.” It was in last year’s L.A. Spring Film Festival.”

What is the message of the movie? “The message of the movie – it is a coming of age film, the things that happen in high school. It shows the love in and out, relationships, the kids in school, sad and happy side of every high school students. You’ve been together for four years and having to leave them.”

Any movie we are looking forward to see you next to this? “I just shot a movie called “Days of Wrath” with Wilmer Valderrama where we play the worst guys in the planet. We’re gang members. It also stars Taye Diggs and Lawrence Fishburne. We’ve done shooting it a month ago and they’re trying to get everything done so we can release it in November.”

"The Beautiful Ordinary" cast members before the screening. More pics at Photo Gallery.