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Carly Pope Overview
A Canadian actress with a strikingly beautiful face, rail-thin figure and personable manner, Carly Pope first gained prominence in 1999 as high school outsider Sam McPherson in Popular. Although the show was cancelled after two seasons, the energetic Pope has remained busy in movie and TV projects in the US and Canada.
Carly Pope Career
Carly had an usually fast start to her career, making her American debut in the TV movie I've Been Waiting for You in 1998. That was the same year she graduated from Lord Byng Secondary School in Vancouver's well-to-do West Point Grey neighborhood. The school, which offers extensive programs in the arts, is also the alma mater of actress Cobie Smulders. Carly was discovered in a school production, an all-female "Odd Couple," and spent the summer filming in Romania.
Carly relocated to Hollywood and auditioned for a role on Roswell. She didn't get that part, and initially sought the role of in-girl Brooke McQueen on Popular. In a bit of conventional casting, that part went to thin blonde Leslie Bibb, while even less curvaceous brunette Carly was chosen as the ostensibly less popular Sam. Both actresses received good notices, along with castmates Sara Rue and Tamara Mello, but Carly's spunk and intelligence attracted particular attention. She capitalized on this with a good performance as Molly White in another TV movie, Trapped In A Purple Haze (2000).
In some ways, her early success was difficult for Carly. When she initially moved to Hollywood, "I, to be quite honest, freaked out," Carly said in an interview with the lesbian magazine Curve. "I rebelled against my environment. I was coming fresh out of high school, had just started university and was eager to be studious and academic, and then I get cast in this WB teen angst show in Hollywood. I moved down there. So I was all of the sudden a part of this world that I knew nothing about in this career that I didn’t know I wanted to have. I started getting really wary about the people that I was hanging out with and what they wanted from me, because I felt that everybody wanted something," she said.
Acting can be a tough gig. While seldom lacking for work since then, Carly has as yet been unable to find a break-out role, bouncing from significant parts in minor projects to insignificant parts in major ones. She had a bit part in Orange County, and played a girlfriend in Finder's Fee.The nadir may have been the awful Al Pacino/Matthew McConaughey vehicle Two for the Money in 2005, where Carly appeared in a number of scenes but had only a couple of lines, essentially serving as wallpaper. She did kiss McConaughey in a scene that for some reason brought to mind Susan Saint James and Rock Hudson. Carly described the experience as "weird," since she went from meeting McConaughey to a scene where she kissed him.
Similarly, Pope recently had a small role as yet another victim on the American torture-fest 24, making her the latest ostensibly progressive actor to accept work on this right-wing agit-prop in order to pay the rent. Not surprisingly, Carly often has been better than the material.
After her initial three-year stint in Los Angeles, Carly moved back to Vancouver for a while. She regretted not having continued her studies beyond one semester at the University of British Columbia, and found long-distance learning unfulfilling. Missing the classroom experience, "I tried to do other things experientially that gave me that sense of growth or advancement," Pope told Vancouver-based Lab Magazine.
While back in Canada, Carly reunited with Sara Rue for the TV movie This Time Around (2003). In 2004, Pope won a best supporting actress Leo for her work as Maya Kandinsky in the Canadian series The Collector, but left after one season. In 2005, Carly was featured in Vancouver-based director Larry Kent's black comedy The Hamster Cage about a nastily dysfunctional family. While it did some business on the festival circuit, winning Carly an award in Vancouver, the subject matter prevented it from getting general release or even a DVD. Playing the 20-something girlfriend of a 60-something man, Carly spent her time in a school uniform that emphasized her extremely youthful physique.
"It all seemed supremely perverse," Pope told the Montreal Mirror. "I just really wanted to be a part of it. It's rare when filmmakers really push the boundaries quite like that."
Doing more with less, Carly won another Leo for her work in 2006 on one of her short "Sandra" films, Sandra Gets Dumped and Sandra Goes to Whistler aka "Sandra Gets F*cked," which are readily available on YouTube.
But more opportunities called south of the border. Carly next raised the heat on the US cable show, Dirt, appearing in several episodes as lesbian drug dealer Garbo. Pope was especially energetic in a love scene with her polar opposite, voluptuous blonde Laura Allen as vulnerable starlet Julia Mallory. Swinging the other way, she followed in 2008 with a briefer and less heated appearance as one of David Duchovny's conquests on Californication.
"I'm surprised it opened up for me again," Carly said of her return to working in LA. She promised to give acting her best shot. Unfortunately, Pope's major 2007 movie, the extravagantly titled Canadian feaure Young People F*cking, attracted more attention in Ottawa than it did in movie theatres. A mild, 90-minute sex comedy, the movie does feature a brief topless appearance by the tiny, tiny Carly, who could pass for a very young teen. Several other cast members have longer exposures, but played for humour and with little hint of genitalia. Despite this mild content, the heavy-handed title outraged some parliamentarians and busybodies, leading to a debate over government support for the arts. The furor scared off mainstream audiences even when the title was expurgated to YPF. In the fundamentalist United States, the movie essentially went direct to video, with a festival-only box office of less than $10,000. But it did get moderate notices from airings on cable channels.
Carly's 2007 lesbian comedy Itty Bitty Titty Committee also had a narrow audience, but did well on the festival circuit. Despite mixed reviews and extremely limited crossover to mainstream audiences, it attracted some devoted fans and her role as the group leader helped maintain Carly's high profile in the les community.
As much as she can, Carly divides her time between Hollywood and Vancouver, where the semi-thriving industry has enabled her to work in ventures such as Sci-Fi's Yeti with her brother Kris. Warning: In the tradition of the channel's Saturday night movies, exposure to Yeti actually kills brain cells (which might explain the channel's decision to call itself Syfy). In 2008, Carly appeared in one segment of the anthology-style movie Toronto Stories, which played primarily in Canada.
In early 2009, Carly was added to the ensemble of Day One, a post-apocalyptic drama from former Heroes writer Jesse Alexander, which initially was greenlighted by NBC as a telemovie/pilot. Advance publicity described Carly's character as a "girlfriend," never a good sign. In the summer of 2009, NBC executives said the show might simply run as a 13-episode mini-series in early 2010. After taking the role, Carly told the vancouverisawesome.com website that she was waiting to see what happened with the show, but understood that it's a job.
"'Everything has it’s ups and downs and when I’ve gotten conflicted about being in the industry, I’ve often felt like I’ve wanted to jump ship," she said. "I think it’s common _ especially as an actor _ to feel entitled and take for granted that it just is what it is. It’s also common, I think, to have things massively built up into being more than what they really are. The INDUSTRY’s a business." Acting is "one aspect,"' she continued, but added that "still requires you to participate in thoughtful and responsible ways (for me anyway) to feel somewhat satisfied and more in control of my reality."
This was followed by more bad news from NBC. Despite its bungled moves to shift Jay Leno back to 11:35 P.M. and ax Conan O'Brien, the content-starved network announced in January 2010 that Day One would run only as a two-hour movie. Executives of the floundering fourth-place network expressed concern that the show was too similar to the revival of V and the initially successful but quickly departing Flashforward. Eventually, NBC dropped information on the show from its website.
Carly finally got some seemingly good news in May 2010, as the network announced it would pick up the Jimmy Smits vehicle Outlaw with her in the supporting cast. Smits plays a conservative Supreme Court justice who has a change of heart and quits to fight for the little guy. What? It could happen. A trailer for the show revealed Carly's character was very broadly written. Apparently playing a teen-age goth girl investigator, immediately on meeting Jesse Bradford, she tells him that she won't sleep with him. He didn't ask. Is that less embarrassing or more?
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun shortly before the premiere of Outlaw, Carly said it was time to do a legal drama, given that her father in this senior partner in a city law firm, as well as a Queen's Counsel (representing and advising the Crown).
"I think that having a father who's been involved with law since before I was born gives me an opportunity to learn and bring more to the part," Pope told the newspaper. "But, truly, I just felt it was a refreshing take on an old formula. The writing is phenomenal. The cast they've assembled is great. To me, that's something I really want to be a part of."
Unfortunately, the quality of the writing remained well south of phenomenal. In the pilot, Smits not only freed a condemned man from death row. Perry Mason-like, he extracted a courtroom confession from the real killer. Carly's character mainly babbled about how hot she was, and claimed to have nice boobs. Bradford's character "appears to be as baffled by her boundless sexual self-regard as the rest of us," Slate said in a review that describes the show as "so terrible it makes your face hurt." As The New York Times noted, Carly seemed to be the only one who realized this should be played as comedy. NBC gave the show a slot of death on Friday night, almost assuring low numbers. Right about the time the man who attempted to carjack Carly (see below) was released from a psychiatric hospital, the network put production of Outlaw on hiatus and scheduled the remaining completed episodes to an even worse slot on Saturday.
Carly's next movie project, SWAT: Firefight, went direct to video in March 2011. Her quickly shot Textuality had a limited release in Canada the following month. Carly told the Vancouver arts paper Georgia Strait that she was glad to work with many newcomers on the 15-day shoot in the city. She added her character, a woman juggling multiple boyfriends and electronic devices, had caused her to unplug a bit.
"It allowed me to take a glance in the mirror," she told the paper. "Simone, as much as she’s talking a big game, she’s really just looking for love.”
The reviewers were not amused. The Montréal Gazette said the movie "feels weirdly like porn without the porn." Many reviews made the same point as the Calgary Herald, "there's not nearly enough sex in this movie where the bed linen is more compelling than the people who lie on it." In the US, the movie went to video under the title Sexting, but still wasn't sexy.
In July 2011, Carly joined the cast of Concrete Blondes by first-time director Nicholas Kalikow and starring Diora Baird of YPF, shooting in Vancouver. She was then added to the cast of a high-profile project, Neill Blomkamp's Elysium. Also to be made locally, it stars Matt Damon and Jodie Fisher and is planned for a 2013 release.
Carly Pope Personal
Carly Pope is half Italian, a quarter Yugoslavian and a quarter Irish. She two brothers, one older and one younger, Kris and Alex. In an interview with zap2it, Carly described Kris as her best friend.
"We're straight up kindred. Everyone's always thought we were twins born four years apart. Other than the time he vacuumed my head right after I started growing hair, he's been the best big brother a little sister could ask for," she said.
Carly attended a French/English elementary school, and speaks French, Spanish and Italian. She attended one semester at the University of British Columbia, which provided settings for the independent film Various Positions (2002), where she played the love interest and showed her chest nuts in a bedroom scene.
Carly is good-humoured enough to poke fun at her absence of cleavage, telling this story about her graduation from Lord Byng: "At my graduation, I wore an outfit that didn't fit my physique well. I had on a tube top under a blazer, and as I was walking across the stage, the tube slid down to my waist. I covered myself up, so nobody actually saw it fall. But when I got back to my seat, I had to maneuver the tube back up, and my friends were all laughing at me."
For what it's worth, Ralph Garman, who had a bit part in Two for the Money, is quoted on the blog of the Kevin and Bean show that while he did not score with female lead Rene Russo, "Carly Pope, however, I shagged rotten!"
On a related topic, "Much to my parents' disappointment, who wanted me to have [their] grandchildren some time soon, I'm just like, 'It's just not going to happen,'" Carly told Lab Magazine. "I'm nowhere near able or ready."
In her free time in Vancouver, Carly has volunteered at a women's reproductive rights center and earned a certificate in counseling.
YPF may not have done big box office, but it did earn Carly one of the nominations for "best abs" from digitalminx.com. Kristen Bell won the award.
Carly Pope Carjacking
On Dec. 30, 2009, Carly and her brother Kris were injured in a bizarre car-jacking attempt while home for the holidays. According to police, the two were driving in downtown Vancouver when an Alberta man jumped on the hood of Kris' black BMW while it was stopped at the traffic light at Georgia and Cambie streets. He began yelling at Kris to run him over. The pair got out, but the man got off the car and moved away. Kris then pulled around the corner and got out again to talk to a witness who was calling 911. The man then came running back and jumped into the driver's seat. As Kris, 31, and a 24-year-old bystander tried to stop him and Carly tried to get out, the carjacker threw the car into reverse and backed up, striking several vehicles before crashing into the CBC building on West Georgia. Everyone involved, including the Good Samaritan, suffered injuries and were taken to hospital.
"My daughter was thrown from the car at some point," their father, Dale Pope, told the CBC. "My son, who grabbed on to the door of the car to try and stop this person from kidnapping his sister, was thrown from the vehicle and received quite severe injuries to his ankle, his arm and his face.
"My daughter suffered a broken rib and two cracked vertebrae and some stitches to her face.
"We feel very blessed that they're with us because this person could have had a weapon," he added. "I don't know if he did or did not, but he could have had a weapon and used it on my daughter, or my son, or both. A lot of people were jeopardized yesterday by this person."
Kris Pope was quickly released, but told reporters, "we're both pretty banged up." Carly was discharged the next day. The suspect, David Fomradas, suffered a skull fracture, and was moved to jail following treatment. He faces a laundry list of charges, including kidnapping and aggravated assault. A police spokeswoman said investigators were looking into questions about his mental health.
According to a report in a Vancouver newspaper, The Province, witnesses said the suspect appeared deranged and was shouting that he was God. But the suspect's father said he did not see signs of mental instability during a recent visit from his son.
Fomradas, who was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alta., visited home for a few days before Christmas, father Fred Fomradas said. He said his son travelled frequently throughout Canada and no longer lived at home.
"He never said too much (during the last visit)," Fomradas said. "To tell you the truth, I didn't have much too much to do with him."
In October 2010, a provincial judge found Fomradas not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder. While he was returned to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam for treatment, the B.C. Board of Review ordered his release a few days later.
According to The Province, during a hearing at the hospital, the board received a report that Fomradas was responsive to the anti-psychotic medication and has been taking it since the incident. He was also described as "saddened and embarrassed and remorseful for the harm he caused the victims," according to the newspaper.
The board concluded he remained a threat to the community but ordered him released under several conditions, including that he continue to take his medication, have no contact with the victims and remain under the general supervision of psychiatric services.
Carly Pope Quote
"That's the biggest struggle for me, to feel like I'm doing enough with my time, my brain and myself."
Carly Pope on the Web
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