JC girl working to make it in Hollywood
Friday, February 14, 2014
After four years paying her dues in the entertainment business, Avery Phillips has landed her first big role in an upcoming movie. That’s impressive for any actor toiling away in Hollywood, much less one who’s only 9.
The Jefferson City native has been acting since she was 5 years old and has had small roles on television shows like “Parks & Recreation” and “Non-Stop,” a movie originally broadcast on Lifetime last year. “Non-Stop” is re-airing at 9 p.m. Saturday, 1 a.m. Sunday, 9 p.m. Feb. 26 and 1 a.m. Feb. 27. It stars Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five,” “Mean Girls”), who is stuck on a plane with a dangerous stranger. Avery plays one of the passengers.
“It was really fun,” Phillips said in an emailed statement. “We got to shoot in a mock plane that looks like a real plane but is inside a studio. They even had fake lighting. It was very cool. Lacey Chabert was fun to be around and I liked working with her.”
She was a kindergartner at The Concord Christian School when she landed a small role on the Fox hit show “Glee.” Originally a non-speaking part, Phillips ended up with a few lines, which earned her membership in the Screen Actor’s Guild. A common fate, her scenes end up being cut from the episode.
That didn’t diminish Phillips’ enthusiasm for acting. She already had a manager, and later signed with a talent agency. She worked on commercials, too, including one for Doritos that ran during the Super Bowl in 2012, and went on to have parts on “Desperate Housewives.”
Avery is the daughter of Dr. Victor Phillips, a vascular surgeon at Total Vein Care of Missouri, and his wife, Traci. The youngster was active in gymnastics and Capitol City Cheer, but always had the desire to perform.
“When she was around 3 years old, Avery would re-enact scenes from the Disney movies she watched,” Traci said. “As she grew older she talked about acting. We didn’t really take it seriously but she didn’t give up.”
Eventually they did and the family made the trip to Los Angeles. Avery made the rounds, auditioned for parts and work started coming her way.
“We were out in Los Angeles a month when she got the part on ‘Glee,’” Traci said.
The family has made many trips to Los Angeles during the past four years. They have an apartment in Burbank so Avery can go to auditions. She and her siblings are homeschooled.
“She goes on so many auditions and it’s tough, but I think children are much more resilient,” Traci said.
Her husband and 10-year-old son join Traci, Avery and her younger sister in Los Angeles often. The family doesn’t like to be apart for more than two weeks.
Traci and Avery are currently in Los Angeles working on “Stockholm, Pennsylvania,” a full-length feature film starring Cynthia Nixon and Saoirse Ronan, who plays a girl who was held captive until she was in her late teens and then is reunited with her parents. Phillips plays Ronan’s character as a young girl when she was kidnapped.
“We’re really excited about this role; you never know how it will end up but it could be a real game changer for Avery,” she said.
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