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Breakout star: Danièle Watts aka Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained girl

Danièle Watts

Feature by Rob Carnevale

DO YOU sometimes notice a star in the making in a brief moment in a TV programme or film? Or even a strong supporting player who hasn’t previously been on your radar? Well, we’ve decided to try and occasionally bring them more to people’s attention.

Next up, is Danièle Watts, who has just been cast in Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western homage Django Unchained.

Watts is an up and coming young actress who has landed the role of Coco in Tarantino’s latest about a slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

The film is in pre-production and is chock full of Hollywood A-listers that include Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kerry Washington.

Watts is also starring in Before The Revolution as esteemed performance artist Eleanor Antin’s most famous persona “Eleanora Antinova,” a black American ballerina trying to make it in the great modernist Russian company of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe.

It’s there she encounters the histories and ambiguous realities of performance, racial stereotyping, and the magical promise of modernism and revolution.

First performed with Antin playing all the parts at The Kitchen in New York in 1979, Before The Revolution is re-imagined with Watts playing the lead along side other actors who manipulate Antin’s original, hand painted, life scale puppets to enact this darkly comic narrative.

“It’s an exciting time for me,” said Watts. “I had a few projects fall through in 2011 so it feels amazing to start 2012 working with Eleanor, a highly respected contemporary artist who has been challenging and examining depictions of women, and our assumptions about identity and race in a big way – and then to go straight from that, to shooting my first part in a big feature film with Quentin Tarantino is just an absolute dream, and I think confirms for me what’s possible for my future as a performing artist.”

Danièle Watts

Watts is a graduate of the University of Southern California, School of Theatre and has appeared most recently on Criminal Minds, Detroit 187, Cold Case and The Strange Thing about the Johnsons, a shocking short film that went viral after appearing at Slamdance and The New York Film Festival last year.

Her career has been steadily climbing since her Ovation Nominated portrayal of Topsy in the controversial Neighbors at the Matrix Theatre, and last year’s critically acclaimed portrayal of real life torch singer, Madi Comfort in David J’s (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets), retelling of the Black Dhalia murder, The Chanteuse and the Devil’s Muse.

Before The Revolution is presented as the closing night event for the 11-day Pacific Standard Time: Performance and Public Art Festival which brings together more than 60 cultural institutions throughout Southern California to tell the story of the rise of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a new force in the art world.

This collaboration is the largest ever undertaken by cultural institutions in the region.

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